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Nicki Minaj’s ‘Roman Holiday’ Doubles Up in Streams Following Revived Grammys Controversy

todayFebruary 16, 2023 3

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Has Roman finally gotten revenge? “Roman Holiday,” the lead track from Nicki Minaj’s 2012 sophomore album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, has gone viral and climbed back onto streaming charts, nearly doubling its weekly streaming total thanks to recent fan outcries following the Grammy Awards earlier this month.

For their performance of their No. 1 smash “Unholy” at this year’s Grammys, Sam Smith and Kim Petras leaned into devilish imagery, complete with horns and red leather. Barbz were quick to hop online and point out that Minaj had earned criticism for her 2012 Grammys performance of “Roman Holiday,” which had a similarly winking demonic slant but was latter panned by conservative watch groups and longtime Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich, who called it “a disappointment both in terms of what we did and to an extent what she did.”

For Minaj diehards, the rapper seemingly being punished for her performance over a decade ago — Minaj has yet to return to the Grammys stage since the “Roman Holiday” spectacle, and has yet to win a Grammy, despite 10 career nominations — while Smith and Petras were lauded for their “Unholy” showcase, and soon awarded the best pop duo/vocal performance during the telecast, represented hypocrisy from the Recording Academy. (In the days following their own Grammys performance, Smith and Petras were also criticized, although the Recording Academy has not publicly dinged them.)

As a result, her fans began streaming “Roman Holiday,” and the non-single from Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded crashed the iTunes Chart 11 years after its release.

Weekly U.S. on-demand streams for “Roman Holiday” were up 99% during the week following this year’s Grammys, earning 125,000 streams during the week ending Feb. 9, according to Luminate. It also saw a tremendous jump in sales, going from a negligible weekly number to nearly 6,000 for the week. This isn’t the first time that “Roman Holiday” has gone viral — TikTok is full of sped-up versions of the track, dating back mostly to 2021 — but this time the resurgence is producing a sizable bump in listenership.

“Roman Holiday” never reached the Hot 100 upon its release, although Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded did spin off hits like “Starships,” “Pound the Alarm” and “Va Va Boom.” Last year, Minaj reached the top of the Hot 100 for the first time as a solo artist, thanks to “Super Freaky Girl.”

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Harry Styles, Beyonce & More: 2023 Grammy Awards’ Big Gainers in Streams & Sales

Following the 65th Grammy Awards Feb. 5, multiple songs, albums and artists show sizable surges in U.S. streams and sales, equating to gains on Billboard charts dated Feb. 18. Related Sam Smith & Kim Petras' 'Unholy' Grammys Performance Deemed 'Satanic' & 'Evil'… 02/16/2023 Among the most impactful: Sam Smith and Kim Petras’ “Unholy,” which lifts 5-4 on the multi-metric Billboard Hot 100 after being performed during the ceremony (broadcast on […]

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