The Brooklyn-bred MC kicked off the buzzed-about spectacle belting out the opening lines of Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded track in a confession booth. After she confesses her sins, a short filmed dubbed “The Exorcism of Roman” played, and when she returned to the stage, she was strapped to a board, surrounded by religious icons, priests, monks and the like.
The theatrical performance was punctuated by the track’s thumping beat and soaring rap/sung portions by the always fierce Minaj. As the song began to wrap up, a priest stepped onto the stage and performed an exorcism on the pop star, who had broken free of her shackles during the song. Minaj was elevated off the stage through the power of prayer as the frenetic track closed out.
While Minaj’s dedicated Barbs know all about her alter ego, not all Grammy viewers might be familiar with Roman, the subject of her upcoming album release. In the sea ofMinaj personas , Roman stands out as the most zany. In fact, he was born from Minaj’s own anger, as the myth goes.
There is even a family of Zolanskis. Roman’s mother, Martha, is another person that Minaj fans are familiar with. The British femme makes an appearance in the “Moment 4 Life” video.
Roman’s appearance on Minaj’s tracks is hardly new. He once share a track with Eminem’s own alternate persona, Slim Shady, on the Pink Friday song “Roman’s Revenge.”
“Everybody knows my favorite alter ego is Roman,” she once told MTV News. “[He’s] bad. That’s why I like Roman. I think I started liking Roman more because everybody else starting like Roman, so he became my favorite. People are expecting him to do some real craziness on the next album.”
As she began to near the release of Roman Reloaded, she made it abundantly clear that she wanted him to be the star of her sophomore release. “And if you’re not familiar with Roman, then you will be familiar with him very soon,” she described him last year in the VMA press room. “He’s the boy that lives inside of me. He’s a lunatic and he’s gay, and he’ll be on there a lot.”
As for why Minaj decided to play up religion during her performance, she once shared that aspects of the album (due out in April) will focus on the rehabilitation of Roman.
“Well, he was there [in Moscow] secretly because [alter ego] Martha wanted him to go there,” Minaj told MTV News . “So they put him in this thing with monks and nuns; they were trying to rehabilitate him.”
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