Nicki Minaj – Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded Album Review
The evolution of Nicki Minaj has been quite the journey, and entertaining to sit back and watch. Dating back to when I first heard her on Lil Wayne’s “Drought 3” mixtape, I always thought she was pretty dope. Unaware if it was Lil Wayne ghost writing for her or not, I wasn’t too sure how long or how big she would get. Well, I think we are all aware now. She has grown to become one of the biggest pop icons in the world.
Yes, I used the word “pop” on purpose, because let’s be honest. Is she really much of a female rapper anymore? That’s a whole different discussion though. We’re here to focus on her newest album, “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded.” I don’t think there has ever been a time that I went into an album completely unaware of the direction it’s going in, and then leaving it even more confused. After that debacle of a performance at the Grammy’s, Nicki had some explaining to do.
As songs were getting leaked, and singles being released, I just couldn’t really figure out what was going on. Is this going to be a rap album? Pop? Soundtrack to a musical theater act? Is she mad (figuratively and literally?) I wasn’t sure. So, with that being said, let’s just press play and try to figure this album out.
1. Roman Holiday
The infamous Grammy performance that had everyone in the Vatican spitting out their wine and holy bread is the lead into this album. The first time I listened to it I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it through the whole song, never mind the whole album. The one full verse she actually does rap on isn’t bad. She speaks on how “…these bitches couldn’t wipe my ass,” and how she’s “…colder than a blister.” Roman’s mother Martha Zolanski sings the hook and is heard throughout the song. Annoying if you ask me. I might be able to deal with all the quirky, psychotic, theatrics that are in this song if there was another verse that she actually raps on this track. Unfortunately there wasn’t, therefore I put this in the “may only listen because it comes up on shuffle and I’m in the middle of a FIFA game” category. And even then I will still probably put the controller down for a second to change it.
2. Come On A Cone
After that intro, I was really unsure at how the rest of this album was going to go. I was actually pleasantly surprised by “Come On A Cone.” The beat isn’t too overwhelming, and set up perfectly for Nicki to do what we didn’t hear much of on the first track: rap. She keeps a good tempo and I really liked her flow on this song. She speaks on her success from her first album on the first verse, along with some of her other highlights of her career. She blends the verse into the hook very well, but then it’s when things got a little weird. I understand she has a persona to keep up with here, but I enjoyed the song until she kept repeating “My ice is so cold, it should come on a cone,” in an extremely annoying manor. Apart from that and a questionable outro of her singing about putting her “…d**k in your face,” not a bad track.
If you need you a look, just put me in your song. But you know it will cost, about six figures long.
3. I Am Your Leader (Feat. Cam’Ron & Rick Ross)
I was definitely excited for this song based on the features alone. Ross’s features have been impressing a little more than his own work as of late, and the long lost Cam’Ron makes an appearance as well. Nicki has two decent verses consisting of usual shit talking, and why she’s “the queen.” Shout out to Lil’ Kim. The real standouts on this track are the features though. Solid verses from both of them. A nice little nostalgic feel with Killa Cam being the anchor to the song. Add a catchy little hook and for the first time so far on this album I enjoyed a song all the way through.
4. Beez In The Trap (Feat. 2 Chainz)
When this beat first kicks in you understand why she chose 2 Chainz to feature on it. It has his name written all over it. The beat has you head boppin’ throughout. Nicki definitely trying to prove that she hasn’t completely converted to Lady Gaga yet as she comes with that raw, mixtape Nicki on this track. 2 Chainz stays on fire with a solid verse. Only thing missing for me is some Birdman slick talk at the end.
5. HOV Lane
I really like Nicki’s energy on this bass heavy track. The beat kind of sounds like something that Luda would have spit on back in 2001. Again though, impressed by her flow, but I can’t really say the same about her lyrics. Five songs in and things are starting to get a little repetitive. Not much innovation or impressive punch lines or metaphors. She does make it evident she’s living luxurious and has had some accomplishments in her career. But, I mean come on, when a song has the word “Hov” in the title you expect a little something above and beyond the usual. Not a bad song to add to a high energy playlist though.
