Nicki Minaj's "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded" LP Turns 11

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Nicki Minaj, Spotify
Revisiting Nicki’s commercially triumphant dance-pop era.

After the widespread success of her debut album, Pink Friday, Nicki Minaj capitalized on her expanding fanbase. Not only did she have a secure hold over Hip Hop heads, but she had also become a certified pop star as well. In 2012, she released her sophomore studio album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded. On the album, Nicki Minaj ventured deep into dance-pop, creating a diverse body of work unlike anything she’d ever done. 

Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded might have been initially seen as a gamble for Nicki, but its commercial success proved it was all worth it. Housing her many notable songs, including “Starships” and “Pound the Alarm,” Nicki excellently toed the line between multiple genres. It’s been 11 years since the album was released, but the project and its songs have remained fan favorites. With the release of Pink Friday 2 around the corner, it’s important to highlight this defining moment in Nicki Minaj’s illustrious discography.

All Aboard The Pink Friday Wagon

By the 2010s, Nicki Minaj had a firm grip on her Barbie moniker. With her debut mixtape, Playtime Is Over, she had already begun to gain fame as the “rapping Black Barbie.” In 2009, after the release of the Young Money Entertainment single “BedRock,” the title strongly began to stick. However, everything was taken up a notch with the release of Pink Friday in 2010. Nicki soon became synonymous with the moniker, and Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded kept the ball rolling. 

Embracing Dance-Pop

Although Pink Friday included pop, the genre was much more evident on Roman Reloaded. Jumping on the inescapable EDM and dance-pop wave of the early 2010s, Nicki enlisted several producers for the project. Notable dance producers involved in Roman Reloaded include David Guetta, RedOne, Alex P, and Carl Falk. However, Nicki also stayed close to her Hip Hop roots, recruiting the likes of Hit-Boy, T-Minus, and DJ Blackout.

The Two Sides Of Nicki Minaj

In line with striking a balance between her separate sounds, Nicki Minaj split the album into two. The album's first half was more Hip Hop leaning, while the second half was filled with party tracks. Many songs off Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded relished in mainstream success and still enjoy radio airplay over a decade later. Notably, Nicki’s alter-ego, Roman, also appeared on several tracks. However, the most prominent songs of the album were the dance-pop tracks.

The album’s lead single, “Starships,” was especially welcomed by many. The colorful, summery music video was shot in Hawaii and further helped to boost the song’s widespread appeal. The song subsequently won numerous awards, including the MTV Video Music Award for Best Female Video. “Starships” was a monster hit and peaked at the fifth spot on the Billboard Hot 100. Other singles released include the R&B-Hip Hop song “Right by My Side” featuring Chris Brown, “Beez in the Trap” featuring 2 Chainz, “Pound the Alarm,” and “Va Va Voom.” While none of these failed to match the success of “Starships,” they were widely appreciated by the fans. However, the genre inconsistencies with her single choices were frowned upon. 


Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded was met with a mixed reception from critics. Due to the popularity of the album, however, it’s become treasured among the rapper’s fans. The album debuted atop the Billboard 200 chart, signaling a newfound triumph for the rapper. Although it pushed the artist firmly further into the pop stratosphere, the album still had enough Hip Hop elements to keep Nicki highly respected as a lyricist. Minaj hasn’t returned to such a pop-centric body of work since, so it's imperative to recognize its importance. Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded was released when the world caught a dance-pop bug. Since then, she’s reverted to primarily Hip Hop but still borrows elements from other genres in her later works. That’s also why the album is worth celebrating—we may never get such a fun side to the Queen of Rap again.


About The Author
Demilade Phillips has been a Features Writer for HotNewHipHop since 2023. The self-proclaimed music fanatic deals with most things Hip Hop and RnB, while also covering film, television, and the entertainment industry at large. When he’s not working, the International Relations graduate is either binging anime, immersing himself in the underground EDM scene, or crafting up original pieces.