CD Reviews

Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, Taylor Allderdice, Savage Journey to the American Dream


Nicki Minaj Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (Young Money/Universal)

Once upon a time, Nicki Minaj was coined as the next great female rapper. Somewhere between her appearance on Kanye West’s “Monster” and the release of her debut album, Pink Friday, Minaj decided to become a pop star. She has sold a ton of records and become hip-hop’s version of Lady Gaga, but that cannot save her latest release, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, from toiling in an abysmally saturated pool of pop records. Suffice to say that “R.I.P. Nicki Minaj: The Rapper” is etched on a tombstone somewhere. After the sizzling collaboration with Nas, Drake and Young Jeezy on “Champion,” the entire album tailspins into another dimension. Roman Reloaded is roughly 75 percent singing; and not R&B singing. This is a straight cookie-cutter dance-pop album. From the drippy “Starships” to the corny “Fire Burns,” Nicki ditches what we loved about her and morphs into the Mrs. Frankenstein of pitiful pop songs. Hopefully somebody slaps her ego back to reality because this is a failure. ★☆☆☆☆


Wiz Khalifa Taylor Allderdice (Taylor Gang Music)

Knowing that fans weren’t pleased with Rolling Papers, Wiz Khalifa has decided to go back to his mix-tape roots with the Taylor Allderdice. Where Rolling Papers was a reach into the mainstream, Taylor Allderdice is an apology set to music as Wiz sticks to the formula that scored him a record deal in the first place. This is good old smoking music as Wiz and his marijuana rhymes float on top of smooth cuts such as “California” and “Mary 3x.” The Pittsburgh rapper also showcases an improved lyrical ability as he rocks over the head-snapping, Jake One-produced song, “The Grinder.” Wiz’s latest signees, Juicy J, Lola Monroe and Chevy Woods, represent for the family over a rowdy Lex Luger production on “The Code.” While these moments are great in their own right, the bread and butter for Khalifa is kicking potent rhymes that will give your ears a contact high. Now if only he can get his next album to sound like this. ★★★☆☆


Stalley Savage Journey to the American Dream (Maybach Music Group)

The latest artist to sign with Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group label is Ohio’s Stalley. The bearded MC has made a name for himself in the blog world thanks to his Midwestern trunk-rattling beats blended with his substantive rhymes. It’s hard to figure out if Stalley will make the transition from Internet to mainstream. But his latest mix tape, Savage Journey to the American Dream, certainly tests the waters. For the most part, Stalley remains true to his roots. Like his Lincoln Way Nights mix tape suggested, this is “Intelligent Bass Music.” The beats hit hard and the rhymes are solid as evidenced on songs such as “Live at Blossom” and the Curren$y-assisted “Hammers & Vogues.” He does seem a bit out of place when rhyming alongside his MMG cohorts on “BCGMMG” and on the Chad Hugo-produced “Everything New.” However, in the end, Stalley remains Stalley regardless of his major-label home. His final line on “Island Hopping” punctuates his state of mind: “I was underground then, still underground now, difference is I ain’t trying to be found.” ★★★☆☆



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