Nicki Minaj – Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded The Re-Up

Nicki Minaj - Pink Friday Roman Reloaded - The Re-Up

Nicki Minaj’s cover for her album Pink Friday Roman Reloaded The Re-Up

Less than a year since the release of her super long feels-like-two-albums-on-one-CD release Pink Friday…Roman Reloaded, NOT a release of her first album Pink Friday, Nicki Minaj does do a re-release anyway which she has titled Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded The Re-Up, featuring a collection of new tracks in addition to the regular edition of the original album for a total of 27 songs on two CDs, plus a DVD of backstage concert footage. That’s a lot of Nicki!

The Re-Up is Nicki’s response to her critics who weren’t pleased at the pop-centric direction she took with half of the Roman Reloaded album, and the half that is the source of that album’s bigger hits. Even though the criticism began almost immediately after the release of Starships, the resulting tracks recorded by Nicki sound rushed and mandatory as if she’s doing them to fulfill a requirement. Even High School, the collaboration with Lil’Wayne, sounds weak compared to their normal output, both together and individually. Up In Flames reminds everyone of Nicki’s accomplishments. Her meetings with network executives and sold out concerts. She’s quick to remind us of her current position as the top female rapper in the biz today with references to “her sons”…and she reminds us over and over:

“All them bitches are my sons” –I’m Legit
“Hoes is my sons.” –I’m Legit
“These hoes my sons. I’m papa though.” –I Endorse These Strippers
“You my son, son.” –I Endorse These Strippers
“Girls is my sons.” –The Boys

While Nicki’s accomplishments have given her bragging rights and it’s the name of the game with rap music, The Re-Up is repetitive in telling rather than showing. She does prove that she hasn’t lost her abilities on the Moment 4 Life sibling Freedom, which shows off her rap chops while also offering one of the only instances of her singing on here, the other being a bridge in The Boys. Otherwise, Nicki passes the task of melodic-hook-singing on to others who are, without a doubt, not likely to upstage her. Cassie and Ciara were likely chosen purposely because of their rather bland vocal offerings, leaving Nicki as the star in each of her songs, even if the Ciara collaboration I’m Legit is the album’s winner, up there with the best of Roman Reloaded‘s rap half. However, her verse in I Endorse These Strippers is underwhelming compared to the contributions of rappers Tyga and Brinx.

The interesting thing about The Re-Up is that while it might be Nicki’s response to the haters, the album’s current hit Va Va Voom is a previously released pop song tacked on as the final track. So while Nicki is attempting to show everyone that she’s still got her head in the rap game, the fact that the album’s hit is a deluxe-edition track already made available earlier this year doesn’t bode well for what else the record has to offer. The bigger misstep is not having made the album available as a stand-alone EP a la The Fame Monster or Cannibal. Two Stars

Tracklisting
Disc 1: The Re-Up
1. Up In Flames
2. Freedom
3. Hell Yeah [featuring Parker]
4. High School [featuring Lil’Wayne]
5. I’m Legit [featuring Ciara]
6. I Endorse These Strippers [featuring Tyga & Brinx]
7. The Boys [featuring Cassie]
8. Va Va Voom

Disc 2: Roman Reloaded (see review here)
1. Roman Holiday
2. Come On A Cone
3. I Am Your Leader [featuring Cam’Ron & Rick Ross]
4. Beez In The Trap [featuring 2 Chainz]
5. HOV Lane
6. Roman Reloaded [featuring Lil’Wayne]
7. Champion [featuring Nas, Drake & Young Jeezy]
8. Right By My Side [featuring Chris Brown]
9. Sex In The Lounge [featuring Lil’Wayne & Bobby V]
10. Starships
11. Pound The Alarm
12. Whip It
13. Automatic
14. Beautiful Sinner
15. Marilyn Monroe
16. Young Forever
17. Fire Burns
18. Gun Shot [featuring Beenie Man]
19. Stupid Hoe

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