Young Money/Cash Money/Universal Republic
Nicki Minaj may be a lot of things, but stupid isn’t one. She knows that all eyes are on her, and she knows which eyes are on her. For any artist, the sophomore album is MORE important than the debut, and for her, the stakes are high. This isn’t really a time for fucking around.
That’s okay, she’s reloaded, sort of. Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded plays like ensemble set than a cohesive album from one person. That uber-confusing “Roman Holiday” song she performed at The Grammys? Check. A surprising (and show stealing) cameo by Cam’Ron alongside Nicki and Rick Ross on “I Am Your Leader?” Check. Sans the “Roman” joint, the first third of the album is Nicki rhyming over mid-tempo 808 drums and synths, but she’s having a blast. The standouts here are the Weezy featured “Roman Reloaded” and “Champions” featuring Drake, Nas and Young Jeezy.
The transition starts with “Right By My Side” with Chris Brown & “Sex In The Lounge” with Weezy & Bobby V. Both have potential to be radio faves. But, the second half is ALL pop. Those little kids from “Ellen” that loved “Super Bass” is surely rehearsing “Starships” as I write this. “Pound the Alarm” could have been a duet with LMFAO. “Automatic” – same thing. It’s actually kind of overkill. These songs could all play at a club, back to back.
Like I said, Nicki isn’t stupid, she knows who’s watching, and she made this album with the intent capitalizing on the new eyes, while attempting to remind her core artists that she can still spit like that gutter chick from them “Come Up” DVDs. Her “new” audience won’t get the first half, and her “old” audience won’t like the second half. Nicki knows that this is bigger than that, and she was brave enough to deliver the album she wanted to deliver. If anything, it lives up to the multiple personality thing, which makes it a little difficult to understand at times.