By J’na Jefferson
Oh, Onika Maraj…what happened to you? I have been here for you since your mixtape days; the days when you were good at what you did. I’ve been here for you since you started “Roman” and all those weird voices; albeit extremely odd, I still told myself that you were a great rapper. I’ve been here for you and watched you ditch that matted old wig for a bright pink one; still I held my tongue because I knew you were a wild one. HOWEVER… my tongue can’t be held anymore.
For those of you who do not know, Nicki Minaj’s second studio album was released on April 3, 2012. It is entitled Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, which is a continuation of the theme from her smash hit album from 2010: Pink Friday. If you are considering buying this album, take your $15 and go do something else with it… maybe see The Hunger Games again.
Nicki Minaj has SOLD OUT.
I like to believe that this fate occurred because of her most popular hit to-date “Super Bass.” With its catchy hook, mainstream/bubblegum sound, and you-can’t-rap-this-fast verses, “Super Bass” catapulted Miss Minaj to hip hop superstardom (and as I write the words “hip hop,” I’m chuckling). Since then, she’s shown up in every single song in just about every single genre (Madonna, Big Sean, Robin Thicke, Christina Aguilera), and the fame is getting to her head.
Her fashion sense was also a factor in her journey to selling out. Lest we forget the 2011 MTV VMA’s at which an entire children’s toy chest seemed to have exploded all over Minaj, or the 2012 Grammys at which Nicki was dressed as some sort of Mary Magdalene/“Little Red Riding Hood” hybrid… only to be outshined by her date, “The Pope” (who looked just as confused as everyone else in the world was).
A few singles were released before the full album, including “Roman in Moscow” (a continuation of Pink Friday’s “Roman’s Revenge”), and “Stupid H**.” The hook in the latter is deep and thought provoking; it mirrors such legendary pieces as “Imagine” by John Lennon. (I hope you know I’m joking, April Fool’s Day is still in the near past and I still have a few jokes up my sleeve.)
This album is not so much a collection of what Minaj has to offer as a “musician” (so many sarcastic quotations in this!), but more so, Roman Reloaded is a collection of random styles and genres of music that Nicki is still exploring to find out her sound. She has songs that sound like R&B (“Marilyn Monroe”, “Right by My Side”), songs that sound like she got advice from Katy Perry (“Starships”), and best believe there’s electronic (“Beautiful Sinner”).
But where is the hip hop? Good luck finding it.
Even though she has called on some famous pals to help her try to figure out her sound (Drake, Young Jeezy, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne), they provide lackluster cameos on an equally-as-lackluster sophomore effort.
Word of advice, Onika/ Nicki/Barbie/Roman/Martha/Plaxico/D’Brickashaw/Whoever you’re going by now-a-days. Don’t step out of your element. You always bring up how you were an underground rapper from Southside Jamaica, Queens and now you’re putting out THIS? What happened to you being the “baddest in the school, the baddest in the game?” I guess you dropped that mentality and those skills you had for a golden ticket to the mainstream pop music factory.
Stick to what you’re good at. Just because everyone likes when you do your crazy voices, it doesn’t mean you always have to do them.
Another thing, don’t you dare sing. Stop it. You are not a singer, yet you’re singing on almost every track. Autotune makes you sound decent, but where on your Wikipedia page does it list your occupation as “singer”? I heard your “riff” in “Gun Shot” from the new album and my eardrums might be occupying Wall Street.
End the madness Nicki. Please, for your fans that have been there since the beginning, and for the fans that have given up because they don’t think you can be “Beam Me Up Scotty” “Itty Bitty Piggy” Nicki (this includes me). Show us that you can still be the rapper you started off as, because it is way too soon to be getting comfortable.
ALBUM RATING: 5/10
LISTEN TO: ….well not much, but if I had to choose, I’d have to listen to “Roman Reloaded” the title track. It is reminiscent of “Did It On ‘Em” from Pink Friday.