For those who don’t know who Nicki Minaj is she is a female rapper/singer of the incredibly successful YMCMB (Young Money Cash Money Billionaires) clique. You will either know her as a credible female MC from her first album, or you saw the truly terrible performance at the Grammy Awards.
The album was highly anticipated in many circles but does it live up to her first breakthrough album Pink Friday? I would normally break down each track and give details of each track, but this album really isn’t worth the time and effort. She has gone from in my opinion a real contender for Lil’ Kim‘s crown of greatest female MC to screeching alot and songs containing “wooooo dick in your face, put my dick in your face, put my dick in your face” REALLY?.
I came incredibly close to just turning the album off after the first 2 tracks. ‘Roman Holiday’ been the first track; the shambles that was unfortunately displayed at the Grammy Awards and sounds just as bad in the studio version as it does live. Highly annoying, terrible rhymes, singing is weak and the beat is rubbish. It’s all round a bad song, the same can be said for the second track on the album ‘Come On A Cone’. It is all just so generic bullshit that Young Money pump out to the masses and people usually eat it up like a McDonald’s burger.
The 3rd track ‘I Am Your Leader’ is far from brilliant but it has Cam’Ron and Rick Ross who I do respect as artists in their respectively styles. Nicki isn’t on form on this album so far at all shes really lost her way and everything sounds the same. Rick Ross barely saves the track with his effortless flow, nice lyrics and his all round charisma on the beat. Cam’Ron does his thing and holds up against rick ross, both guests are far ahead of Nicki, another skippable track (Well half of it atleast).
‘Beez In The Trap’ it kicks off with another generic beat and Nicki again blurts out nonsense, this is the exact bullshit I was expecting the first time around on Pink Friday which I actually loved. “A 100 mother fuckers can’t tell me nothing” Nicki spouts on the hook and it seems like she has to start listening to people more, like her FANS! As if this is the best she now has to offer she won’t get a 3rd album. The feature machine that is 2 Chainz gives a nice verse and hits the beat nicely but if this was on any other track and not this crap i would of probably skipped him too, all in all a rubbish song again.
The next track is ‘Hov’ Lane’ now this is a nice change of pace, it is the first track I liked on the album, she is being cocky and spitting out punchlines, this is the first track that shows any progression, the flow is really good too, she really seems to snap on this 1 and hits the beat with an aggressive delivery, the beat is slightly better then the previous 4 but not by much, but Nicki’s delivery gets your attention.
‘Roman Reloaded’ is the title track of the album and no surprise it features Lil Wayne, Nicki comes straight for the jugular with the track hitting with a gun shot and Nicki delivering “bang, my shit bang” she actually has some nice lines in this track but the beat is so poor it seems like no effort whatsoever has gone into production on this album, a kid with a drum machine is the level of skill on this. Nicki overall is just lacking in every department, Wayne actually isn’t too bad on this track, don’t get me wrong he isn’t good, ever. Name drops himself as always when he has nothing to say on a song, which is why you hear his name so damn much.
‘Champion’ is the first attempt at a great song. I have seen lots of hate for this track as it features Nas, Drake and Young Jeezy. The general consensus seems to be Drake & Nas “killed it!” but there isn’t much between the 4 artists in terms of delivery, they all put out the same verse with a different voice. Each has some nice lines, Drake and Nas I would say have the better ones, Young Jeezy just sounds like he got a throat infection (no I don’t mean his normal voice). Really don’t like Jeezy on this his voice is irritating, and im a huge fan of his albums, Nas steals the track as expected, but there isn’t really any stand out lines.
‘Right By My Side’ features Chris Brown and is the first track I really enjoyed, but as a massive Chris Brown fan that is to be expected. Nicki sings on this 1 too which is strangely what I think the album has missed, this is a definite hit for the future if released. The beat is nice, it has melody to follow and it is complimented with Nicki’s singing. Chris Brown lays down great vocals as always and really gives the album a much needed lift. Nicki gives a nice rap with a more trademark delivery switching things up with speed, the track ends with Chris and Nicki harmonising, overall a good track.
‘Starships’ kicks off with a beat which I would describe as a Maroon 5/Lady Gaga mash up with a clear David Guetta influence on the hook. This is far from a typical rap track, but it is 1 of the best tracks on the album, cheesy and straight pop but so catchy, and Nicki is just having some fun finally. This is the Nicki I have been missed listening to the album, sure it’s a typical club track and not much in terms of rapping, but this is a positive, she knows how to simply make a commercial track and do it well.
The next 4 tracks are produced by RedOne and follow the Guetta/Black Eyes Peas trend of 10% lyrics 90% club beats. While I like dance music and actually enjoy these tracks beatwise, I couldn’t help wondering why Nicki Minaj decided to go in this direction as I don’t think she fits into this genre as well as she seems to think she does. The lyrics are extremely repetitive and she has really put artistry aside for some commercial club success. As a Female rapper, this is a strange choice of direction and it works if you take the tracks on their own basis, but the album is just all over the place it has no structure at all and these tracks are a good example of this.
‘Marilyn Monroe’ starts with a melodic piano lead and again gives Nicki another high point, which are few and far between, it has a nice hook. It seems to me the pattern of the album is if Nicki sings rather then raps it’s a good track, I found myself enjoying her as a singer and giving her no credibility as a rapper.
‘Young Forever’ is another track I would recommend as it again has Nicki taking a more melodic singer direction and has a hard hitting drum kick similar to an early Eminem track. ‘Fire Burns’ continues where the previous track left off and sees Nicki singing again, but she tries to hit notes that aren’t there so she is a bit pitchy in parts which is pretty crazy in the world of Auto tune.
‘Gun Shot’ is a nice change as it features Beenie Man and see Nicki bring a slight reggae flavour to her vocals, this track is definitely 1 of the stand out tracks and has a very melodic piano running through the heart of it, and a nice drumline and nice vocals delivered from Nicki, Beenie Man puts in a verse in the vein of Shaggy, a really nice collaboration and I might even say is better then the Chris Brown collaboration too, I really enjoyed this track.
The album finishes with the track most people will of heard previously ‘Stupid Hoe’ it ends the album as it began, simply awful. It has some really cheesy lines, the beat is just annoying! it is a really bad effort.
Surprisingly the bonus tracks are some of the best tracks on the album, the smash hit collaboration with David Guetta ”Turn me on’ is the best of the 3. As ‘Va Va Voom’ and ‘Masquerade’ continues in the same vein with a slightly more Daft Punk sound it sees Nicki switching up her flow to match the speed of the beats
No doubting the album has some great highs in the few stand out tracks, but the album is a complete mess, far too many low points. Low points would be fine 1 song here and there, the problem this suffers with its groups of 4 at a time, their is alot of filler here and that is something I didn’t expect from her as previously I found her very versatile. While this album shows her versatility with the number of dance tracks, pop tracks and attempts at a great rap collaboration, the problem is it fails on almost every level.
If you found her first album a breathe of fresh air and a brilliant rap album, you will be extremely disappointed with this album, as it jumps on every band wagon there is out there right now and puts no artistry into play, I would avoid and just get the tracks I pointed out.