December 09, 2011 at 05:00 AM EST

Nicki Minaj, ”Roman in Moscow”
”Every trend, I introduce it,” brags Roman Zolanski, Nicki Minaj’s cartoonish alter ego, on her bombastic, siren-ringing teaser for the upcoming Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, due in February. And it’s true: If any woman can make rapping from the point of view of an angry gay man a ”thing,” it’s Minaj. BMelissa Maerz

Madonna, ”Masterpiece”
On this spare downtempo lullaby that recalls the haunting minimalism of mid-’90s experiments like ”Take a Bow” and ”Frozen,” Madonna lets her raw voice luxuriate in vulnerability and subtle sweetness. Her Madgesty’s 21st-century thaw is finally in full swing. B+Kyle Anderson

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