Are You Gone Already by Nicki Minaj
The date of 8 December 2023 proved to be “Pink Friday 2”, i.e. the day on which Nicki Minaj’s album of that same name was finally released, after she has been more or less teasing it since 2019. That is to say that first of all, this LP is the sequel to 2010’s Pink Friday, which was Minaj’s first studio album (as well as being her most-successful to date). Secondly, Pink Friday 2 marks her first studio project since 2018’s Queen which, as with this latest outing, was also backed by Lil Wayne’s Young Money, Birdman’s Cash Money and Republic Records.
As of this writing, a couple of days after the dropping of Pink Friday 2, Are You Gone Already, the opening track on the project’s playlist, is one of the songs that has generated the most headlines. And that’s in part because it samples Billie Eilish’s 2018 track When the Party’s Over. Some fans were disappointed that, contrary to what was initially reported, Eilish and Minaj didn’t drop a full-fledged collaboration. In any event Finneas, Billie’s behind-the-scenes man, is credited as the sole producer of Are You Gone Already, in addition to getting co-writing credit alongside Nicki.
Analyzing this Track’s Lyrics
This is an unusual Nicki Minaj song in that first of all, the lyrics read more like a straightforward, relatively-simple poem rather than the rapper setting out to display her above-average lyrical skills. Second, against her established norm, Minaj is not using the opportunity to brag, at all. And above all, All You Gone Already actually revolves around the rapper’s feelings for her late dad, Robert Minaj, who was the victim of a fatal hit and run in 2021, while Nicki isn’t necessarily known as being the sentimental type.
The Billie Eilish sample, which serves as the chorus to Minaj’s track, reads as if it is romantic in nature. But Nicki does establish prior, from the intro, that she is addressing one “Papa”. Judging by the beginning of the first verse (which comes after the chorus), said “Papa” would actually be a reference to the rapper’s son, “Papa Bear”, who was born in 2020.
But as a double entendre of sorts, while speaking to “Papa”, her son, she is also referring to “Papa”, as in her dad. And whereas this song may not consist of the type of impressive rhyme schemes Nicki is known for, it does have its intricacies, i.e. the addressee changing a number of times without any forewarning to the listener.
For instance, as it currently stands, what’s being speculated (on Genius) is that the middle part of the first verse is akin to a soliloquy, i.e. Nicki speaking to herself, reminiscing on expecting to see her dad shortly before he was unexpectedly killed. But before the verse concludes, then Robert becomes the addressee, i.e. his daughter communicating with him in the afterlife, trying to come to grips with the fact that he is indeed gone.
Meanwhile, it can reasonably be postulated that the second verse is rather based on Robert speaking to Nicki or “Nika”, as she’s referred to in the passage. And if that is the case, then the rapper seems to be under the impression that maybe her father somehow blames her for his death. Before signing off he also does normal father sort of things, such as questioning her direction in life and advising Minaj to make peace with her mom.
So going back to the chorus and how it relates to the verses and the bridge, in context Eilish’s contribution would be reinforcing the notion that Nicki does indeed miss her dad. Or viewed from a different angle, when he abruptly died, she suffered a genuine and lasting sense of loss.