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

Young Money (2012)
By DAN WEISS  |  November 27, 2012
3.5 3.5 Stars

nicki_minaj_reloaded

Well, now it's official: the title of every record Nicki Minaj ever makes will include the title of every other record she's ever made. This box set contains a reissued Reloaded plus a 33-minute addendum, The Re-Up; the eight new tracks sound a lot more like the first album — where Minaj entered as a tough girly-girl who loves to sing pop songs as much as she loves to cut off heads — than the second one — where she pretended to be a manly-man who loves to have hits as much as he loves to tell people to suck his dick. No sexist Chris Brown or 2 Chainz on this thing, just that underrated woman-friendly rapper Lil Wayne (on "High School," a reunion as cute as the No Doubt–esque "Knockout" from his not-terrible Rebirth), plus girly-girl hit-makers Ciara and Cassie. And hey, is the closer "Va Va Voom" a rewrite of her excellent non-album David Guetta collab "Where Dem Girls At"? Score. Ciara's twisty hook on "I'm Legit" coupled with Nicki's "Pretty Boy Swag"-inspired delivery and background sirens is one highlight, as is the impossible "I Endorse These Strippers," a much goofier take on Nicki's cold, cryptic "Beez in the Trap" from way back in February. Special note to the freakazoids who think "Starships" killed hip-hop: the rapper who rhymes "fri-vo-lous" with "po-ly-ga-mist" is X-Acto sharp as ever. The original RomanReloaded was a grower; it turned out to be a thrilling album on purely musical terms even if the attitude and humanism got away from her. This is a comeback for the personality that reassures us she's at least somewhat in the new Justin Bieber video because she's tickled to be part of pop history and not just for the "female rapper perfume." Name-checking ramen noodles in the ghostly "Freedom" — where she exorcises a cost-benefit analysis of mega-fame — helps too.
  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, review, box set,  More more >
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