Nicki Minaj's Roman Reloaded Was Initially Hard-Core Rap

But the pop-heavy LP is 'a lot better than how we planned,' Nicki's pal-turned-co-executive producer Safaree 'SB' Samuels tells MTV News.

Nicki Minaj's right-hand man Safaree "SB" Samuels took on another role for his longtime friend when he signed on as a co-executive producer on her sophomore album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded. When MTV News caught up with SB, he explained how he made sure everything from "A to Z was done."

Samuels said his tasks on the project included scouting for beats and keeping in touch with producers to make sure deadlines were met. When asked how he helped Nicki to strike a balance between hip-hop and pop, SB revealed that the album was initially skewed toward rap.

"In the beginning, we was gonna make it some rap spittin' sh-- and it was going to have a couple of songs that were going to be the 'Super Bass'-es and joints like that," he revealed. "But it ended up working out a lot better than how we planned."

SB went on to gush about working with Hit Boy, whose production highlights include Jay-Z and Kanye West's "N---as in Paris." After hearing just one beat, both Nicki and SB thought "We need more!" Hit Boy sent around six great beats, and they decided on two for the songs "Come on a Cone" and "I Am Your Leader," which features Cam'ron and Rick Ross. (Incidentally, those are both SB's favorites on the album.)

But on the topic of crossover appeal and whether Nicki has deserted her rap roots, SB couldn't disagree more.

"She's still doing her rap sh--, she's still doing her crossover sh--," he said. "When you a star, you a star. You can't deny it."

Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded debuted at #1 this week, selling 253,000 copies in its first week on the Billboard albums chart. Nicki's debut, Pink Friday, debuted at #2 in December 2010 on sales of 375,000.

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