Although a string of mediocre songs leaked ahead of time before the album tracklist was finalised, I still had hopes that this album would be incredibly strong, but the fact of the matter is, that Minaj’s rap half of the album isn’t nearly as lyrically on-point as Pink Friday, or her mixtapes that preceded the album, while the dance songs are mostly redundant and end up sounding like every other artist out at the moment only worse, failing to offer anything exciting or new. Album opener “Roman Holiday” would be an incredible song if it wasn’t for the cringe-worthy chorus, and “Whip It” ends up borrowing a verse out of the previously unreleased Nicki Minaj and Cassie track “Fuck U Silly”. But it’s not all bad, as the infectious “Va Va Voom”, “Pound The Alarm” and gritty “Champion” featuring Young Jeezy, Nas, and non-husband Drake end up saving the album from sophomore-slump hell.
What’s puzzling is that Nicki omits the buzz track “Roman in Moscow” calling the song “wack” when in reality, it’s better than half of the songs on the album. It might be a strong statement to say that Nicki has bought into her own hype for her second effort, but I still have hopes that a third album will be able to marry Minaj’s commercial and “bad-bitch” sides equally, without having to divide fans with a schizophrenic album full of filler.
As much as I like Nicki Minaj, this is extremely disappointing.
Key tracks: Champion, I Am Your Leader