There is no female rapper like Nicki Minaj currently on the planet. If there is, she's been hiding herself rather well. This is because, for one, Minaj doesn’t restrict herself to rap. She’s versatile enough to cross over into pop, soul, even R & B, and brave enough to showcase all of these and other sides in her music. The downside to this approach, naturally, is she makes fans of one genre happy at the risk of annoying others. Fans of all genres buy her music though, so she still wins.
Roman Reloaded reprises her alter ego Roman Zolanski but, this time, Minaj also plays Roman’s mother on the chorus. It’s not a performance in the league of what she put down on Kanye West’s Monster two years ago — few cameos have been as powerful — but it’s a hint of where she wants the rest of her sophomore album to go. And so, she jumps from rap (Come on a Cone) to pop (Starships) within minutes, cramming everything from disco to a smattering of electronica (Beez in the Trap) in between. It makes for an album that’s maddening, yet exhilarating at the same time.
There’s no point highlighting tracks that work and ones that don’t. Nicki Minaj knows she needs crossover appeal to earn a living, but she’s not afraid to take risks either. Rap needs more women like her.
— Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, Nicki Minaj, Universal, Rs 295. Available at leading music stores