Never one to make you wait, Flavour previously posted exclusive snippets of our favourite Barbie’s imminent album, released via Young Money/CashMoney/Universal Records on April 2. It was preceded by catchy teaser tracks like Roman In Moscow and the album’s second buzz track Stupid Hoe. When we first met one of Nicki’s many alter-egos, Roman, he had his revenge on Pink Friday and now he’s reloaded but what exactly does that mean? Are we going to get an album full of Roman or does Nicki have something else planned?
The 22-track deluxe LP opens promisingly with the track Roman’s Holiday – a playful display of two of Nicki’s alter egos. ‘Take your medication Roman’ dictates Martha on the chorus while Roman takes the reigns on the bass fuelled verses. Roman appears to take a back seat from here on though and Nicki returns boasting of Pink Friday’s successes. ‘Superbass triple plat’ she informs the listener on the track Come On A Cone, another bass fuelled track, produced by Hitboy.
Put together by a whole host of producers the album undeniably displays a number of flawless beats. Nicki justifiably states just how well she is doing on the Ryan and Smitty produced, Hov Lane – the conceited counterpart of Pink Friday’s, I’m The Best and one of the album’s best tracks. This is in contrast to the barely there beat of Beez In The Trap featuring 2 Chainz. Nicki fails to compensate lyrically on the track that sounds like it’s more suited to be on a mixtape release.
Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded boasts endless special guests. Absent from her debut album release, her mentor Lil Wayne, features on the album title-track Roman Reloaded. The lyrical rapport between the two is reminiscent of her Sucker Free mixtape days. Nicki proves she can hold her own against the males in the industry on the Hitboy produced track, I Am Your Leader, featuring Cam’Ron and Rick Ross. She continues to do so on Champion, somewhat of a follow up to Moment 4 Life, it features Young Jeezy, Drake and rather unexpectedly Nas. Nicki brings out her softer, singing side alongside Chris Brown on the track Right By My Side. Further feature artists include Beenie Man on the track Gun Shot and Bobby Valentino provides vocals on the PG rated Sex In The Lounge.
David Guetta features on the first of three additional tracks on the deluxe version of Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded. Turn Me On received mix reactions but is an open display of Minaj’s attempts to firmly plant herself in the mainstream. With the aid of auto-tune the 5′ 2″ Barbie sings ‘make me come alive, come on and turn me on’ over a dance-pop beat, co-produced by Guetta. Beautiful Sinner is a track that the Rihanna fans will definitely like, as Nicki sings ‘you’re a cheat and a liar but tonight you’re everything I desire’ over a dance/electro beat blend. On the track Va Va Voom, the second deluxe version addition, Nicki continues to pursue the pop path but this irresistibly catchy track has the potential to be a car windows rolled down, bass blaring, feel good summer anthem.
Nicki is snatching her place in the mainstream and she is doing so without apology as she never fails to put her stamp one each track; like her use of crazy voice inflections to open up club hit, Whip It. The vulnerable Nicki that graces our ears every once in a while also returns with the neo-ballad Marylin Monroe.
It seems as though Nicki has reloaded the same technique found in debut Pink Friday. There’s a track on Roman Reloaded for everyone, giving her a vast choice of future single releases. While the album displays a a range of genres, it’s been strategically put together. Opening with tracks for the fans that loved her from her mixtape days, blending into rnb at half time and moving onto and closing with the Nicki that vows to dominate the mainstream. If less than 22 tracks made the final playlist, Nicki would have been completely successful in creating an album perfect for everyone.
Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded might have you torn from the first listen but ultimately Nicki delivered with this 22-track LP and it has the potential to grow on you. This album will surely see massive chart success, as she kicks of her Pink Friday tour in June.
Rating: 6/10 Flavours