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Nicki Minaj Praises J. Cole for Having the Better Verse on ‘Let Me Calm Down’

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Nicki Minaj may be the queen of rap, but she had to give the crown to J. Cole for his work on Pink Friday 2.

Cole, 38, joined Minaj, 41, for “Let Me Calm Down,” one of the songs from Minaj’s new chart-topping album. The collaboration came up when Minaj sat down with Joe Budden for “A Conversation,” a video that Budden, 43, posted on December 25. Budden said that Cole went “on a rampage” with his verse and that he’s been outshining other rappers (“tearing n—–s up”) with his recent features. “He didn’t do that to you, though,” said Budden, to which Nicki disagreed.

“Yes, he did,” she said, dismissing Budden’s protests that she had the better verse on the song. “I’m telling you. He did. Abso-f—kin-lutely.” She then explained that because Cole went so hard on the track, it showed that he valued the song and her. “I want the [guest rapper] to be the best,” she said. “I want the person to give me their best verse. That made me know that [Cole] respected me and cared about my project. That was so dope.”

“Everybody on this album gave me their best, I feel,” she said. “They gave me their best them, what they’re known for.”

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“Let Me Calm Down” saw Minaj and Cole reflect on the struggles and frustrations of a romantic relationship. In Minaj’s verse, she seemingly rapped about how it was “love at first sight” when she first met the man she would marry, Kenneth “Zoo” Petty, but that she wishes he “would give me space when I really need it / to be alone in my zone when I’m really heated.”

Cole’s verse saw him acknowledge that his better half is “bad as f—k but hard to deal with / and it ain’t her fault / She got ambition like the n—-s / and the vision for herself.” While seemingly rapping to himself, Cole says, “If you love her, then you gotta learn to play your part / sometimes, you gotta play the back / but when you do, make sure you play it smart.”

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Minaj gave love to Cole on December 8, the day that Pink Friday 2 came out. “This man, J. Cole, had a two-hour talk with me,” she posted on X (formerly known as Twitter). “Two!!!! Didn’t realize I was sitting on a therapist’s couch but ummm. Two days later, I heard this verse and I couldn’t stop crying.”

“In a world where we know exactly how and when to tear each other apart, there are still kings and queens who know how to put people back together,” she continued. “Patch them up. Heal them. Empower them. Understand them. Listen to them. Make them do the most beautiful thing a human being can do.”

One of the “queens” Minaj would love to collaborate with in the future is Taylor Swift. Though Swift, 34, and Minaj had a misunderstanding leading into the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, the two patched things up at the start of the show. On December 20, Minaj praised how Swift “takes months [and] years off and then comes back with great music.” When one of the Barbz asked if Minaj would ever work on a song with Swift, Nicki responded, “In a heartbeat.”

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