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Nicki Minaj
Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded
Released April 2, 2012
Format Digital download
Genre Progressive rap, pop rap, progressive rock, opera
Length 4:05
Label Young Money, Cash Money, Universal Republic
Writer Nicki Minaj
Larry Nacht
Safaree Samuels
Producer BlackOut
Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded track listing
"Roman Holiday" is track number 1.
Previous track
Next track
"Come on a Cone"

"Roman Holiday" is a song by Nicki Minaj, serving as the opening track to her sophomore studio album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, released originally on April 2, 2012. The song was first planned to be the third promotional single from Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded on February 12, 2012, but Nicki later decided to release "Roman Reloaded" instead.

Grammy Awards Performance

The song was first heard and performed at the 54th Grammy Awards on February 12, 2012. The performance begins with Minaj singing "Roman's Revenge" in her alter ego, Roman Zolanski while in a confessional along with a different chorus to the same song, one that was previously used in a leaked demo of the song. A title screen appears once Roman finishes singing the chorus with the words "The Exorcism of Roman". Two previously videotaped scenes playing: one showing Martha Zolanski thanking a priest for coming to see the troubled Roman and the other is conversation between the priest and Roman. The live performance and Roman Holiday soon begin as Roman is seen chained to a wooden board while hooded priests dance around him. He shortly breaks free, joins the others in dancing, and appears to pray for a brief second. Another priest, possibly one with more authority and power as he has different clothing than the others, begins an exorcism on Roman. After a couple moments, the priest falls back as Roman levitates. (The exorcism has failed for no one can change Roman from who he truly is.) The performance ends with Roman saying, "Mother, forgive me."  The chorus, "Take your medication, Roman...", sung by Martha, is voiced by Marissa Bregman.


Nicki Minaj Roman Holiday (The 54th Annual Grammy Awards 2012)



In response to her performance at the Grammys, Bill Donahue of the conservative watch group, The Catholic League, criticized the performance. "Whether Minaj is possessed is surely an open question, but what is not in doubt is the irresponsibility of The Recording Academy".[1] Choreographer Laurieann Gibson, however, said "'I personally chose to stay away from any religious moves. There were no crosses. There were no religious symbols. We made sure we were very respectable. The bishop was a symbolic figurehead. He was not [intended] in a negative light, but in a position of authority".[2]

Minaj told Ryan Seacrest "It's the most comfortable I've ever been onstage in my entire life."[3] She told radio station Power 105.1 "“(Roman Holiday) was my best performance ever and if everybody didn’t agree you can… That was my best performance ever, ever. But can I say something, I did a skit on my ‘Right Thru Me,’ I did a skit on ‘Moment 4 Life’ video, I did a fighting scene in my ‘Fly’ video. That was the skit for the ‘Roman Holiday’ video, it goes perfectly for the song, what don’t y’all understand?”[4]There were rumours that the Roman Holiday video will be with the 'Roman in Moscow' video.

Internet Revival and Memes

In 2018 "Roman Holiday" started to see heavy usage among Twitter and Instagram communities in memes. It is often paired with edited sped up videos for comedic effect. The part in Minaj's second verse in which Roman breathes erratically has been the focal point of the meme usage and created a massive new awareness of the song. As of early 2019, videos across Twitter using the song have amasses a total of over 20 million views. In May of 2019, the track started charting on the US Itunes Rap, Hip-hop, and overall charts.


Roman Holiday" received general acclaim from music critics. Jessica Hopper, from Spin, called the song "nearly flawless" and "pure theater, the closest hip-hop's gotten to its own Bohemian Rhapsody, full of thrilling crescendos and twitchy verses that verge on the ridiculous, but always shift toward the triumphant." She described the song as part of the "gratifying front end (of the album)" and dismissed "subsequent pop tracks as a paying of the piper": "The too-perfect, Dr. Luke-produced songs are her penance for sneaking deranged yodeling ode 'Roman Holiday' in there.

Jody Rosen of Rolling Stone, says "Nicki Minaj is a purist's nightmare. She doesn't just straddle pop categories, she dumps them in a Cuisinart, whips them to a frothy purée, then trains a guided missile at the whole mess." Al Fox of the BBC says of Minaj "Few artists in Minaj’s position would dare to take risks as bold as this," while citing "Roman Holiday" for its "Major-key, tap-along pop sensibilities; disquieting lyrical content; wide-eyed, over-pronounced Valley Girl patter; a reworking of O Come All Ye Faithful; shuddering, skeletal beats."All Music Guide lists "Roman Holiday" as a "Track Pick," while Rolling Stone, in its 4 Star review, names the song a "Key Track" on the album. In the week ending on May 16, 2019, the song received a 298% increase in streams (1.4 million streams), its biggest streaming week ever.



  • Recorded at: Conway Studios, Los Angeles CA
  • Mixed at: Conway Studios, Los Angeles CA


  • Writers: O. Maraj, W. Thomas, L. Nacht, S. Samuels
  • Producers: Blackout & Pink Friday Productions
  • Publishing Co: Harajuku Barbie Music/Money Mack Music/Songs of Universal, Inc. (BMI), The Blackout Legacy (ASCAP) Songsta Inc. (ASCAP) Money Mack Songs/Scaffboggs Music/Universal Tunes - A Division Of Universal Music, Inc. (SESAC)
  • Recorded by: Ariel Chobaz
  • Recording Assistant: Jon Sher
  • Mixed by: Ariel Chobaz
  • Mix Assistant: Jon Sher
  • Mastered by: Chris Athens
  • Additional Vocals: Marissa Bregman

The credits for "Roman Holiday" are adapted from the liner notes of Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded.


"Roman Holiday" upon the release of Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded debuted at number 78 on iTunes. It charted at 13 on the Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart.

Chart (2012) Peak
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard) 13



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