AKIRA REVIEW: Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded

Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded Deluxe Edition artwork

Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded

Roman Holiday
This song, while completely out of place sonically from the entire album, is exactly what one has come to expect from Nicki.  This is her in top, wacky form. The voices, the swearing, the beat, the pop-tinge, it all fits.  What makes this song really great is that it is not only a fun listen, and a very striking opener, but it paints a picture while you are listening to it.  One can not only listen to it, but envision how Nicki would/did perform this song.  It’s a very visual song, if that makes any sense.  While I am aware that this song’s debut got very mixed reviews when it was premiered at this year’s Grammy Awards, I have always been a fan of it, and the studio version, is just what I (and what I’m sure many barbz) wanted to hear from HB.  She is in top animated form on the opener to “Roman Reloaded”

I Am Your Leader (feat. Rick Ross & Cam'ron)
Such a bouncing beat!!  I personally love this song because it combines everything everyone loves (or loved) about Nicki, it’s fun (because of the chorus, it’s just so playful) and it’s still hood.  The beat and the spit on this song by all three artists (Nicki, Rick Ross and Cam'ron) is just such fire.  You just can’t help but want to bounce and pretend you’re anyone of these rappers when listening to this.  This is also the first song that really has the album’s first quote-able line, “I’m Santa Claus to these hoes without a reindeer” and Cam'ron’s “You’re just a nail I hammered”.  This is where the album’s first half of being “mixtape Nicki” really begins.

Come On A Cone
Let’s just call this song “Did It On’em” Pt. 2.  Not that this song is bad, no that’s not it at all, it’s just that you can’t help but feel that this is a part 2 to what she had on her first album.  Because the album’s name still retains the “Pink Friday” I guess it makes sense, but it’s just something that you can’t ignore.  ALL THAT BEING SAID, this is still a good song.  This is like a more mixtape version of “Roman Holiday” (in terms of animation in Nicki’s voice/spit).  The one thing that you CANNOT ignore in this song is the song’s unforgettable line “put my dick in yo face”.  If there’s one thing that Nicki Minaj can do, she knows where to direct one’s attention on a track, and that what makes her good, and this song is no different of her exceptional gift.

Beez In The Trap (feat. 2 Chainz)
I have read a few reviews of this song when it premiered on Hot 97, and they were all mentioning that this was Nicki’s return to her roots, that being “mixtape Nicki” (this was all after she released “Starships” which was/is SUPER pop).  I have to agree with those reviews, and say that this is “mixtape Nicki” in top “mixtape Nicki” form.  She (as she should) properly dominates the track by delivering the stronger of the verses as opposed to 2 Chainz.  The one un-ignorable thing that this song has is it’s sonically in-your-face beat.  It’s just so infectious.  If you like Nicki Minaj when she is in mixtape form, this song is for you (as well as most of the first half of the CD).

Sex In The Lounge (feat. Lil’ Wayne & Bobby V.)
Compared to the entire album, this song just does not stand as tall as some other songs.  That being said, it is good to hear Nicki with her mentor, Wayne, and a nice inclusion of Bobby V.  For me, Nicki’s spit is a bit too slow, so I lose interest in this song very fast, and everyone else, just does not keep me interested enough to even get through the song most of the time.  Because Nicki’s songs before this one were so fast and aggressive, her slow spit just does not do it for me, but it’s a nice slow jam if you’re into that, and I know some are, so power to all of you. J

Roman Reloaded (feat. Lil’ Wayne)
BOMBS.  This is what comes to mind when you hear this bomb beat.  Minaj and Wayne both deliver quote-able lines as well as an overall great track.  Nicki’s line is “Bite me, apple sign” while Wayne’s verse is just all quote-able.  This song is Nicki’s urban statement about being pop, and you just can’t help but be “ok, Nicki, I get it, you are still Nicki Minaj from Queens NY”.  Respect.

