Nicki Minaj - Pink Friday Roman Reloaded Review
Posted by Tony Acero on 04.03.2012
Nicki Minaj's highly anticipated new album, Pink Friday Roman Reloaded, drops today. Is it as powerful as her debut album, or did Minaj get too carried away with her alter ego? 411's Tony Acero checks in with his full review!
1. Roman Holiday
2. Come on a Cone
3. I Am Your Leader feat. Camíron & Rick Ross
4. Beez in the Trap feat. 2 Chainz
5. HOV Lane
6. Roman Reloaded feat. Lil Wayne
7. Champion feat. Nas, Drake, & Young Jeezy
8. Right By My Side feat. Chris Brown
9. Sex in the Lounge feat. Lil Wayne & Bobby V
11. Pound the Alarm
12. Whip It
14. Beautiful Sinner
15. Marilyn Monroe
16. Young Forever
17. Fire Burns
18. Gun Shot feat. Beenie Man
19. Stupid Hoe
Self-proclaimed hip hop queen and brash Young Money artist Nicki Minaj came up by success of her mixtape, depicting a no-nonsense, bad a** b**** who would take down any rapper - male or female - in her rise to the top. In 2009, Young Money Entertainment took notice, and signed Minaj. One year later, she released Pink Friday and created an album that was both critically and commercially successful. Having the perfect blend of in your face lyricism with a bit of Lil Wayne infused metaphorical quips, she put out an album that was enough to satiate the need of hardcore hip hop lovers and a much larger market at the same time. After the success of Pink Friday, Nicki opted to continue on her creative journey and developed a character to feed off of in some songs. Not unlike Marshall Mathers's Slim Shady persona, Roman Zolanski is an alter ego of Nicki Minaj who is said to be a wild, fashion afficianado with an odd love for violence and gun fire. In Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, Roman takes center stage. Is the alter ego of Nicki Minaj strong enough to stand on its own, or does it have more fizz than the poppiest of albums?
Immediately off the bat, Minaj starts with a song that is about as jarring and annoying as a friend who thinks British accents are cool. Rather than focusing on the creation of a song worth listen to, she bangs over the listener's head with more voice changes than Robin Williams on crack. Both "Roman Holiday" and "Come on a Cone," the lead off tracks, leave much to be desired, mixing Nicki's "I forgot to breathe" raps with her accent-full choruses and beg the listener to lower the volume...all the way down.
Just as she started the album, Nicki ends it with another mess of a song in "Stupid Hoe" that displays just how many different ways she can change her voice whilst insulting any other female MC that is out there. An annoyingly repetative rap with some average lyrics and below average hook that disproves Nicki's ability to sing more than it proves anything.
Thankfully, the album takes a sharp turn north with the first song featuring guest starred tracks "I Am Your Leader" and "Beez in the Trap." "Leader" has Rick Ross pulling out one of the better single verses I've heard from the big man, including a beautiful wrestling reference in "Monday Night with the RAW, I'm Vince McMahon on the beat." Not to be outshined, Cam'ron comes with a nice verse as well. Of course, it is Nicki's track, and she does her job dilligently, reminding me that she can actually rap without the perk of voice altering nuisances. "Beez" surprised me in its simplicity, reminding me of an early 90's track. You can almost hear The Beastie Boyz in the background, begging to get on the track. A great showing by Nicki here, although I didn't need the geography lesson in the last verse.
Speaking of guest stars, Nas, Drake and Young Jeezy show up on the track "Champion," and pull more than their fair share of weight, seemingly inspiring Nicki to step her game up as she drops any voice altering and auto-tune (well, at least when it comes to the verses). The song is deep, and probably holds much more emotional weight than any other track on the album, proving that Nicki has the chops to pull off a song that isn't all about her being the "baddest bitch."
There's a hiccup of quality once we reach the first track that guest stars Lil Wayne " Roman Reloaded," as he displays some of the laziest rapping I've heard from the man. Seriously, with lyrics like "Weezy F, and the F is for Fill in the blanks" it feels like Wayne is doing just that. The track's production is also way too overloaded with practically every cheap trick in the booth. It's almost as if someone picked one aspect of every hit of 2011 and put it into this one song. Nicki does her best talking about how she is the best, but Wayne really drags this and his other guest starring track, "Sex in the Lounge" that has such gems as "Like I get that pussy wetter than a dirty sewer." How is that even close to appealing? Nicki's verse on the track has little to do with the rest of the song, and honestly, who has sex in the lounge?
The first single off of the album, "Starships" marks a direct and blatant change in the entirety of the album, and this is probably where Nicki makes her gravest mistake. Nearly every song after "Starships" is no different than the number of club tracks that have taken over the airwaves of 2011, with the surgence of Taio Cruz, David Guetta and the producer, RedOne. In fact, he's on more than one track here, and it shows. For the rest of the album, hip hop is left in the dust as Nicki tries her best to channel Rihanna and Beyonce in love ballads like "Right By My Side," "Fire Burns," and "Gun Shot," and "Young Forever." She feeds off of her inner Gaga and Madonna with tracks like "Beautiful Sinner," "Pound the Alarm." "Automatic" and "Whip It." The only problem is that each one of these people do a better job than Nicki. It's almost as if Nicki would serve better in a guest spot for each of these other females' albums. Instead, we're left with Nicki Minaj ft. Nicki Minaj, and it comes off as annoying and weak. Not to say that some of the songs aren't annoyingly addicting, because there is something to be said about these songs, and there is most definitely a place for it in the grand scheme of things, but if Nicki's "job" here was to create an album that allowed the character of Roman Zolanski to appear as a force to be reckoned with, then she failed miserably, seemingly forgetting that this was her album about halfway through.
Standout Tracks: "I Am Your Leader," "Beez in the Trap," "Champion," "Hov Lane." Skippable: The entire second half starting with Starships
The 411: Unfortunately, I cannot even say that the album started off strong, because it's not until the third song that we get any semblance of actual music worth listening to, and this is due in large part to the guest stars on the track. It's a shame that Nicki's shining moments are only when she has a man on the track with her. Unless, of course, that man is Lil Wayne, since he brings nothing to the table. What could have been a wild and crazy ride that, at least would have some semblance of consistency, ends up being a smorgasboard songs that seems more like a game of "how many singles can I fit?" I'm a fan of Nicki Minaj, and I thought Pink Friday was a strong effort, but this is something that was created with a club deal of some sort in mind. Instead of standing out from the crowd, she joins the ranks of Madonna, Rihanna, and the plethora of other female pop stars that have used the growing club scene and excessive Bass, Clap, Synth musical pimple on the face of all genres.