Release Date: Nov 19, 2012
Record label: Universal Music
Genre(s): Pop, Rap, Contemporary R&B, Pop-Rap
Kicking her career off with an exciting but flawed debut (2009's Pink Friday) and a scattershot and safe sophomore release (2012's Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded), Young Money superstar Nicki Minaj continues to mess with her discography with this re-upping re-release, which tacks eight new tracks onto the front of her second album. Good news is, the too-pop Roman Reloaded now feels more balanced once this eight-track EP worth of material tips the scales, and if you missed the vicious-mixtape-Minaj that seemed like Foxy Brown crossed with anime, the Lil Wayne team-up "High School" restores faith with three-and-half minutes of driven, witty filth. The Re-Up comes on with such an anti-Roman, back-to-basics attitude that it slowly slithers up to the Wayne track, opening with a grind-meets-gospel cut "Up in Flames" ("I keep a sniper/I ain't talkin' 'bout Wesley") before the loopy meditation on fame called "Freedom" offers the listener a dreamy float in space.
In one of the most notable Hip Hop news bits of the year, Hot 97 radio personality Peter Rosenberg called out Nicki Minaj’s song “Starships” as “bullshit,” and said it wasn’t “real Hip Hop.” Lil Wayne pulled his Cash Money roster from the lineup as a result, but Rosenberg’s scathing critique echoed the feelings that other critics and fans had said for months. Listeners fell in love with the lyrical clinics that Nicki conducted alongside heavyweights like Eminem and Kanye West on “Roman’s Revenge” and “Monster,” but her sophomore disc, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, was filled with poppy Top 40 cuts. With Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded: The Re-Up, Nicki Minaj aims to grab those detractors back.
Nicki Minaj’s sophomore effort, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, was an obvious attempt to sate both the singer-rapper’s hip-hop and pop contingents, with hard-hitting collaborations with 2 Chainz and Rick Ross juxtaposed with Red One’s garish brand of Eurotrash. That bloated, disjointed mess was, perhaps, the result of gripes from genre purists that Minaj’s debut was too commercial, but the original Pink Friday was a competently crafted blend of rap and pop that, even when it skewed to one extreme or the other, did so with style and skill. Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded - The Re-Up appears to try to replicate that formula, and with predictably mixed results.
Features several new songs showcasing Minaj's impressive flow. Nick Levine 2012 Nicki Minaj could be accused of many things, but never stinginess. The Re-Up is a bumper 3-disc set featuring this year's Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded album, a DVD of promo videos and an EP of new tracks. It’s a classy alternative to the usual "deluxe" reissue, delivering new material between albums.