Nicki Minaj’s highly anticipated sophomore album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded dropped on Tuesday and so far there is a lot to say about the female rapper that is predicted to hit the #1 spot on the Billboard album charts.
Roman Zolanski, Minaj’s alter ego, makes a grand entrance as soon as the album starts with “Roman Holiday“, which some of you might remember from her performance at the Grammys. The LP containing 19 songs, caters to both of Nicki’s audience: hip hop and pop fanbases.
On the first half of the album, Nicki goes hard with the verses, transfering from one alter ego to the next one without missing a beat, plus other artists like Rick Ross, Cam’ron, Lil Wayne and Drake are also featured and enhance Nicki’s rapping abilities. Props to her, she’s witty with her lyrics, so much in fact that after rapping in “Come In A Cone” she’s not scared to do melodic vocals to a lyric that goes ”oooh, d*ck in your face“, adding some of her own dramatic voices that she so often does in her songs. Songs like “I Am Your Leader“, “Champion” and “HOV Lane” make Nicki stand out in the hip hop genre as the only relevant female rapper.
Nicki is pretty much doing whatever she wants, and while the hip hop first half of the album is good and pretty much what I expected, once the second half starts: Katy Perry, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, you all better watch out because Nicki isn’t just a rapper anymore, she’s a pop star too. While I feel like the second half’s purpose is mainly to make the album more commercial and cater to those fans who fell in love with “Superbass” and “Turn Me On“, they do not make PFRR feel as a whole. To me it feels as if Nicki tried with PFRR to do so much and find so many personas to perform with, that she failed to give a whole concept, and the alter ego of Roman is never fully explored.
The second half of the album, starts off with the R&B-esque “Right By My Side” featuring Chris Brown, that if the album had at least three other songs like this, it wouldn’t be as disappointing as breaking off from her tough rapper persona that we listen to in the first 8 songs, to do catchy pop and dance infused singles that leave more than one wondering “Where did Roman go?” or more like “Was he ever here in the first place?“. Oh, and let me just point out that “Sex In The Lounge” was the most pointless song of the record, she could have done well without it. With Roman out of the picture, this is the half of the album where I can predict most singles will come out from. “Pound The Alarm“, “Whip It” and “Automatic” can easily become party anthems and get her a lot of radio airplay.
Overall, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded felt more to me like Nicki’s own bipolar challenge between two genres, it failed to provide with some continuity within the songs, Nicki is a force to be recognized with, now in BOTH hip hop and pop. With 19 songs battling with each other to see which half is better than the other one, I guess I would have to say the first half but it is most likely that pop songs like “Va Va Boom” and “Beautiful Sinner” take over the Billboard Hot 100 anyday now, it’s just a matter of time.