It’s unlikely that there’ll be another album released this year like Nicki Minaj’s Roman Reloaded.
For the first eight tracks, it’s the sharpest hip-hop album of the year. Then, following the pointless ‘Sex in the Lounge’, it stops being a hip-hop album and hits you with 4/4 chart thumper after 4/4 chart thumper (producers include RedOne, Dr. Luke and, on the way-beyond-average ‘Beautiful Sinner’, Alex da Kid). It’s effectively two albums in one, both aimed at a different side of Minaj’s fanbase, and with absolutely zero attempt to hide this intention or combine the two.
Roman Reloaded’s centre-piece is ‘Starships’, Minaj’s all-conquering single from earlier this year and the de facto follow-up to last year’s brilliant ‘Super Bass’. Opinions still seem to be out on ‘Starships’ – there’s people in FACT’s office that both love it and hate it – but it’s undoubtedly a Big Tune, and now, after what seems like months of delay, it has a video. Shot by Anthony Mandler (of ‘Bucky Done Gun’ and ‘Only Girl (In the World)’ fame) in Ohau, it’s unlikely to get banned any time soon, but it’s still pretty outrageous – crash a truck of pink poster paint into the set of the Vengaboys’ ‘Going to Ibiza’ and you’re half way there.