Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded makes everyday a holiday

The 10th anniversary of Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded just passed. As the sequel to the 2010 triple-platinum Pink Friday, it’s time to remember that Roman Reloaded is Nicki’s best album. This was when she was still flirting it up with Drake and Lil Wayne, before she got engaged to Meek Mill, and definitely before she married the no-good Kenneth Petty. 

The album follows Nicki’s alter ego as Roman Zolanski, her irremovable male counterpart summoned from the hostility and conflict within her. Nicki and Roman have the duality of Kendrick Lamar’s alter ego as a Gemini, intensified. Her tone swings from her classic barbie-doll pretty to his exotic malice in syllables. Somewhere around the middle of the album, in all of the excitement, Nicki sort of forgets what the album is about, and the duality of her existence turns into a pop bash. I think this speaks to the authenticity of the album, though. Sometimes she’s Nicki and sometimes he’s Roman, and sometimes she’s just here for fun. As misunderstood as Roman is, the album shines light on Roman’s dark evil, questioning whether he really is evil in the first place. Yeah, it’s surprisingly deep. 

And, 10 years later, the fact that we’re still talking about the Queen is a testament to Nicki’s influence.

— Nick Bucciarelli

In “Come On A Cone”, Nicki raps, “In the middle of nowhere, I just feel so alone.” The bipolarity of the line is cleverly contradictory: she’s saying that she’s somewhere in between Nicki and Roman. But even though she’s surrounded by these vibrant personalities, she is not wholly one or the other; therefore she feels alone. 

The album has all the requirements of a 2012 disc: absolutely bopping electronic beats, the essential 2 Chainz feature, and a hit (“Starships”) which, ironically, is timeless because it sounds so perfectly 2010s. Roman Reloaded has got all the stuff you didn’t know you wanted, but now do. Heck, Nicki even names her Rolls Royce Ghost  “Casper” 6 years before Takeoff famously did. 

The intermittent cuts of EDM instrumentals, arranged in the album with intricate randomness, are the most necessary part of the album, giving it its messy and spontaneous feel. The vigorous bars of “Roman Holiday” shift to the ad-lib style gibberish of “Whip It”, which rivals that of “Mi Mi Mi” by Serebro. It’s this boastful indecisiveness between pop and rap that makes the album so powerful. There’s a thin line between banging confidence and transparent insecurity, and Nicki balances on it like it’s a tightrope.

Notable songs in the album include “Roman Holiday”, “Beez In The Trap”, “Beautiful Sinner” and “Pound The Alarm”. The “Fireman”-esque electronic beat in “Pound the Alarm” is thrilling evidence of Nicki’s Young Money roots with Lil Wayne. In fact, a lot of the beats sound like prior Wayne beats. The album’s ninth track, “Sex in the Lounge”, sounds like the instrumentals to Wayne songs “Bill Gates” and “Blunt Blowin’” mixed together. Even “Starships” sounds a little like “How to Love”. I think this is just a testament to Wayne’s influence. 

And, 10 years later, the fact that we’re still talking about the Queen is a testament to Nicki’s influence. I mean, name another album that leaves you with pink as your new favorite color. She’s the definite heir to the Wayne throne. Now, the only thing uncertain is to whom she will leave it.