April 2 2012: MUSIC: ‘Roman Reloaded’ sinks to new levels of indecency

Review by me and Angela Wang. Originally published http://elestoque.org/2012/04/02/uncategorized/music-pink-friday-roman-reloaded-sinks-levels-depravity/

Hip hop artist Nicki Minaj’s second album, “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded,” was released on April 2, two years after her first album debuted. Minaj’s experiments with new musical styles and lyrics shatter whatever illusion of artistry she previously held. Photo taken from Universal Republic Records.

When it comes to music, alter egos are nothing new. Eminem created Slim Shady to reveal his inner darkness, while Beyonce used Sasha Fierce to explore a new musical identity. Nicki Minaj, on the other hand, uses her alter ego, Roman Zolanski, as an excuse to include more profanity. Her finished product is a recycled rendition of everything that mainstream music has already overplayed.

“Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded,” is painful to listen to. It opens with “Roman Holiday,” which shows off Minaj’s fanatical Roman accent as well as an obnoxious beat and cheap-sounding instrumentation. Most of the other songs contain a mix of twitchy rapping and undecipherable vulgarity (“bang my shit bang”) to cover nonsensical lyrics.

To be fair, the lead single, “Starships,” wasn’t so bad. Minaj’s voice was autotuned beyond recognition, but the tune was catchy and she showed great restraint by rapping the F-word only nine times. However, the songs got progressively worse, culminating with “Roman Reloaded,” which shared the same rhythm and sound effects as “Stupid Hoe,” but somehow managed to be even more deplorable.

What makes “Roman Reloaded” such a blatant failure is Minaj’s inability to provide a cohesive identity. Her musical messages are contradictory and messy, dulling the edge of whatever musical intuition she has. Her pop melodies are less than stellar, and with them, she has compromised much of her originality; her album is clearly an aim to vie for the top spot on the charts, and not an artistic statement.

Credit should be given to Minaj for recording 19 tracks for “Roman Reloaded,” which makes her album a bargain content-wise. But in this case, more music means further ear damage. The only solace is that the music videos have not yet been released, so our eyes have been spared the trauma — at least for now.

{cc-by-nc-sa} Yimeng Han

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