Nicki Minaj dropped the bombshell on Thursday afternoon. “I’ve decided to retire,” she tweeted, and “have my family.”
“The tweet was abrupt & insensitive,” she tweeted. “I apologize babe.”
I’m still right here. Still madly in love with you guys & you know that. In hindsight, this should’ve been a Queen Radio discussion & it will be. I promise u guys will be happy. No guests, just us talking about everything. The tweet was abrupt & insensitive, I apologize babe ♥️🙏 https://t.co/eS0oHipwtg— Mrs. Petty (@NICKIMINAJ) September 6, 2019
But… does this mean Minaj rescinded her retirement announcement? It’s unclear. Minaj didn’t not say she was done with rap.
Many interpreted the original announcement as Minaj — who revealed in June that she and partner Kenneth Petty have a marriage license — declaring she was quitting music to start a family. (A representative for Minaj did not immediately return The Washington Post’s inquiry.) Some eagle-eyed fans noted when she changed her Twitter name from Ms. Minaj to Mrs. Petty over the summer.
Rappers rarely retire, they just say they’re retiring for attention and then drop a comeback album.— Luke James (@lukejamesbgn) September 5, 2019
Jeezy said he retired. Nicki says she’s retiring. Good rappers often never really retire though. They’re artists. That creativity will always flow though you and it needs to be let out.— HipHopSportsReport (@HHSReport) September 5, 2019
Minaj has been busy recently: After dropping the single “Megatron” in June, Minaj said she was working on her fifth studio album.
“There’s definitely a new album, yes, of course,” she told Jimmy Fallon that month, but said she didn’t know when it would be ready. “I’m not putting out the date yet, but there is one.”
Minaj also appears on Megan Thee Stallion’s “Hot Girl Summer” — the accompanying music video was just released Tuesday.
The rapper has publicly mused before about whether it’s time for her to quit music, such as in 2012 when she deleted her Twitter account after a song leaked.
“People aren’t even giving the kid [Minaj] props for taking it back to the essence,” she said on BBC Radio 1. “This is my fourth mix tape, really. The kid did like that so she could feed her fans. But really, now the kid is thinking maybe she should leave the game.”
Minaj has long been vocal about the ways she feels she’s been given short shrift in her career. On Twitter and “Queen Radio,” her Beats 1 station, she has been critical of Travis Scott, Spotify, journalists, Joe Budden, Miley Cyrus and Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich.
In 2015, she had no issue calling out the MTV Video Music Awards for not including “Anaconda” as a nominee for video of the year. (Minaj was nominated in three other categories.)
“If I was a different ‘kind’ of artist, Anaconda would be nominated for best choreo and vid of the year as well,” she tweeted. “When the ‘other’ girls drop a video that breaks records and impacts culture they get that nomination.”
And while some fans lamented Minaj’s apparent departure, it’s not uncommon for musicians to announce they’re putting down the microphone only to change their minds years later. Artists including Barbra Streisand, Cher and Garth Brooks have done it. Jay-Z claimed that 2003′s “The Black Album” would be his last. Three years later, he put out “Kingdom Come” and admitted his “was the worst retirement, maybe, in history.” He has released four other solo studio albums since.
But Minaj’s news came with no formal marketing or announcement other than a tweet sent to her fans. Maybe a retirement would give the rapper, who has been making music for more than a decade, a chance to rest. In which case: Goodbye, hot girl summer and hello, hot girl slumber.
This post, originally published Sept. 5, has been updated.