Track 7. “Champion” Feat. Drake, Young Jeezy and Nas
Sounds Like: A patient, drum-fueled march through Nicki’s past that allows three guests to do what they do best.
Pros: References to her early life carry more weight than any eye-popping experiment Roman could cook up for prime-time, and Nicki fills her first verse with heartfelt mentions of her late cousin Nicholas and all those who knew her before the public display of levitation. While somber, it’s a rare chance to experience some of the real Nicki, which tends to get lost between her aggressive delivery, overproduction and flair for the dramatic. Words about overcoming struggle give way to her three collaborators who hedge their respective opportunities to their personal advantage: Drake borrows lines from Jay-Z (“Money ain’t a thang”) and continues to promote Take Care (“They know!”), while Nas gives us a quick history of his 20+ year career (better recognize). But Young Jeezy wins all with this timely, if not a little tardy, sports reference: “Straight ballin’ in this bitch, Jeremy Lin. (Melo!)”
Cons: On this roster, Nicki’s the true supporting player. Her breathy vocals are never the most appealing, particularly on a song that’s not meant to lure you to the dance floor, nor a duet with Rihanna.
Roman Rating: 0/10. Our friend was clearly benched on this one.
WTF Moment?: We’ve been fully immersed in Linsanity since the beginning, but for all Celtics fans, or simply those who abstain from reading NBA headlines, Jeezy’s name-check of the Harvard grad could feel severely out of place.