Nicki Minaj: Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded

Before Nicki Minaj dropped Pink Friday late in 2010, I was a huge fan of hers. The verses she was laying down on guest spots were sick and she was spitting her rhymes without holding anything back. She was fierce and she was brutal. It was about time a strong female force hit the rap game again. But when her album came out, I was so disappointed in the severe lack of rapping that she was doing. I still like some of the songs, but I was hoping for something harder. When I heard Roman in Moscow when the buzz began of her newer album, I was hopeful. Now that Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded has been released, we’ll see what happens.

The album opens with Roman Holiday, the track she performed at the Grammy’s that left so many people offended and/or confused. The performance was bizarre, I’ll admit. The song sounds totally different on the album, though. This is a much stronger version – and if Nicki had just gotten up on that stage and plowed through this without all of the props, I bet she would’ve had a great response.

HOV Lane is one of my favorite songs Nicki has ever put out. She’s not holding anything back, the beat feels right and fits with the song, and there’s not a glimpse of singing in the whole thing.

Anytime Nicki does a track with Drake, I’m on board. Champion comes through with Drake, Nas, and Young Jeezy and is almost as good as that lineup sounds.

Starships is so over-played right now and that only adds to my annoyance with the song. I didn’t like it in the first place, but after hearing it about a hundred times, I’m totally over it. This is not Nicki’s best work in any way.

Pound the Alarm brings it back around with much better essence. The rapping is back after a few tracks of singing and the lyrics are at a suitable level of harshness. I have a feeling this track would be great in a club or in an audience simply because of the chorus as a sick dance beat breaks out.

While I’m fine with Nicki’s singing voice, I prefer her rapping. It seems as though there was a long stride that made me hopeful for the album, but after Champion, the album goes a little downhill. Marilyn Monroe offers up something remotely different, taking a play on a quote by Marilyn Monroe that I’d bet you’ve seen on your Facebook news feed. Young Forever, Fire Burns, and Gun Shot are too slow for Nicki’s fast pace and they lose my attention quickly.

The regular version of the album wraps up with Stupid Hoe. I have mixed emotions about this song on a variety of different levels, but something about it is catchy and I dare you to not have the desire to sing along at least once.

The deluxe edition offers up Turn Me On, featuring David Guetta, which is nothing new if you listen to any Top 40 radio. Va Va Voom steps in and at least has some rapping in it and an interesting beat. Masquerade wraps things up at track twenty-two and is a nice mid-tempo song with an upbeat chorus to end the album on.

I’m still more of a fan of Nicki’s rapping and I wish she’d take it further rather than incorporating the singing bit. I had high hopes for this album when I got six tracks in and was still getting plenty of hard rapping, but then I feel like I hit a banana peel and it was downhill from there. There are some tracks on here that are worth listening to, but overall, I’m sort of disappointed.

Key Tracks
HOV Lane (track 5)
Pound the Alarm (track 11)
Roman Holiday (track 1)

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