Right By My Side (feat. Chris Brown)
While I have my own opinions about Chris Brown (and subsequently every project he’s involved in) I have to say, this is just a nice song.  I think this is the “roc” track that “Sex In The Lounge” tried to be, but never could.  This song is also where Nicki starts to show off her singing chops (granted she can sing, but it is nothing compared to her spit game, or to the other singers out there).  The song itself is a soft listen, and it’s a very sweet song that boats some lovely synths (my personal favorite instrument).  What is nice about this song (and what you’ll soon hear to be many of the latter songs on this album) is that Nicki does not abandon her rapping skills, and has a nice verse as the bridge.  The opening lines to her verse “It’s not your spit game, it’s your dick game” are the outstanding lines of the song (arguably).  Regardless, it’s a nice song.

HOV Lane
I personally feel that this song is total FIRE.  The song is just such fire, you can’t help but get excited to go out or just do something when you hear this.  It is definitely a highlight of the album, it’s just so aggressive, and that’s what we all love from Nicki.  There is really nothing else to say about this song, except that when Nicki is aggressive, she does not hold anything back.  She is for sure in the HOV Lane with this record.

Champion (feat. Drake, Nas & Yung Jeezy)
Not that I would say anything bad about this song, but I don’t want to comment much on this song, because you can clearly hear that this song is her most personal song, because she talks about her murdered cousin Nicholas.  Also held up by some of rap’s past present heavyweights, this song is a good song to just sit and listen to, not as bananas as “Roman Holiday” or “HOV Lane” but still Nicki in top form, from spit to singing, think of it like “Moment 4 Life” Pt. 2.  The ONLY thing I will say does not even involve Nicki at all, Jeezy: just cough it out, you’ll be fine and probably sound a bit clearer. ;)

This was the lead single of this album, and after hearing what “Va Va Voom” sounds like; one can understand why “Starships” was chosen over “Va Va Voom” to introduce Nicki’s pop side to the world.  This song, while I was first a bit apprehensive about it, is SO FUCKING infectious, and just so fun.  The raps are fast, quick (barley there actually) but easy to remember that anyone can feel like Nicki Minaj, which is a testament to her ability to appeal to the masses with her own spit game.  The pre-chorus of each verse has to be noted, because it is just SO CATCHY.  You cannot help but just dance when you hear this song come on at the club, or on the radio, it’s just so good! :D  It should also be noted that this song also serves as the opener to what is clearly the divide on the CD as Nicki’s more pop material.

Pound The Alarm
Holy Moly!  This song is great.  The hook is just one of the best hooks of the year.  Enough said (about that).  The first verse-rap that she has is just so aggressive, but pop, all at the same time, you can see Nicki’s pop growth here, and she really shine’s on this ass-shaker of a song.  The beat is great, and even her singing just feels right and not awkward at all here.  Red One really did a number on Nicki here, in the best way possible, what a gem.

Whip It
This song is just as equally exceptional as “Pound The Alarm” but different in it’s own way.  You can really hear Nicki’s island roots on this song, even if it’s a Red One dance record.  This song, coupled with “Pound The Alarm” can definitely get the party started, and keep it going.  The best part about this song is that Nicki raps on both the verses, and they’re great raps!  Nothing quote-able, but it’s fast, fun, and…. It’s just fun, and that’s what counts, and it’s clearly what she wanted to count.  Job well done Nicki.

Red One almost exclusively is the producer for Nicki’s pop half of “Roman Reloaded” and this song is just another one of his creations.  While this song is good on it’s own, after coming off of “Pound The Alarm” and “Whip It”, it just does not compete with the previous two songs before it.  The singing is a bit awkward here, and the dubstep (I think) bridge is just weird sounding, as well as her what I think was rapping there.  However, I will say, the chorus is incredibly fun and catchy, so what Nicki and Red One do best (creating catchy things in their own ways) they accomplish here.

Beautiful Sinner
There is just a tiny tiny rap part at the very tip top of this song, and then after that, one tends to lose attention with the song.  However after making myself listen to the entire song, I understand that this is Nicki’s attempt at going dancey-dark, a-la GaGa.  It’s a noble effort, but it just does not stand up to the other materials on this CD.  It’s dancey, and that’s really all it has going for it.

