Review - Nicki Minaj - Pink Friday Roman Reloaded (Deluxe Edition)
Nicki Minaj is without a doubt one of the hottest MCs in the game today. With her sophomore release, ‘Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded’, she proves what some have thought all along about her: it is all hype. I personally wasn’t in love with ‘Pink Friday’, but it wasn’t all that bad, and it was very original, so I gave it a pass. I knew she wouldn’t win any of her rap Grammys, but it was a nice gesture.
‘Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded’ has so many things wrong with it, I don’t even know where to start.
First, THE NAME (which we already discussed, remember?). It makes you think it is a deluxe edition reissuing, right? You’re wrong. It is an album of entirely new material. This has got to be the worst sales decision since System of a Down named their CD ‘Steal This Album’ and made the cover clear.
Nicki promised us a concept album this time around, saying that ‘Roman Reloaded’ would be rapping from her alter ego Roman. While some of this is audible here and there, it certainly isn’t an entire album. Not only is Roman missing from many of the songs, but they seem completely void of any personality at all. What set Minaj in the beginning was her ability to bring multiple characters into songs and collections, making transitions seamlessly and in stunning fashion. Every bit of that is missing from ‘Reloaded’, which has her yelling and saying some of the same old “shock-and-awe” lines, but sans the magic that helped her pull it off before.
One thing that has always upset me about Nicki is her lyrics, and this album sees her songwriting hit an all-time low. Nicki Minaj’s success has seen her compared to Lil Wayne, Kanye, Jay-Z, and other hip hop luminaries these days, but she pales in lyrical comparison. Minaj isn’t so much a rapper as a person who can recognize when things happen to rhyme. ‘Roman Reloaded’ is chock full of poetry, like this, from “Come On A Cone”:
“Front row at Oscar De La Renta, posture
ain’t a bitch that could do it, not even my imposter
put these bitches on lockout, where the fuck is your roster
I pull up in that new new, marinara and pasta”
(where did it fall apart?)
Rap fans will be enormously disappointed by almost everything on this CD. The beats make it sound like a mixtape, it is lyrically stunted, and worst of all (for our rap enthusiasts out there), it seems that Nicki’s been spending too much time with David Guetta and RedOne for her own good.
After “Super Bass” blew up, it seemed that she didn’t know what to do. On one hand, she made it big in hip hop; on the other, her biggest claim to fame is a pop song. In an attempt to bridge genres together, Nicki literally recorded a hip hop album and a pop album, smooshed them together and called it a day.
The deluxe edition of this album is 22 songs long; the first 11 are hip hop, and the second 11 are Euro-dance-pop, with production by RedOne (most famously on the obnoxiously catchy and suspiciously “Super Bass”-like “Starships”), JR Rotem (Rihanna, Sean Kingston, Jason Derulo), David Guetta, Dreamlab (Britney Spears and Demi Lovato), and Dr. Luke and Benny Blanco (Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Taio Cruz). Any resemblance of hip hop flies out the window in favor of attempts at dancefloor glory, most of which is interchangeable with B-level female pop contemporaries.
‘Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded’ isn’t all bad, if you like pop. The last 11 songs are not that terrible, with many being fine enough to dance along to, if not memorable. Minaj shows she might even have a chance at being a pop star, if Keri Hilson suddenly dies and someone needs to fill that void. Sadly though, the hip hop on this LP is severely lacking, and it leaves the listener disappointed and even just scratching their head, wondering what the fuck she just said.
Listen to: “Starships”, “Va Va Voom” (which was supposed to be the first single, but days before it was released it was switched out for “Starships”), “Right By My Side (ft. Chris Brown)”, “Whip It”, “Marilyn Monroe” (to see how far she’s moved away from her original sound), and “Masquerade”.