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CD review: Nicki Minaj’s ‘Pink Friday … Roman Reloaded’

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Shea Serrano

The Details

Nicki Minaj
Pink Friday ... Roman Reloaded
Two and a half stars

Compromise can be fine sometimes, but it can also be brutal. On Pink Friday … Roman Reloaded, Nicki Minaj’s follow up to 2010’s Pink Friday, it’s the brutal kind and in the most disappointing sense possible, which is to say that it stood at the precipice of brilliance and then withered back into itself. The short: Roman is Minaj’s alter ego, a genius cuckoo bird built for the bombastic. And on the first third or so of the album, he’s allowed to roam free. The dynamic opener “Roman Holiday,” the accidentalism of “Come on a Cone,” the dick measuring of “I Am Your Leader,” the minimalism of “Beez in the Trap,” even the sonic boom of “Stupid Hoe”—all inspired, creative music. Everything after that? Blah. Roman is absent, medicated heavily and put to sleep. It’s a regression to swings at surefire pop hits (“Sex in the Lounge”) and trite platitudes (“Marilyn Monroe”). Nicki Minaj has earned herself a seat among the best rappers on the planet. Few possess her natural ability, fewer still her force of spirit. Which is why it’s so devastating to watch things unravel. Compromise. The brutal kind.

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