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New Albums by Nicki Minaj and Ariana Grande Due on Same Date, Setting the Stage for Chart Showdown

Nicki Minaj has pushed back the release date of her upcoming album, “Queen,” to Aug. 17 — the same date that Ariana Grande’s “Sweetener” is set to drop.

The two artists have previously collaborated on such songs as “Bang Bang,” “The Light Is Coming,” and “Bed.” Both Minaj and Grande are also signed to Republic Records, setting up a fascinating chart battle. To further the synchronicity, Grande guests on “Bed,” the second single from Minaj’s “Queen,” while Minaj was featured on a remix of the title track from Grande’s previous studio album, 2016’s “Dangerous Woman.”

Minaj took to Twitter to share the news of the new date, while simultaneously issuing a public plea to Tracy Chapman to help her clear a sample from one of the songs on the new disc, which was holding up its release. “Queen” had previously been delayed from a scheduled June 15 drop. Ariana’s “Sweetener” is her first since the May 2017 Manchester bombing and her high-profile engagement to “Saturday Night Live” comic Pete Davidson, which has put her squarely in the paparazzi’s sights.

Considering Minaj and Grande are on the same label — and apparently close friends — this isn’t exactly a UFC Octagon death match. And with Minaj skewing toward more cutting-edge hip-hop and Grande geared to the pop/urban contemporary formats, there probably won’t be too much competition for radio play.

If you’re looking for a sales chart showdown, “Dangerous Woman” debuted at No. 2 behind Drake’s “Views,” with 175,000 album equivalent sales, while Minaj’s previous album, 2014’s “The Pinkprint,” launched at No. 2, with 244,000 album equivalent sales. If you’re looking for storylines, the sympathy vote would seem to favor Grande, whose Arianators can battle Minaj’s The Barbz for social media supremacy. Or the pop divas could just join forces and use the synergistic timing to show the power of sisterhood.

The “Chun-Li” singer posted a poll on Tuesday night with the options of: “Keep date/lose record” or “Keep record/push date 1 wk.”

Minaj announced the postponement news concurrently with her Apple Music essentials playlist takeover.

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