Nicki Minaj has been her own best media relations agent, having built up to a debut album by doing guest vocals on what seems like a new album every week. The guest verses have built up hype; her verse on Usher’s “Lil Freak” demonstrated her ability to spit lyrics at a rate of fire rivaling an automatic weapon, and her addition to Rihanna’s “Raining Men” showed how she could flex her personality and funny bone. Unfortunately, the feature film doesn’t live up to the previews.
Much of the problem with “Pink Friday” is track selection and arrangement. The singles are disappointing in how dissimilar the lyrical content is from the erratic and entertaining verses that the pink-haired rapper warmed listeners up with in her guest tracks. “Right Thru Me” and “Your Love” are essentially hip-hop ballads, not sassy in the least.
In terms of arrangement, the album’s best tracks are located on the second half. By the time the listener gets to them, they’ve had to sit through the first half and aren’t in the mood.
“Roman’s Revenge” should theoretically highlight everything Minaj is good at. She fills the role of Roman Zolanski (an alter ego r) and raps with Eminem portraying his own alias, Slim Shady. The two normally gifted rappers can’t get a good vibe going, and the results are awkward.
Minaj returns to form on “Blazin’,” featuring Kanye West. West, not content to dominate the music charts this week with his own album, supplies an excellent verse to supplement Minaj’s cause. West’s flow apparently inspired Minaj because her contributions to the song are her best on the album.
Other late tracks, such as “Last Chance” and “Dear Old Nicki,” also stand out compared to album openers.
Minaj has the talent, that much is for sure, and listeners shouldn’t give up on her because her debut isn’t up to snuff. But they should expect better the second time around.