Pop goes the Rapper

Whoever said that rap and pop are like oil and water clearly hadn’t met Nicki Minaj. Far from it,Minaj manages to mix rap and pop like milk and chocolate

Written by Prajakta Hebbar | Published: June 2, 2012 1:56 am

Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded

Nicki Minaj

Universal

Rs 295,rating: ***1/2

Whoever said that rap and pop are like oil and water clearly hadn’t met Nicki Minaj. Far from it,Minaj manages to mix rap and pop like milk and chocolate — more like vodka and cranberry juice,in her case. Nicki drives down the lane of rap,with detours into pop and R&B,that too,with a Gaga-esque flourish.

Her second album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded has 19 tracks in it,and features many collaborations with various artists like Chainz,Lil Wayne,Drake,Young Jeezy and Chris Brown.

The album opens with her hit song Roman holiday which she had performed at the 54th Grammy awards earlier this year. The unfamiliar beats,combined with the whimsical lyrics,like,“I’m a lunatic and this can’t be cured with no elixir”,lend a funky undertone to the number. The next numbers Come on a cone and I am your leader (featuring Rick Ross and Cam’ron) are old school rap/R&B songs,with a ghetto-esqe feeling,complete with strong and catchy lyrics.

The next number Beez in the trap (featuring 2 Chainz) reminds one of Minaj’s mixtapes and old world hip-hop days,and is perfectly complimented by Chainz. Her next,Hov Lane is slightly unimaginative,with pop-and-lock type beats and a lot of cuss words. Roman holiday (featuring Lil Wayne) is more of a Wayne show than Minaj’s. With a bit of electronica and a lot of boom-pop beats,Minaj raps,“So I laugh at hopefuls/ ‘Nicki pop’/ Only thing that’s pop is my endorsement op/ F*** around and have to go and reinforce the gloc”.

Champion stands out from the crowded playlist as Minaj raps about her journey from struggle to success. The song also features hip-hop heavyweights Nas,Drake and Young Jeezy who add glamour to the number. In Right by my side,a smooth,easy track,Minaj sings a duet with Chris Brown,reminding us of an earlier Rihanna.

Another memorable track from the album is Marilyn Monroe,an introspective ballad that contemplates Minaj’s current stardom and she croons,“If you can’t handle my worst / You ain’t gettin’ my best / Is this how Marilyn Monroe felt”. Young forever is Minaj’s take on a power ballad but one which drifts into the genre of Brit pop.

Minaj fans won’t be disappointed with Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded,but the hard-core rap/R&B fans might need a little more convincing. So just slip the CD in,on a hot summer afternoon and let yourself be carried away into a world of bubble-gum and guns.

prajakta.hebbar@expressinida.com

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