Chances are, your first response upon listening to Nicki Minaj’s “Roman in Moscow”—the first leak from Nicki’s upcoming Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, supposedly done entirely under the guise of Nicki’s titular gay male alter-ego—was not one of disappointment that she didn’t really seem to rap that hard over the beat. Nonetheless, Nicki/Roman have redoubled their already formidable Going In efforts, over an impossibly frenetic beat, resulting in what easily ranks as the most maniacal track in all of Nicki’s never-particularly-grounded discography.
Much of the credit for goes to the song’s producer—listed on some sites as “T. Dunham,” though it sure as hell sounds like a Swizz Beats production. Even by Swizz Beats standards—and dude has produced some freakin’ nutso kitchen-sink beats in his time—this beat is some next-level shit, a pounding, blaring, just full-on assault on anybody who would dare consider getting distracted while the song plays. Whistles, whoops, sirens, handclaps, all at about 150 BPM—it has less to do with “Super Bass” and “Your Love” than it does with hyperactive electronic subgenres like happy hardcore and drill n bass.
Unsurprisingly, Nicki is up to the beat’s challenge. She’s still rapping as Roman (“My name is Roman, last name is Zolanski / But no relation to Roman Polanski”), but Roman is basically just a super-amped-up Nicki—pissing on bitches, telling them to suck his diznick, claiming that “all these bitches are my sons / and I don’t want custody.” A properly stoked Nicki is always a good thing, and it’s a considerable joy to hear her boasting of being Angelina to your Jen (“Come on, bitch, you see where Brad at???“) and shipping platinum while “them bitches are shipping wood.” Even some of Nicki’s quirks that have been grating in recent appearances—stretching one syllable over several measures, adapting a foreign accent for no reason—sound an appropriate part of the spazzy melange here.
Like “Roman in Moscow” before it, it seems unlikely “Stupid Hoe” would be a single—if the American public can’t even accept a single as busy as Beyoncé’s “Countdown,” a dirty bomb like “Hoe” doesn’t stand a chance—but damn, the fans are gonna eat this up, as well they should. Not even impossible-to-please mentor Lil Wayne could say that Nicki wasn’t giving his/her all on this one.