“Roman’s Revenge” poses as Nicki’s potential Pink Friday peak point, composed of a high profile feature from Eminem and the long-awaited lyrical response to Lil Kim. It’s a far departure from her June BET Awards speech where she appeared to be taking the high road and plead for her feminine counterparts to stick together. I guess if you’re going to reignite the forgotten feud you have to do it right and the leader of Barbies fairs well, stuttering and stopping at quick while dropping repeated knockout blows in Kim’s direction. Her metaphorical shots hit their mark, essentially obliterating the Queen Bee in one fell swoop and leaving no question on who the best pop-rap female emcee is, at least until Missy or Gwen Stefani decide to pick up a mics again. Still, it leaves listeners wondering where Nicki ranks in overall standing because for every high note she hits, they’re outmatched by slippery lines (“hang it up, plasma…,” “all my niggas get buck, overbite“) that leave a little discomfort during digestion.
Nicki may not be able to sustain a whole album by prescribing to the label’s manufactured approach, relying on sex appeal, pseudo accents, goofy facial expressions and one memorable sixteen every now and then. There’s no denying the panache of personality, yet the released material thus far hasn’t stuck or warranted more than one or two listens, making her destiny to be low on Cigs. Much like the oft-compared Busta, she may be better suited when paired up for feature spots that create room for her circus act instead because she’s fallen short on clearly carving out who she is on the mic and why she’s deserving of all the acclaim she receives. With 13 confirmed tracks, Pink Friday could see a litany of voice changes, but which one will truly be Nicki’s?
Salute: Mr. X