Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded will propel Nicki Minaj further money-wise, but its factory-made, routine sound does not show her pushing for artistic growth. The sophomore album brings confusion to whether she strives to be a commercial success, an independent female rapper or a performance artist.
Despite being part of the album title, one of Nicki’s alter egos, Roman Zolanski (her angry side) is not featured enough to parallel the bizarreness of her Grammys exorcism performance. Roman bursts forth on the first track, “Roman Holiday,” but as the album goes on, Roman, rapping and rawness fade. Perhaps if the album had fewer than 19 songs there would be more songs like her verse on Kanye West’s “Monster,” which best showcases her fierceness, alter egos and flow altogether.
The beats on the album sound like retired generic club songs that disappoint after the drop and do not reflect the aggressiveness that makes Nicki’s style so unique. “Stupid Hoe” shows potential at first with an eccentric beat and more easily-flowing verses but the hook’s obnoxious repetition of the title phrase leaves the listener glad that it is the last track of the album.
Even though she is a member of the Young Money label and in “Stupid Hoe” claims to be the “female Weezy,” Nicki has not lived up to the witty flow of Lil Wayne. He is even featured on “Roman Reloaded,” further highlighting the difference in talents. What she should really focus on is not trying to be a different version of an already established rapper, but to create her own style and edit it to reveal her strengths. Although there will probably be plenty of pop hits for her on this album such as “Starship,” radio popularity is not evidence that she can stand alone as a strong female rapper.