By: Martin Rand, III
Date: April 5,2012

The highly anticipated sophomore album from Nicki Minaj is finally here. Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded sets to destroy any notion that her overwhelmingly successful debut album, Pink Friday, was just beginners luck and truly establish Minaj as a mainstay in hip-hop. However, Minaj hits the common sophomore slump with this one.

Honestly, PF:RR is not a good album; and, I can say that because, in comparison to her debut, it doesn’t measure up. Everything that made PF great she went away from on PF:RR.

It relies on too many techno-inspired beats, too many gimmicky voices, too many features and not even lyrical content.

I take that back. Even though PF:RR has more features than PF, it’s not a hindrance to the album; however, the quality of the features are a hindrance. While PF featured Eminem, Kanye West and Will.I.Am, PF:RR has Cam’ron, 2Chainz and Beenie Man. Why? I don’t know. Neither of them add substance to the songs they’re featured on and bring the quality of the album further down than it would’ve been had they not been on it.

The best song on the album is “Champion,” which features Drake, Nas and Young Jeezy. Minaj gets semi-deep on her one verse trying to inspire up-and-coming girls. I guess to achieve their dreams? The overall message wasn’t exactly clear; but, then again, the message of the whole album isn’t clear either.

It really is confusing. The album is called Roman Reloaded, so I figure the majority of the songs would be starring Minaj’s crazy, delinquent alter ego Roman Zolanski (a la Eminem with The Slim Shady LP). It could’ve been great. Minaj could’ve expanded on the craziness of Roman, fleshing out the character a little more, while displaying the great lyricism that was on “Roman’s Revenge” from PF.

However, only the first six songs (which aren’t great in either content or performance) have Minaj rapping as him, while the rest of the album is full of Minaj love ballads and techno-club rapping.

At the end of the album, Minaj proclaims to be “the female weezy”(weezy being her boss/mentor Lil’ Wayne). Well, in a lot of ways, PF:RR proves this to true, and it’s not a good thing. She shows low lyrical ability, with little to no substance behind it; and, the only people that will like PF:RR are her die-hard fans, who could care less about quality as long as new music from her is coming through their speakers.

Sounds like “the female weezy” to me.

I really wanted to PF:RR to be great. Unfortunately, Minaj didn’t channel the same hunger and determination she had on her debut. As I mentioned earlier, it is common for an artist to make a great debut and then fall very short on their sophomore effort. The question now is, how will she come back from this? Will she continue down this path techno, dance, love songs; or will she get back to showcasing her rhyming skills and connecting more to her fans, which is how she got to this point in the first place?

Hopefully, she’ll choose the latter.

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Was “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded” a worthy successor to “Pink Friday”?
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