So, it isn't anything as predictable as Gurl, Nice Weave, but it's no less remarkable. And that's being modest. Indeed, everything about Nicki Minaj's sophomore album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, could be best described as groundbreaking. The title, the art, the sequencing: pure genius.
There are eleven pop gems, eight rap classics, and a Lil Kim dis so scathing I want to become a fly so I could watch her reaction when she first hears it. There are, in all, nineteen songs I now consider among the best in hip-hop history.
There's a dozen guests doing their best to keep up with the rap goddess. Thankfully, you won't remember any of them. Nicki makes sure of it. Why, yes, by outrhyming everyone on every track. Exhibit A: "Champion" alongside Drake, Nas, and Young Jeezy, where Minaj schools those so-called emcees with a torrid fusion of eye-widening wordplay and ultracomplex Eminem-esque delivery. See also: "I Am Your Leader," in which she makes Cam'Ron sound like Rebecca Black.
What's more? Nicki's verbal dexterity has impressed so many artists across the board. Among them, the king of drip-stain painting, Jackson Pollock. Pollock was so enamored of Minaj's talent that he left the confines of his grave momentarily to design her album cover, thus making it the first hip-hop album cover designed by a zombie.
Everywhere you turn, there's evidence that Nicki Minaj is an indispensable genius, not only of hip-hop but contemporary music, period. Virtually everything she records bears the stamp of originality. Roman Reloaded is no different. Even when she's singing about farm implements (which she does a lot), or addressing inferior female dogs (which she does a lot), there's always an underlying sense of boundless ingenuity.
Nicki, through this album, has proved her mettle as a protean rhyme slinger with the innate ability to bend syllables in every way imaginable. Even what the casual ear might dismiss as arrant nonsense is, in fact, lyrical profundity masquerading as arrant nonsense. It's not not deep just because you don't get it.
Here's an example of Nicki Minaj's genius: "When I’m sittin' with Anna/ I'm really sittin' with Anna/ Ain't no metaphor or punchline, I'm really sittin' with Anna."
Another one: "Put my d-ck in your face." sung adorably off-kilter
One more: "Motherf--ker I’m me, who the f-ck is this [farm implement]?"
And for yet another example of Nicki Minaj's unparalleled songwriting, please consult album coda "Stupid Hoe" where she bursts through like some sort of lyrical juggernaut, leaving crushed detritus in her path. That song has been unfairly portrayed as evidence of Minaj's ineptitude in the mainstream media, mostly because of its record-breaking dislike tally on YouTube. Quite the contrary. "Stupid Hoe" is, in fact, Minaj in peak form -- compelling, utilitarian, vibrant, substance-filled, ambitious, melodic, consciously unconscious, bananas. And by the time it's over you'll forget to remember it. Which explains why so many fans accidentally disliked it on YouTube, making it the most accidentally disliked video in YouTube history.
The sole misstep on Roman Reloaded is that it merely offers a peek into the window of contemporary rap's greatest mind. And though it wears considerably thin at a mere 19 songs and 69 minutes, the concept doesn't. Nicki Minaj has conceived a masterpiece perfect enough to alter the landscape of hip-hop. Buy this album and put it in your soul.