Music Review: “Roman Reloaded”
Nicki Minaj’s “Roman Reloaded.” Photo Credit: Universal Republic Records.
I’m expecting a lot of gay backlash for this review, and that’s okay. I understand and welcome the comments and disagreement. I just hope that I don’t receive any death threats, although that would make me feel very important. Here we go:
I. Don’t. Like. Nicki. Minaj’s. New. Album.
Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let me tell you why.
Many people lament that society holds artists like Nicki Minaj up to a higher standard because they are female. I hold Nicki Minaj up to a higher standard because I’ve heard her speak on several interviews, and she seems more intelligent than her male contemporaries. Although, unfortunately with the unnecessarily long nineteen track (seriously if you want to listen to the entire album in one sitting, you’re going to have to dedicate more than an hour) “Roman Reloaded” she fails to exhibit it.
If you read my Grammy review, I praised Minaj’s Grammy performance of “Roman Holiday” because unarguably, if nothing else, it got my attention. However, the song on the whole is quite annoying with the incessant chorus where Minaj’s british accent is nothing if not screeching. My ears were bleeding by the end. The same is true for “Come On A Cone.”
I’m just going to go out on a limb here and say that Nicki Minaj cannot sing well. Unfortunately, we are subjected to her feeble attempt to crossover into the pop market on several tracks including “Starships,” “Marilyn Monroe,” and “Beautiful Sinner.” The latter sounds like a rejected Madonna track that she wisely said no to. However, my least favorite song must go to “Beez in the Trap.” I don’t know if this is true, but it was explained to me by someone that the title is a metaphor for girls who live in “the hood” who cannot escape their surroundings due to their poor attitude. Frankly, if I had to hear this track on repeat, I’d be in a bad mood as well.
Side note: Several times in “Reloaded,” included in “Bees,” Minaj uses the same word to rhyme with another one. For example, she rhymes bitch with bitch, trap with trap, barbie with barbie, etc. Apparently she needs to go back to preschool and learn one does not do that in poetry (which rap is a form of), or at least to get a little more creativity.
Despite all of her missteps, Minaj has three tracks by which she deserves praise for. “HOV Lane,” “Roman Reloaded” (the title track), and “Stupid Hoe” all show what she knows how to do well and what she should continue to concentrate her efforts on in the future: rap. Before going out to a club, I create playlists that I listen to while getting ready to help put me in the mood for fun. The high energy and hard lyrics of the three songs are definitely now prominent features. With the invention of iTunes, if given the choice, I would just purchase those three. You will save yourself a whole lot of time and money.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the entire album is a concentration on one of Minaj’s alter egos Roman Zolanski. As described, he is described as a bitchy gay boy who likes to tell it like it is, perhaps being used as a vehicle for Minaj. As supportive as she’s been to the LGBT community, if I sat and really analyzed it further, I don’t know how I feel having gay men stereotyped in such a way. However like this album, and Minaj at this point, I choose not to take it that seriously.
Justin Lowenhagen is a local news anchor, reporter, and actor. He graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in Dec. 2011 with a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism.
“You are mine” is about “one teenager dreaming about another, even though they’ll never be together.”December 16, 2015
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