Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded by Nicki Minaj
To say that Nicki Minaj’s second album was highly anticipated is an understatement of the largest proportions. Her dedicated fan base, which she lovingly refers to as “Barbz,” was probably hyperventilating daily while awaiting Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded. Minaj has reached the point in her career where she can do no wrong in the eyes of her fans as long as she continues to be outlandish and loving towards them. Minaj has gained their trust and affection, and they have repaid her by putting her at #1 on the Billboard 200 in her first week of sales. Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded received so much hype that it can be hard to determine whether the songs are good or if you’re automatically supposed to believe they’re masterpieces.
The first and most redeeming half of Roman Reloaded is composed of many different layers, techniques, accents and inappropriate slurs. It is Minaj fully concentrated, over-the-top and ridiculous, with too many off-color remarks to count. She has reached the point in her career where she does whatever comes to her unanalyzable mind. Having attended LaGuardia High School for theatre, Minaj may consider herself first and foremost an actress, and on Roman Reloaded she fully utilizes those talents. You thought she was outlandish before? Roman Reloaded exists on an entirely new level of eccentricity. Whether she is breaking out into “O Come All Ye Faithful,” crooning about shoving her dick in your face or slurring and mumbling, listeners never know what to expect.
Minaj splits Roman Reloaded into two parts. The first nine tracks are rap/R&B while the second half, which is composed of club hits and bubble gum pop, is lacking. Minaj is at her finest when she raps. Filled with vulgarity, cockiness, slick rhymes and aggressive beats, she is simply gold. “Champion” is a track of victory on which Minaj reflects on how far she’s come in her life while rapping alongside Nas, Drake and Young Jeezy. “Right by My Side,” featuring Chris Brown, is surprisingly one of the best tracks on the album. The song feels genuine and effortless. “Automatic” is the strongest track on the pop side, and it’s pulsating beat makes it easily addicting. However, on a lot of the pop hits the lyrics are too simplified, and the songs in their entirety are too reminiscent of dozens of top 40 hits before them. I’m sure many of these tracks will become radio successes, but a couple of them shouldn’t have even made the cut for the final track list.
The biggest problem with this album is that Minaj has packed too many songs onto it to make it worthy of being a grand moment for music. She has an immense amount of talent that is demonstrated by her rapping tracks. But Minaj should tread lightly when it comes to pop. She doesn’t fully know how to make those songs sound original yet. It’s not that Minaj didn’t work hard on the record—she’s just trying to mesh her psychotic and badass rap with lackluster pop. It doesn’t fit.
Release Date: April 3, 2012
Label: Universal Republic
Stars: 31/2 out of 5
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