Nicki first introduced her fifth album at the top of 2019, in a freestyle over the instrumental of Drake and Meek Mill’s platinum-selling slap “Going Bad.” On a song titled “Barbie Goin Bad” she rapped, “I had to, uh, get back in my bag/I might drop a freestyle every, um, week ’til the thing-thing come/The label hit me said they want the fifth thing-thing, I got in the studio, I did the fifth thing-thing/And then they say ‘You know, it’s time to drop your single,’ I said “Nooo,” seemingly hinting that the project was also done.
She put those words in print later that fall in an interview with Elle, before pump faking her retirement and backtracking soon after. “It’s probably the most excited I’ve been about an album release in a really long time,” she told the publication. Referring to the four-year gap between The Pinkprint in 2014, and Queen in 2018, she continued, “I’m happy that we’re not making my fans wait for another album like I’ve done in the past.”
In the fall of 2021, freshly embedded into a Twitter debate about her choice to do more research before being vaccinated, she tweeted, “I was about to give yall way more than scraps but ykw. I’ll talk to y’all next year,” suggesting her absence for the rest of the year. It’s unclear if she was recording music for this upcoming album or if she was working on something else to hold people over.