Nov. 19, 2010, was filled with pink wigs, tight pants and multi-colored lipstick, all in preparation for the new Queen Bee of hip-hop’s debut album.
Nicki Minaj was on top of the world when “Pink Friday” was released; even veterans like Lil Kim couldn’t bring her down.
Fast forward to 2012, and Minaj is ready to release “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded,” a remix to the original with less hype and even less talent. Any listeners that were into her since her “itty bitty piggy” days will surely want to destroy her alter ego by the end of the album.
“Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded” focuses on Minaj’s most popular alter ego, Roman Zolanski (dangerously close to Roman Polanski). Roman is her more vicious side, as opposed to her normal self, or her more feminine side, Barbie. The album starts with “Roman Holiday,” a sad excuse for a song starting with Roman’s mother, another alter ego of Minaj’s, preaching to her son about his need for a “Roman Holiday.”
“I Am Your Leader,” is the next song worth mentioning, a centerpiece to many afternoon jam sessions on both Hot 97 and Power 105.1. It holds the same out of this world type of sound as the other songs on the album, but for some reason it has more intensity behind it. This could be because Minaj’s verses actually have some substance, but most likely because it features some big players like Rick Ross and Cam’ron.
The next song, “Beez in the Trap,” is a song listeners will love to hate. It features newcomer Two Chainz, formally known as “Tity boi,” who is the least talented artist featured on the album, and in the industry in general. The best part of the song is the beat, a common pattern with most songs on the album, though trying to figure out the meaning behind “Beez in the Trap,” is an adventure in itself.
“Roman Reloaded” brings back the old Minaj, reminiscent of “I Get Crazy,” complete with Lil Wayne by her side. The chorus is accompanied by sounds of bullets, and Minaj yelling “bang bang,” which like “Beez in the Trap,” is guaranteed to be stuck in your head.
“Champion” is more of a nostalgic track, talking about the ghetto and the importance of getting out. It features YMCMB label mate Drake, whose only real addition to the song is paying homage to Jay-Z and Jermaine Dupri’s “Money Ain’t a Thang.” Young Jeezy follows him, talking about all the money he has, but both rappers are out shined by the third featured artist: Nas. He starts his verse off strong, with “I saw my first two million dollars, I was 23/ I’m barely a man, yet, I had some killers under me.” The rest of it is basic enough, but still wows listeners more than Jeezy could ever do.
This song is followed by an R&B track, featuring the prince of R&B, Chris Brown. “Right By My Side” is a strong duet between Minaj and Brown, catchy from the start with Minaj singing, “It all comes down to this/I miss your morning kiss.” Brown makes the track, as he does with most collaboration tracks he has had this year, his verse nostalgic to a relationship we can all recognize.
Minaj surprised listeners all over the world with her Jersey Shore-Katy Perry hybrid “Starships,” a summer track reminiscent of “California Girls” if there was a house remix. Minaj continues with her techno revelation in “Pound the Alarm,” “Whip It,” and “Automatic,” the latter being the most passable for enjoyable dance music.
The rest of the songs on the album follow suit, until the last track, “Stupid Hoe,” a prime example of music with absolutely no substance. The beat, again, is crazy, but the lyrical content is virtually non-existent.
The deluxe edition of the album features her mega hit, “Turn Me On,” featuring dance guru David Guetta, a song taking over both the airways and clubs around the world.
The album, music wise, is perfection, thanks to producers like Hit Boy and RedOne (most famous for working with Lady Gaga).
The tracks that were collaborations never fell short of being both catchy and street friendly, thanks to Cam’ron, Nas and Drake.
Unfortunately, like many other rap albums we have seen, the actual star of the show is the least impressive. In fact, the songs that were just Minaj herself, mostly the dance tracks, were nothing memorable.
In the days of “Beam Me Up Scotty,” Minaj was the only actor on stage, and delivered every time. She didn’t need the fancy wigs, crazy alter egos, or flashy names behind her.
“Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded” was an overall disappointment, and leaves the door wide open for Lil Kim to take her title back, if she ever gets around to it.