We were ready to file a missing person report for Nicki Minaj, and then she came out of hiding on April 9… with a cryptic message. The platinum rapper went MIA without so much as a goodbye at the end of 2017, and now we’re trying to de-code what she’s been up to after she posted and quickly deleted a tweet.

“#3Nicki” began trending on April 9 after Nicki tweeted-and-deleted the number 3, and nothing more. Fans have plenty of theories about what it means. Some think it’s a countdown, but the question is: to what? “She’s releasing music & I couldn’t be any more excited. It’s been a rough year but we made it through the drought y’all,” theorized one fan. “Nicki Minaj is releasing her album on April 13th, 2018,” guessed another. “Nicki’s about to perform a NM4 medley at the Billboard Awards,” was one guess. However, some fans were nervous. “Nicki better drop a song with all this buzz, because if its a fragrance or another MAC product, I’m throwing hands,” said a cautious supporter.

Nicki didn’t give any sort of announcement before she disappeared in the new year. The last photo she posted on Instagram was a weird off-center selfie with no caption on Dec. 30, 2017. The last magazine cover she did was Dazed in August 2017. Her last tweet was on Dec. 24 and said, ” #PlainJaneREMIX was originally going on #Dedication6. ? I had already told Wayne. But after I recorded it, I had my mngr hit Ferg ppl to let them know & they said they’d like it as an official remix. ??‍♀️ So I got to do “Rockstar” for #D6 which is one of my faves anyway.” See? Nothing about that says “I’m taking a little break.”

Nicki didn’t show up at a single awards show this season and hasn’t done any performances or appearances besides one rare occasion. She performed at her friend Philip Phein’s New York Fashion Week show on Feb. 9, 2018. She didn’t make an announcement for it, or post any pics afterward.

It doesn’t feel like it’s been that long since we’ve seen Nicki since we hear her voice on the radio all the time, but she hasn’t actually dropped any music this year so far, except for a leaked track from Tory Lanez that she forbid him to put on the album after a text altercation. Fans have been getting restless wondering when she wold resurface.

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The last Nicki sighting on Feb. 9.

We knew she was working on music. “I’ve got a couple big ones coming up,” wrote Wizkid on March 22. “I’ve got one with Nicki [Minaj] coming soon.” At least that’s something! But why the social media break and the step out of the public eye?

Well, some fans always speculated that her absence was to build excitement for a new album. “This is probably also part of making people buy her albums to make them excited for #NM4 ?,” wrote one fan. Others thought she might be hiding something. “I think @NICKIMINAJ playing Kylie Jenner on us. This baddie probably got pregnant and ain’t telling no damn body,” said a bitter supporter. Fans have been saying the same about Ariana Grande, who has been missing all year. Maybe they’re hiding together somewhere?

Whatever the reason, they really want Barb back. “@NICKIMINAJ just a little reminder we all miss you :'(,” said a fan, and many people agreed with similar messages. Others were mad. “DAMNIT @NICKIMINAJ this is really getting ridiculous now. We’re talking almost 4 months of total silence….. we need you Queen. DROP THE ALBUM #NM4.” We can’t wait to see what the surprise is!