The Score: "You Could Call Roman Reloaded Schizophrenic ..."

Tuesday, Apr 3, 2012 12:30PM

Written by J. Bachelor

Buy Now
  • Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded
  • Nicki Minaj
  • April 3, 2012
Pop Crush 4.5/5
The Grape Juice 4/5
Digital Spy 4/5
Slant Magazine 1.5/5
LA Times 2/4

Nicki Minaj's animated alter-ego Roman looks to claim vengeance on all critics and opponents, as the Queens rapper's long-awaited sophomore album, Pink Friday: Roman's Revenge makes its way into stores this Tuesday.

The follow-up to her multi-platinum selling debut 'Pink Friday', Revenge showcases Minaj bouncing between rap and pop again.

At her best, Nicki Minaj is, line for line, one of the wittiest, most creative rappers working today, either male or female. Her many personas and voices fly through her songs with joyful abandon, and she seems to be having so much fun astonishing us. On the first half of her second album, "Pink Friday ... Roman Reloaded," the Trinidadian American rapper from New York City offers repeated evidence of her talents, and she delivers funny, biting, bawdy lines and rhyming couplets with apparent glee.(LA Times)

Nicki calls in a few favors this go round, enlisting many of rap's heavy hitters to take part in the Revenge LP.

The first-half of the LP sounds great as the 29-year-old Harajuku Barbie proudly sits on her queenly throne and spits braggadocios rhymes to her detractors. Songs like 'I Am Your Leader' (Featuring Rick Ross & Cam'ron), 'Beez in the Trap' (Featuring 2 Chainz) and 'HOV Lane' will connect with fans wanting to hear the fiery Nicki from her underground days. There are a handful of standout tracks on the LP: The T-Minus-produced banger 'Champion' (Featuring Drake, Young Jeezy and Nas) is a bonafide hit that will garner instant rewinds just for Nas' lyrics alone. (Pop Crush)

The album's production features a slew of today's up and coming beat makers.

As far as production credits, producers such as Dr. Luke, Rico Beats, Alex Da Kid, Pop & Oak, RedOne, and Hit-Boy all land beats on the highly anticipated follow-up to 2010's Pink Friday.The standard version of her album will include 19 tracks, while the deluxe version adds three more tracks, making it 22 in all.(Baller Status)

In 2011, SOHH ran a story in which the Young Money femcee revealed that her goal this time around was to enjoy the album-making process in its entirety.

"Roman Reloaded is coming out Valentine's Day a.k.a. Romantime's Day. I had to go back and reassess and I realized that my Barbs, my core Team Minaj, they really have stood by my side and they miss mixtape Nicki and they miss crazy Nicki and so Roman basically escaped out," Minaj told radio host Tim Westwood. "He was in Moscow and now he's like, 'You know what, Nicki? Sit down, I wanna show you how to do this.' So I just let him run wild on Roman Reloaded. ... I have to say that I'm probably the happiest I've ever been, ever, in my career because I'm finally putting things into perspective and I really didn't have fun recording Pink Friday but I'm having fun recording Roman Reloaded because I'm just letting loose and I'm not overthinking things anymore."(Miss Info)

Critics are mixed on Nicki's latest release. Many agree that, although talented, Minaj gets lost in her own character this time, with results varying from either engaging to just downright dreadful.

Most of the songs are just too generic and referential to read as an extension of anyone's ego, alter or otherwise. Minaj seems to think that when she writes and performs a pop song, she has to exclude the warped humor and aggression of her rapping, but how much more interesting would it be to hear her (as Roman, or whatever) tear through a catalogue of recent pop clich├ęs with as much intention to mock as to imitate? When she isn't rapping, Minaj conveys no personality, not many, and her obsession with Barbie dolls and Disney princesses starts to look like a disappointingly accurate hunch about the extent of her own agency in the music industry.(Slant Magazine)
Roman Reloaded will most likely do well because music has become just another facet in Nicki Minaj's branding campaign, and in an economy where generating headlines, and Facebook updates/tweets/etc., is your most valuable commodity, it's no wonder that Nicki Minaj is a millionaire. I know while some will defend Roman Reloaded on the grounds that Nicki's using the album's extreme range to avoid being places in a "box", but ironically she's only boxed herself in further. Frankly, I'm not particularly interested in putting Nicki in any particular box, or taking her out of one. I'm really only interested in listening to music that I, well, enjoy listening to, and frankly I have no real interest in listening to Roman Reloaded again. In fact, I'll be actively avoiding it. You know, the same way you actively avoid crazy people on the street; just don't make eye contact and hope they don't notice you.(DJ Booth)

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