New Nicki Minaj album reloads pop

Story By: Frank Lopez, Rampage Reporter

Unless you’ve been living under a rock it’s difficult not to notice the popularity of rapper Nicki Minaj.

Her debut studio album, “Pink Friday,” released in 2011, with commercial success mounting her as one of the most popular female rappers.

Minaj exploded onto the mainstream and had teen girls (and a few housewives) singing along to her hit “Super Bass,” a catchy pop song featuring an edgy rap from Minaj.

Her second mainstream album, “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded,” is an attempt, says Minaj, to show she’s more than just a pop star.

Minaj is said to be the Lady Gaga of hip-hop and refers to herself as the “female Weezy,” but she’s an extravagant and talented entertainer in her own right. She’s proven herself to be a genius when it comes to making a hook and can rap with the arsenal of voices she uses. With her smooth but arrogant rap flows, her exaggerated bawling voice of her alter ego “Roman,” and her high Barbie voice, she provides lewd and extravagant lyrics.

Unfortunately, the album seems to be a transition into a musical work tended to be more radio friendly.

Minaj opens the album as one of her many alter egos in “Roman Holiday” in a high voice saying, “Take your medication Roman, take a short vacation Roman.” The song is layered with synthesizers, an electronic drumbeat and a variety of beam and beep sounds that give it a spacey vibe. The hook is catchy and she provides a solid rap, ending with her singing over a Christmas hymn.

The second track is better than the first, with the heavy hip-hop bass sound of “Come on a Cone” and medium tempo beat as Minaj raps arrogant and sexual lyrics over techno-club instrumentation in the chorus. She has no modesty when she says, “I’m not masturbatin’, but I’m feelin’ myself.”

Minaj collaborates with a number of hip-hop’s hottest artists, such as Lil Wayne, Drake, Chris Brown, and Nas. The heavy bass song, “I Am Your Leader” features heavy rap from Rick Ross and Cam’ron, while Minaj gives an eerie marching sound of a chorus.

“Beez in the Trap,” featuring rapper Chainz, is simple with a heavy electronic bass and has Minaj using her Barbie girl voice. This song exemplifies that Minaj possesses real rapping skills.

“Roman Reloaded,” featuring Minaj’s mentor, Lil’ Wayne, is a fast and heavy hip-hop song with the rhythm and energy for any dance club. Minaj confronts the notion of selling, saying, “guess I went commercial ‘cause I made a commercial.”

The album has catchy and interesting rap songs from Minaj and her collaborators, placing them in a very strong light. Minaj provides her sexual prowess, superfluous attitude and her larger than life stance, giving her an intriguing air.

“Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded” has 19 tracks and the first half is what really stands out. The first part of the album has intense and heavy rap songs, but the rest of the album showcases Minaj’s transition into a pop star.

The bubble gum pop of the radio single “Starships” is the epitome of Minaj’s transition into a pop star that has inspiring synth sounds with fantastical lyrical themes. The song was popular, but sounded like another pop anthem that Katy Perry or Rihanna would sing.

“Beautiful Sinner” has the sustained synth sound of a rave song and Minaj’s voice sounds exactly like Rihanna. This song may soon get radio play and will blend perfectly into the pop anthems already out there.

Nicki Minaj is still a fresh face in the world of pop music and she still has a chance to take her music in any direction she wants. She’s still providing great hooks with a number of hip-hop artists and proves she can provide fresh hip-hop songs, but it seems that she’s taken the route of another stereotypical female pop star.

Hopefully Minaj will keep it fresh with her upcoming music, but “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded” is just another mediocre pop album.