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19 Nicki Minaj Songs That Paved the Road to ‘The Pinkprint’

The remixes, guest spots, loosies and freestyles that launched the rapper’s third album

Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj

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In an age of surprise albums and lengthy hype-building mixtapes, Nicki Minaj embarked on a slow-burning campaign for her third album, The Pinkprint, which ended up encompassing nearly the entirety of 2014. From her first "album mode" surprise track in the final hours of 2013 forward, everything she released carried the purposeful air of an elite MC coming for the top spot. The Pinkprint was released December 15th and three of its four official singles have hit the Top 40 (a fifth, "Feeling Myself," should be well on its way) — but there was so much more: freestyles over bubbling Southern rap hits, aggressive street singles and crossover collaborations that maintained her spot in the pop firmament. Here's a rundown of 19 tracks that promoted the album's release without ever appearing on it.

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Nicki MInaj on stage with Beyoncé

Beyoncé feat. Nicki Minaj, “Flawless (Remix)”

August 2nd, 2014
Beyoncé, by this time a pro at surprise releases, shocked the pop world by collaborating with Nicki Minaj for the first time on a remix to "***Flawless," one of the most beloved tracks from her self-titled album. Bey returned the favor by appearing on The Pinkprint, and Nicki playfully took advantage of their new friendship by doing a hilarious Beyoncé impression on Saturday Night Live.

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A scene from the video for 'Low.'

Juicy J feat. Nicki Minaj, Lil Bibby and Young Thug, “Low”

August 7th, 2014
Having already been in the studio this year with pop super producer Dr. Luke for "Pills N Potions," Nicki jumped on a significantly harder Luke beat for the lead single to Juicy J's forthcoming Pure THC: The Hustle Continues. The inclusion of Lil Bibby added him to a growing list of up-and-coming Chicago rappers that Nicki has worked with.

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Wiz Khalifa and Nicki Minaj

Paras Griffin/Getty Images, Dave Hogan/MTV 2014/Getty Images for MTV

Wiz Khalifa feat. Nicki Minaj, “True Colors”

August 18th, 2014
The Kane Beatz-produced album closer to Wiz Khalifa's Blacc Hollywood showcases a softer, more melodic side of both rappers. Wiz namechecks several colors in the song, but Nicki, obviously, focuses on pink.

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Nicki Minaj onstage with David Guetta

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David Guetta feat. Nicki Minaj and Afrojack, “Hey Mama”

November 21st, 2014
French EDM superstar David Guetta previously featured Nicki on two platinum singles, "Turn Me On" and "Where Them Girls At." And while she hadn't been showcasing that side of her sound as much in 2014, she made time to reunite with Guetta on a melodic deep cut from his latest album, Listen.

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Rae Sremmurd, feat. Nicki Minaj, Young Thug, “Throw Sum Mo”

December 8th, 2014
After hopping on singles by both Rae Sremmurd and Young Thug earlier in the year, Nicki got in the studio with both fast rising ATL acts for a proper collaboration. However, she only performs the hook on this advance single for Rae Sremmurd's January album Sremmlife.

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