Never let it be said that I don’t have an open mind. Even when artists start off on a bad foot with me, I allow plenty of room for my opinion to be changed. This has now happened twice with Lil Wayne’s Young Money artists. First, there was Drake. I thought he was incredibly overhyped-until I heard Thank Me Later and enjoyed it immensely (hell, my opinion of it has actually improved over the past few months). Next up to bat? Nicki Minaj. Initially, I thought she was just another overhyped artist-with a tasteless name to boot. However, over the last couple of months, she’s impressed me. Although she’s no Lauryn Hill circa 1998 (who’ll ever be?), she is the strongest commercial-leaning female rapper to emerge since the glory days of Lil Kim & Foxy Brown, and her verse on Kanye’s “Monster” kills anything either of those femcees have ever been able to come up with.

Nicki’s Pink Friday is already the first platinum album by a female MC since Missy Elliott’s Under Construction in 2002, and it has an excellent chance of rising to the #1 spot on the Billboard charts next week in light of her “SNL” performance tonight and the ballyhooed premiere of her “Moment 4 Life” video earlier this week. This would make her the first female rapper to score a #1 album since Foxy Brown did it with her sophomore effort back in ’99 and only the second all time.

The video itself is a cute Cinderella fantasy, co-starring Drake, with several impactful appearances by Drake’s eyebrows, who might as well spin off from Drake’s face and make their own damn record. I kid, of course. Kudos to Nicki for pulling off one of her better attempts at a British accent, too.

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