Today: Feb 25, 2024

Music Review: Nicki Minaj Pink Friday-Roman Reloaded

JON MORENOArts Editor

1. “Roman Holiday” – This is the song Nicki performed during this year’s Grammy’s and received a lot of flack over it. The performance was God-awful but hearing the song in its entirety and in studio quality, I’ve come around to admitting the song isn’t half bad. Nicki’s originality exudes on this track. You don’t have to like it, but you have to respect her for taking a risk. 3/5 Owls.

2. “Come On a Cone” – We get the Nicki Minaj that sounds straight out of the streets of Queens, N.Y. that got her a record deal with Young Money. That is, however, until the end of the song where she “sings” a few lyrics that throw off the whole track. Until that point, the song is solid. 3/5 Owls.

3. “I Am Your Leader” (feat. Cam’Ron & Rick Ross) – Who knew Cam’Ron still had it? He steals the show on a song where Nicki actually raps some strong bars and Rick Ross, recently named the hottest MC in the game by MTV, is also featured in it. The hook is tolerable but the real treat is the Harlem hip-hop veteran. 4/5 Owls.

4. “Beez In The Trap” (feat. 2 Chainz) – This is a song strictly for urban radio and right now no one is in heavy rotation more than 2 Chainz. He complements Nicki well on the simple but catchy beat. The hook sounds like a 5-year-old version of Nicki Minaj is singing it but lyrically the verses are on-point. 4/5 Owls.

5. “HOV Lane” – This is probably the best hip-hop record on the album. In a song where Nicki proclaims to be in the same lane as rap mogul, Jay-Z, it is only fitting she comes correct on it to validate her bold statement. And that she does. 5/5 Owls.

6. “Roman Reloaded” (feat. Lil Wayne) – Nicki responds to her critics about her Grammy performance and does not bite her tongue one bit. Lil Wayne adds a verse with more awkward punchlines than I could remember from a Lil Wayne verse in quite a while. Vintage Wayne, indeed. Production on the song is extremely tight. 3/5 Owls.

7. “Champion” (feat. Drake, Young Jeezy, Nas) – Drake, Young Jeezy and Nas all on the same song may seem like a bit of an odd mixture but it surprisingly provides good results. Nas delivers the best verse here as all MC’s reminisce about their upbringing in the hip-hop world. I’m not a fan of Nicki’s singing but it doesn’t quite make me cringe, yet. 4/5 Owls.

8. “Right By My Side” (feat. Chris Brown) – The song is catchy, features Chris Brown and lyrically, it’s not bad. However, it still manages to find a way to sound stale. It’s going to do well in radio but that doesn’t mean it’s good. This song marks the beginning of a steep downhill fall for the album. 2/5 Owls.

9. “Sex In The Lounge” (feat. Lil Wayne & Bobby V) – The production sounds like an unsigned kid in his basement put it together. The synths sound weak and the snare sounds downloaded for free from a random drum kit torrent. The hook provided by Bobby V. is forgetful and by the time Lil Wayne’s verse comes in, chances are you already pressed skip. 1/5 Owls.

10. “Starships” – This is Nicki’s crossover record that will draw extreme criticism from rap fans but be praised in pop radio. Rihanna makes plenty of successful records that sound just like this but since Nicki is a rapper, then people will automatically refuse to give the song its due. It still is generic as ever possible but it’s a move that can be understood as Nicki is trying to branch out and become a star passed just hip-hop. 2/5 Owls.

11. “Pound The Alarm” – Nicki spits some strong bars in the track but the beat is extremely electro and far away from the hard hip-hop beats most are used to hearing her on. The hook is meant for the dance clubs and therefore this is another song that will spark debate on Nicki’s will to stick to her hip-hop roots. 3/5 Owls.

12. “Whip It” – Girls are going to be fans of this track simply because of the lyrics. The melody is bound to draw some ears but for the most part, this song gets lost in the bunch of Nicki’s 22-cut album. 2/5 Owls.

13. “Automatic” – Refer to track 12. 2/5 Owls.

14. “Beautiful Sinner” – Another pathetic attempt at a dance record. Nicki is extremely hit or miss on this album. This one is a big miss. 1/5 Owls.

15. “Marilyn Monroe” – After all that electronic, bass-bumping and terrible auto-tune assisted singing, we get a song with a bit more substance. This can easily become a single in the near future. The production is solid, the chorus is strong and despite Nicki not rapping here, the song still finds a way to be good. 3/5 Owls.

16. “Young Forever” – This is another song a lot of people will be a fan of due to it’s mesmerizing melody and simple production. Once again, Nicki doesn’t rap. 2/5 Owls.

17. “Fire Burns” – A strong cut in a record featuring many weak songs. Nicki is sticking to her singing-only recipe in the second half of the album. Let’s see if it holds up. 4/5 Owls.

18. “Gun Shot” (feat. Beenie Man) – Damn, Nicki. How are you going to put the legend Beenie Man on such a weak record like this? The production is bubble gum. Abysmal. 1/5 Owls.

19. “Stupid Hoe” – No words can explain. 0/5 Owls.

20. “Turn Me On” (feat. David Guetta) – Dope cross-over record mostly because of Guetta’s terrific production. The man makes hits and Nicki has her hands on one here. 4/5 Owls.

21. “Va Va Voom” – Nicki recently announced she shot a video for this song and I really don’t know why. It’s another forgettable record. No, thanks on this one. 2/5 Owls.

22. “Masquerade” – It’s only right that a frail attempt of a song is left for last to cap off this album full of hits and misses. I can respect Nicki’s attempt to cross-over but there’s better ways to do it. We get two different sides of Nicki here which is the purpose of this album but most fans were probably hoping for Nicki to stick to her roots a bit more. Only the first eight tracks or so do that. 2/5 Owls.

Overall: 2 out of 5 Owls

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