Side Note

Nicki Minaj has the best laugh

Nicki Minaj’s fast flow is one of her most recognizable artistic qualities, as well as her accented cadence. But her throaty, witchy laugh is her most signature sound, as well as my favorite. On Queen, her new album, she shows it off just enough to remind us that that Nicki, even in all her recent missteps, knows exactly what she’s doing.

There’s a couple songs where the laugh sticks out. At the end of “Rich Sex,” her recent single with Lil Wayne, she finishes the track with a laugh that begins like a wheeze, before careening into borderline screaming and returning to a girlish giggle that makes you question the sanity of the woman you’re listening to. “You mad, doggie? You mad, doggie?” she sneers. It’s all performative, of course, but it makes Minaj look like she’s miles above the fray, cracking herself up while marveling at how far behind everyone else is.

During the outro to “Chun Swae,” she lets a giggle slip as she’s reciting the names of different collaborators and inspirations. It’s unclear why Minaj finds this funny, but it breaks up the mundanity in her delivery, right before the tone flips entirely. “You're in the middle of Queen right now / Thinking I see why she called this shit Queen / This bitch is really the fucking Queen,” she boasts, cracking up in between each syllable, her high-pitched laughter reminiscent of a Disney villain. You can imagine her throwing her head back with such a force of power and ecstasy as she relishes in the feat of what she’s just done.