6. Roman Reloaded (Feat. Lil Wayne)
The set up of this song is interesting, but I like it. There are six short verses with a short hook between each of them. Few things I want to note though. The first thing is why does Nicki still think she hasn’t gone pop? “Only thing that’s pop is my endorsement op!” And you’re newest single “Starships.” The second thing is I got a huge laugh out of the line “All you hoes crying, Christopher Bosh.” That is great. Lastly, who is she talking to on the second verse? Cue the Lil’ Kim subliminal diss talk. Weezy comes in with his typical drug infested, F’ing the world, and telling us what the F stands for in Weezy F. baby. Another short, but catchy hook. Overall, a pretty solid track.
Probably my favorite song on the album. As the song progresses, so do the verses. Nicki with probably her most serious verse on the album, followed by Drake adding a solid verse. Jeezy’s verse is full of that “Supa Dupa” flow that stirred beef between Big Sean and Ludacris last year. Almost every line has that one word punchline. For example: “Straight ballin’ in this bitch, Jeremy Lin: Melo!/ Tell me one thing you won’t do: Settle!” Nas definitely takes the spotlight though anchoring this track. Always great to hear a legend featured on a track and show the youngin’s how to get it done.
I saw my first two million dollars, I was 23. I’m barely a man, yet, I had some killers under me.
Finally a song with a theme that can be felt throughout. Nicki and Chris Breezy basically speak on not being able to sleep and perform other tasks without that one person by your side. I think we’ve all been there before. Definitely a good mix of Nicki singing and rapping, doing a verse of each. Also, the Chris Brown feature was perfect, and they harmonized well together on the hook. I would say this is an upbeat R&B track with a solid rapping verse from Nicki at the end. In order for Nicki to be “right by my side” when I sleep I’d have to get a bigger bed. For obvious reasons of course.
9. Sex In The Lounge (Feat. Lil Wayne & Bobby V)
Definitely the most suggestive song on the album, but that’s obvious by the title right? This 100% sounds like a song that would have Trey Songz as a feature. In fact, I’m expecting a “Triggamix” to this song in the near future. Bobby V was a valid enough back up though. His vocals on the hook and his verse fit the tone of the song well. Lil Wayne stole the show on this one though with a verse reminding me of his “Pussy Monster” days. Very detailed, but slick talked as only Weezy could. Nicki kept her encounter in the lounge very discrete though, and not as raunchy as she usually is. Kind of ironic by the title of the song. After this song though, the album made a drastic change in direction.
I remember when I downloaded this song and the beat kicked in my first thought was, “What the hell? Did I accidentally download a Hannah Montana song?” It literally sounded like “Party In The U.S.A.” part two or something. Then my second thought was “Wait, this is going to be on the same album as ‘Stupid Hoe’ and ‘Roman Holiday?’” This song sounds like what would happen if you put Miley Cyrus, LMFAO, and Will.I.Am in a room and say “make a hit.” That’s exactly what it is though, a hit. We’ve had two months to soak it in, and I still find myself putting it on my pregame playlist on the weekends. Little did I know it was going to be the start of an array of “pop” songs on this album.
11. Pound the Alarm
Nicki Spears, er, I mean Nicki Minaj continues her dance record spree on this track. This song is the epitome of every nightclubs dream. A catchy hook, multiple house music dance breaks, and some lyrics about bottles, getting drunk, and burning the dance floor. This sounds like it was a throwaway on Britney’s “Femme Fatale” album. I was also kind of anticipating Pitbull to pop up in this song. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not completely hating on all these songs. I enjoy me some good up-tempo music to hear before and during a club night. My only vice is how random this whole album is. Regardless, I do enjoy this song.