Marilyn Monroe
This is Dr. Luke’s introduction on this CD, and while some may say (or have said, since this song leaked a while ago) that this is Nicki’s poor attempt at singing, I personally feel that this is a strong demonstration of her very minimal (let’s be fair, she is nowhere the singer that she is the rapper, but I digress…) singing skills.  Also, this song is just very very catchy, the chorus is just really nice, and the piano line is something one does not forget so easily.  I love this song, and it’s a good song to listen to when you are just feeling not that great, so what this song does best is that it really creates emotion out of nothing, and that in itself is very respectable.  I love this song, some may not, but you can decide that for yourself.

Young Forever
Dr. Luke’s fingerprints are ALL OVER this song.  And while Nicki doesn’t sound bad on this song, it’s just a song you want to skip over to get to the previous better songs, or at least the better Dr. Luke song on this CD (see “Marilyn Monroe”).  This song can be skipped, but if you like it, then power to you.

Fire Burns
Like any songwriter, when you cross one, don’t expect to hear yourself become the subject of a dark kiss-off song, (I have my fair share of these songs as well, so I can speak from experience) and this is exactly what this song is.  To whomever this song is for, Nicki is really gunning after them in a slow-jam kinda way.  What is interesting about this song is that the subject matter calls for a really aggressive song (this includes the lyrics) but the song itself is more of a ballad than anything.  It’s not that this is a bad (or a particularly good) song, but it’s just a very different song.  That’s all… hummm.

Gun Shot (feat. Beenie Man)
Island Nicki is clearly shown, here and it’s nice to see her.  If anything, this song is just a testament to Nicki Minaj’s diversity in voices, musical styles, spit, and singing, and star power.  The fact that Nicki can get one of the biggest names from the Reggae world (at least one that someone outside the reggae world knows of) i.e. Beenie Man is just SUCH a testament to her star power.  While this song is not necessarily the reggae song that is could be because of the potential both posses to create quite the hit, it is still a good…. No it is still a great song. J

Stupid Hoe
This song is so simple, in beat and construction, that is kinda the appeal about it.  I understand that this song has gone through the wringer as far as reviews go, I will only say that this is just outrageous fun, and Roman at this funniest.  The accompanying video is just as colorful and fun as Roman is, so to this guy, it fits, and an overall fun way to end the album (standardly of couse).

Turn Me On (with David Guetta)
I feel that this song is kind of a cheat (and properly belongs on the deluxe edition of the CD) because this song is originally from Guetta’s “Nothing But The Beat” record, so I will not say anything except, this song has demonstrated that it can perform well, and Nicki clearly shines on a dance track just as brightly as she can on a hip-hop and/or Rn’B track.

Va Va Voom
If you didn’t know, this was the original lead single, but was then replaced by “Starships” and with good reason.  There is nothing particularly wrong with this song, (and Nicki raps on this!! As opposed to the other Dr. Luke-produced tracks on the CD) but it’s just not as catchy as “Starships”.  Regardless, this is still a song one can shake their ass to, and the dubstep-ey bridge is reminiscent of Britney Spears’ “Hold It Against Me”, but if why fix something that isn’t broken?  It’s a good, fun song. J

This is pop Nicki in full form.  Also, it should be noted, that this is Nicki’s most inspirational track on this CD.  While this is a bonus track, it’s just a fun fun song.  Dr. Luke made this song too, and it’s so in-your-face apparent.  Nicki raps three times and they are all successful raps, so this song is a win.  At the end of the day, she sings, she raps, and this is a win.

Press Conference (feat. Charlemagne & Safaree "SB" Samuels)
This song clocks in at 21 minutes and 4 seconds, and it’s just Nicki’s statement to the world.  It’s a very interesting listen, IT’S NOT A SONG, but it’s interesting to hear all of Nicki’s thoughts in her own words and voice.

In the end, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded is an overall great album.  While there are some songs that shine brighter than others, the record as a whole is one that should and will not be ignored.  What is interesting is that the record as a whole is truly a reflection of the cover art, how the cover art is extremely colorful (representing Nicki’s different personas and song styles) and the mix of Nicki’s also serious expression, which demonstrates Nicki’s ambition to win, as well as a clear representation of the first half of Nicki’s CD, her mixtape side.  Mixtape Nicki and Pop Nicki can for sure live in the same space, and that is how it is going to be… And I love it.

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