Nicki Minaj – Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded

Nicki Minaj is one of music’s most polarising artists, perpetually dividing with her offerings. Some critics have praised her unconventional take on rapping – an approach which has also been ridiculed by others. Regardless of critics’ opinions on Minaj, the rapper has experienced a meteoric rise to fame since releasing her debut album _Pink Friday_ in November 2011. After numerous singles, which experienced moderate success, Minaj struck gold with _Super Bass_, a track which became a global success last summer, and inevitably became one of the best selling singles of the year. As Minaj prepared to release her sophomore album, _Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded_, the rapper ensured that there was a high level of media coverage surrounding her. Minaj released two buzz singles:_ Roman in Moscow_ and _Stupid Hoe_, the latter of which soon broke the record for most YouTube hits in a day. Furthermore, Minaj performed alongside Madonna and M.I.A. at this year’s Super Bowl (XLVI), and, of course, lead single _Starships_ became an international success, despite the lack of an accompanying music video. By the time that _Reloaded_ was released on April 2nd, Minaj had a staggering amount of publicity around her.

_Reloaded_ is certainly different to the rapper’s debut offering, seeing Minaj trying to please all audiences. Whilst the hip-hop infused first half harks back to Minaj’s pre-fame, mixtape days (_Sucker Free, Beam Me Up Scotty_), the latter half of the LP is dance-pop, a style which we have come to expect in recent months. Whilst the album may not be a perfect cohesion, the eclectic tracks ensure that the songs refrain from sounding the same; there’s even a mid-tempo ballad in there (_Marilyn Monroe_)! Sure, the album hits low points at times, but at 23 tracks long, which record wouldn’t? The album will most likely divide critics once more, but this time, Minaj may divide her fan base. Whilst attempting to include music that covers numerous genres, the LP could in fact have the effect of attracting those who are intrigued by her dance-pop recordings, yet isolating those who were initially captivated by Minaj’s mixtapes. Regardless of this, however, there are tracks on the record which are sure-fire hits, particularly as we enter the summer months. As Minaj continues to push the envelope and break records for female rap (she recently achieved the highest-charting female rap song in history in the United Kingdom), _Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded_ is sure to assist in establishing Minaj as an artist at the forefront of contemporary music.

**Highlights include:**

_Va Va Voom_ – Easily this year’s _Super Bass_. Despite being one of the closing tracks on the deluxe edition, _Va Va Voom_, a song initially planned as one of the album’s lead singles, is evidently one of the album’s highlights. ‘I wanna give you one last option / I wanna give you one last chance / If you’re looking for the main attraction / Then hold on tight and let me do my dance’, Minaj sings, paving the way into one of her catchiest choruses to date.

_Beez in the Trap_ – One of the standout tracks on the hip-hop half of the album. Echoing Minaj’s mixtape days (_I Get Crazy, Kill Da DJ_), _Beez in the Trap_ features less aggressive vocals placed over a hypnotic beat, with an appearance from American rapper 2 Chainz. Lyrically, Minaj discusses her musical dominance, rapping ‘It’s Delaware, Connecticut, it’s New Jersey, got hella bricks / It’s Queens, Brooklyn and yeah they’re wildin’ / Bronx, Harlem and Staten Island’.

_Starships_ – The album’s lead single. Since its release on Valentine’s Day, dance-pop track _Starships_ has led Minaj to global success, peaking at No. 5 on the United States’s iconic Billboard Hot 100 chart, whilst reaching No.2 in the United Kingdom, where it became not only Minaj’s highest charting single, but also the most successful female rap single in history.

_Pound the Alarm_ – A standout track in the dance-influenced latter half of the LP. Similar to _Starships_ in many ways, _Pound the Alarm_ will undoubtedly become a club anthem if it’s ever to be released as a single, featuring Minaj singing ‘I wanna do it for the night, night / So get me now, and knock this over / I wanna do it like you like, like / Come get me baby, we’re not getting younger’.

Other highlights include _HOV Lane, Whip It_, and _Turn Me On_.


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