12. Whip It
I thought “Starships” was going to be my guilty pleasure on this album, but nope. This song definitely takes the cake for that one. I’m a fan of old school “freestyle” music from the early 90’s. This kind of reminds me of that type of music. “Whip It” has hit written all over it. I know Nicki likes to go over the top with her fashion like Lady Gaga, but now she’s crossing over into making the same type of music as her. Sing it with me “Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, me go!”
“I can’t control the way I’m moving my hips, I bet you never ever seen me like this.” No Nicki I have not, but it does paint quite the visual. To be honest, I think we’d all (the guys at least) enjoy seeing you moving your hips like that. Again, I find myself jamming to another one of her dance songs on this album though. These first four have been rather enjoyable.
14. Beautiful Sinner
Hm, is Nicki channeling her inner Cascada, circa 2006? Sure sounds like it. What’s cool to hear though is her avoiding being completely animated in these dance songs. She actually has some pretty good range, and sounds as if maybe pop/dance music is her calling. DJ Clue recently asked about mixing pop and hip hop on the album she says “Things just don’t keep my attention long enough to only do one thing.” Let’s just say I was more pleased to hear more of this Nicki than Roman.
15. Marilyn Monroe
Nope. Can’t do it. You want to dip your feet into what Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Gaga is doing? Fine. Don’t come at me with some Taylor Swift garbage though. I just can’t take this song serious. It’s way too slow and this album just has no room for a ballad. Lyrics and meaning behind the song are there though. She should have just, like I said, sold them to Taylor Swift. In which I’m hopeful for her to win an award and Kanye blow up her spot again. Am I the only one who loved that?!
16. Young Forever
I don’t really know what to think of this song. Again, a good message blah, blah, blah, but just seems to simple. It sounds like I could have put this beat together. It almost seems to me as if this was a filler song. It’s great that this day in age artists want to give you enough music for your money, but not if we’re going to skip the song anyway.
17. Fire Burns
I legitimately was half paying attention the first time I heard this song and thought I had my “90’s Radio” station on Pandora on. Has an old school feel, and I can respect the story behind it. Short, but sweet. Some might say filler, but it got me to zone out a little bit on it. I can dig a song that I do that to. Definitely prefer this over “Marilyn Monroe.”
18. Gun Shot (Feat. Beenie Man)
Definitely feeling this reggae styled track. A nice uplifting track, and it seems as if Beenie Man never disappoints. Although Nicki holds her own, Mr. Girls Dem Suga definitely stands out. In my opinion, this would have been a perfect way to end a roller coaster of an album. Unfortunately, it wasn’t how she ended it.
19. Stupid Hoe
You know, if the hook wasn’t so damn stupid and annoying I probably would like this song. The beat is pretty dope and seems to be the type of beat Nicki rips up. When she starts rapping, I actually find myself head bopping and enjoying it. But, there is just no excuse for “You a stupid hoe, you a, you a stupid hoe! (Stupid, Stupid.)” I wish, I wish, I wish, I wish she would just not do that anymore. I mean, if somehow you can get past that, the song isn’t that bad.
Conclusion- Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded is everything you don’t expect it to be. I was half expecting it to be an over-use of her alter ego’s and just being a big laugh fest. Little did I know it was really going to be two separate EP’s. One being hip-hop and the other being pop. When she did rap, it wasn’t bad. Delivery was there, and she sticks to her witty, theatrical style and does it well. Considering this was Nicki’s first dip into really going pop, it wasn’t bad. The hip hop heads are going to be up in arms over it, whereas if you look at it from simply a music standpoint, you can’t really knock it. Kanye caught some shit for making “808’s and Heartbreak’s” but it’s his right as an artist to broaden his horizon’s. I look at it the same way for Nicki on this album. I wouldn’t give it more than a 6.5/10. It was just too all over the place for me. I think it would have been a little better if maybe she made it a double disc. One side being Roman, and the other the pop side. Regardless, I take away some solid pregame music, and some relief knowing I didn’t have to listen to nineteen “Roman Holiday” type songs for this review.
What do you think of Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded?