Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded The job of queen bee of the rap world had been vacant for years. But Nicki Minaj would have grabbed that moniker even if the… Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded The job of queen bee of the rap world had been vacant for years. But Nicki Minaj would have grabbed that moniker even if the… 2012-04-03 Nicki Minaj Hip-Hop/Rap Universal Republic
Music Review

Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (2012)

MAJESTIC MINAJ The rap queen sits high on hip-hop throne with the release of her latest album
MAJESTIC MINAJ The rap queen sits high on hip-hop throne with the release of her latest album
EW's GRADE
B

Details Release Date: Apr 03, 2012; Lead Performance: Nicki Minaj; Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap; Production: Universal Republic

The job of queen bee of the rap world had been vacant for years. But Nicki Minaj would have grabbed that moniker even if the commercial success and wiggy eclecticism of her 2010 debut, Pink Friday, breezily cartwheeling between candy-colored horrorcore and futuristic robo-pop, hadn't rightfully earned it for her. At times Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (which is not a sequel, despite the title) excellently mines those extremes, like when she shuttles between a guttural bark and a faux-operatic croon during ''Come on a Cone'' — as in, her flow is so cold it should be delivered by Mister Softee.

If Roman stuck to those technical high-wire acts, it would be a near-perfect schizophrenic juggernaut. But too many of its 19 tracks leave Minaj simply treading the territory of other radio divas. It isn't that ''Automatic'' and ''Beautiful Sinner,'' dance froth sung in Nicki's vanilla-starlet coo, are bad — it's just that they could have been done by any lesser talent with a tolerance for Auto-Tune.

Since nobody else sounds like her, it's frustrating to listen to Minaj waste time mimicking others. Fortunately, iTunes makes it easy to jettison all but Roman's vivid prog-rap bangers. It may not be a definitive knockout punch, but she can keep her title. B

Best Tracks:
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Moody all-star roundtable Champion

Originally posted Apr 04, 2012 Published in issue #1202 Apr 13, 2012 Order article reprints