House of Hawthorne

Roman’s Revenge

Posted on: February 22, 2011

I recently started listening to the debut album from Nicki Minaj.  As a big Jay-Z and Kanye West fan, I was blown away when she had the best verse on “Monster,” Jay-Z’s list of monsters notwithstanding.  I was really amped to hear the first song, “I’m The Best.”  I love song titles like that.

I got stuck on the second song, “Roman’s Revenge,” featuring Eminem.  The beat is sick, video-gamey, intense and sparse enough to give these two talents the room they need.  It’s a Swizz Beatz production, of course.  He’s a national treasure, I’ll say it.  There’s a specifically amazing part of the beat I listen to again every time I hear the song at 3:20.

Nicki Minaj’s verses are pretty awesome.  She’s apparently taking on Lil Kim, in her alter-ego, Roman Zolanski.  Whatever.  Of course two of the three or four female rappers that anybody even knows about have beef.  That’s cool, maybe Kim will sell some more albums as a result.  I really like the way Nicki Minaj rhymes, plays with concepts, and uses repetition – as Lil Wayne said, “‘Repetition is the father of learning.”  There’s something about the way that she calls herself the c-word that makes that word sound powerful and cool.

Listening to this song over and over as I have these last two days, and then replaying it for a friend, I’ve realized I’ve got some major problems with the Eminem verses.  It is great for Nicki Minaj to have a guest like Eminem on her album.  Apparently he turned down the first beat she sent him, but this beat you seriously can’t not rap on.

Reading hip-hop blogs, everyone is excited about this alter-ego concept.  Eminem goes full Slim Shady on the track, and it hurts my heart.  I can’t help it.  His verses make me sick to my stomach.  It’s super disappointing that the most popular female m.c. right now has a song on her debut album where a man says things like:

“Every last woman on Earth I’ll kill off
and I still wouldn’t fuck you, slut”

“So won’t be finished swallowing my wad
I ain’t finished blowing it, nice bra
hope it’ll fit a tough titty, bitch”

For real? Yikes!  To me, his verses are pretty much unlistenable.  Eminem is such a big deal, so you have to have him on your album if you can, but now you can’t release this as a radio single, really, because it’s so awful.  It’s maybe too weird to be radio-viable, anyway, but maybe if Eminem had pumped the brakes a little bit on this women-hating persona of his, it would have been a better song.

This song has been out since October, and this is obviously something that music critics have talked about already.  But like that Jim Gaffigan joke about the movie Heat, “I want to talk about it now!”

Not to mention the Eminem use of “no homo.”  I think the next post will be an exploration of the use of “no homo” in rap lyrics.  What’s the gayest thing a rapper has said only to cancel it out with “no homo”?  To be determined.

Welcome to the House of Hawthorne.


1 Response to "Roman’s Revenge"

BRAVA, what a debut!!! Although this post may be a few months old, “I want to talk about it now!” It’s sad that Nicki needs to bolster her debut with not just Eminem, like you said– but blatantly misogynist lyrics. Eminem is so talented and huge that sometimes it’s easy to get caught up and forget about these heinous woman-hating feelings of his. But he never fails to remind us. The real Slim Shady has stood up, it seems.

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