Nicki Minaj (with Eminem) – Roman's Revenge

There’s some kind of high concept nonsense going on here, with Minaj foregrounding her Roman Zolanski alter-ego and Eminem doing his (homophobic, misogynistic) Slim Shady thing. The advantage of this – at least to this listener – is that it gives them the freedom to be wildly obnoxious and ferocious.

There’s obviously supposed to be some kind of story or point to the song but it’s basically a (comedic) exercise in rage – particularly during Eminem’s excellent raps. The object of his ire seems to be a woman, or all women, and his lyrics here invoke the Eminem of old. His best bit, however, comes at 2:15, where he sounds both otherworldly and oddly vulnerable – despite what he’s actually saying:

“The wor-world is my punchin’ bag and
If I’m garbage, you’re a bunch of maggots
Make that face, go, scrunch it up at me
Show me the target so I can lunge and attack it”

Minaj sounds fantastic, and fantastically confident, throughout, taunting her detractors and sticking the boot into (apparently) Li’l Kim. And there’s a great cop of Busta Rhyme’s (from A Tribe Called Quest’s Scenario) “raah, raah I’m a dungeon dragon” which is both silly and scary at the same time. The only sour note comes at the end where, playing the part of Martha Zolanski (Roman’s mother), she adopts a ludicrously bad British accent.

Produced by Swizz Beatz, the whole thing throbs and pulses with menace, its minimalism allowing room for Minaj and Eminem to force their personalities down our throats. Best played loud.


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About Paul Saxton

Follow me on Twitter if you like: @paulsaxton
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