First things first: Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded is a female gangster rap atrocity. At this point in her career, Nicki Minaj has evolved, or perhaps devolved, into a monstrous beast who dabbles in many forms of conceptualization. Between seven or eight supposed altar egos, an array of unreasonable red carpet looks and a handful of different attitudes on a singular album, the entire compilation is a lot to handle for most any fan.
It’s hard to agree with the arrangement of the order of Roman Reloaded’s track list. Her producers lined up some of the most crude tracks at the front half of the album before Minaj has time to redeem with some more endearing mixes near the end of her compilation. These are what many might have wanted to hear from her, something like that of “Your Love” or even “Super Bass” but instead the more delicate tracks are saved for the latter half of the album. “Marilyn Monroe” is particularly emotional and so is “Young Forever” but they’re kept hidden at the back half of Roman Reloaded.
“Beez in the trap (Feat. 2 Chainz)” is what’s expected to be the rapper’s next hit from the album, coming in the wake of “Starships” and providing the most generous hook that’s about to get stuck in listeners’ heads for weeks to come. Here — and nowhere else — does itty-bitty Nicki spit lyrics with intensity and power.
It’s a possibility that Nicki Minaj’s over-the-top antics paired with exploitation in the spotlight has worn out her fans as well as her producers. People are sick of not being able to predict her hair color and they’re tired of and exhausted from hearing such irreverent quotes fly from her lips. Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded is nearly 20 songs thick, too, adding fuel to the fire that was ignited when Minaj struck her angry match.
Something about Minaj’s context entitles other artists to be more raw when lending vocals on her tracks. Not only does she perform the woman-hating “Stupid Hoe” alone but when featuring Lil’ Wayne on “Sex In The Lounge,” her male counterpart is ridiculously descriptive in explaining what he would like to do to women. We beg you to skip it on your way to lighter and more muted tracks like “Starships” and “Young Forever.” Because Nicki only makes us proud when we are brought to familiarity with songs that are welcome on the radio. When her material becomes too profound for mainstream standards, the gray area tends to become inaudible.
Nicki’s music in her latest album actually tends to pirouette on the tip of a double-edge sword. There is no middle ground between gangster-heavy hard rap intimidators and weakly-sung dreamy R&B breakdowns.
Minaj makes rhymes that are clever and unexpected. There’s no denying the talent that her little Trinidadian body possesses every time she fires those words quicker than your brain can process. It’s just that her successes always seem to be outnumbered by rude and rotten traffic jams.
We wonder why Minaj continually sounds angry, hostile and possessed. More often we hear her rhymes in the material of other artists than her own, and she’s still praised for what she offers in the verses of her hip-hop pals. If Minaj is better left as the “feat.” girl, then so be it. Better to hear one verse from her than three.