When you're accustomed to being the coolest attendee at everyone else's parties, hosting your own can be tricky. And so it goes for Nicki Minaj, whose guest verses have been the cherry atop 2010's hip-hop sundae. Fans hungry for a bigger helping of her twisted theatricality and deranged verses will be disappointed to find that her debut solo effort is watered down, sweetened up, and composed largely of Top 40 rap balladry and relationship lamentations. The two or three instances when she toughens up and lets loose are when she sounds most at home. On "Did It on 'Em," the best track here, she snickers cockily as a classically sinister, Bangladesh-produced beat twitches and builds: "All these bitches is my sons/And I'ma go and get some bibs for 'em/A couple formulas/Little pretty lids on 'em/If I had a dick, I would pull it out and piss on 'em." And you believe her. But the punch goes limp over the rest of the album. There's nothing particularly wrong with what Minaj has given us — her pipes are worthy of wide-ranging pop stardom — but the album is a misallocation of the talent and quirk that thrust her into the spotlight in the first place.