In the four years between Nicki Minaj’s first and third studio albums, she has grown exponentially, both as an artist and person. Nicki Minaj’s “My Time AGAIN” showcases the artist in a deeply personal and often emotional light as she prepares to open the 2014 VMAs and release her third LP, The Pinkprint.

Nicki Minaj: My Time AGAIN

A-
Documentary
MTV
Available for streaming on MTV.com


Right off the bat, viewers get a sense for Minaj’s sense of humor that’s present throughout the hour-long documentary. The show opens with a monologue cut short by a phone call, after which she is giddy, confirmed by some tongue rolling, animal sound only Minaj could pull off — the “Anaconda” music video is going to be released at midnight.

Following a rant about her time as a Red Lobster waitress and an on-point impression of a customer’s “Where’s our bread?,” rehearsals for the VMAs are underway.

“Every performance should be better than the last,” Minaj says in the film.

Minaj’s work ethic and commitment to her work and fans is undeniable throughout the VMA segment, from rehearsal to post-performance. She knocks out the entire choreography the first day of rehearsal; she shows genuine compassion and concern for a dancer who gets bitten by a snake; she takes her wardrobe malfunction in stride during the performance. The show must go on.

The malfunction is not on the level of Janet Jackson’s during the Superbowl, but Minaj does have to spit her “Bang Bang” verse while holding the front of her dress together. The palpable awkwardness doesn’t stop people from speculating it was planned.

“I would never embarrass myself, holding my dress on the VMAs, for what?” she says in her dressing room, slighting distraught.

We agree, Nicki, and honestly it would’ve been one of the lamest publicity stunts of all time. The stylist said nobody is to blame (yeah, that is what all stylists say after a wardrobe malfunction, but we know better).

The VMA segment opens the program well, but it is simply the appetizer before delving deeper into Minaj’s personal life in her hometown and in the studio working on her most personal album yet.

The meat of the show comes when she takes time to visit with her family and friends in her hometown of Queens, NY. It begins with Minaj getting a manicure with an old friend, and the manicurist will not take her money — it’s as if they’ve known each other forever. It’s cute, very homey and something most people can relate to at some point: when a manicurist, hair dresser or friend simply and kindly decides “This one’s on me.”

This scene is only the beginning of a sincerely relatable segment overflowing with Minaj’s friends and family and touching monologues from the hip-hop star. It’s clear that friends and family are number one in her playbook.

“The secret of life is to embody love,” Minaj said.

It’s clear Minaj has so much love in her life, between her two best friends, who she refers to as sisters, and one of their grandmothers who had taken Minaj as her own. The highlight of the hour is when Minaj’s grandmother complains about her cursing (I’ve had the same conversation with my mother, father and grandfather … ).

The program closes out with an insider look at Minaj’s album. She discusses how personal it is; her abortion is the topic of the album’s opening track, “All Things Go.” This segment is put together in a way that even those who have not heard her most recent work can appreciate the emotion put into it and the art that came from it. The tracks play, with lyrics pasted across the screen, and is followed by commentary from Minaj, her crew of producers and friends.

“I write life; I didn’t set out to make a personal album,” Minaj states.

Within five minutes, Minaj is both teary-eyed and holding up a glazed donut saying “heaven” — and that right there sums up the hour long Nicki Minaj documentary. She is fun, but has a lot of emotional struggles. She values friendship and family over everything. If you didn’t like Minaj before, this may just change your mind.

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