Nikki Minaj: Why I am Not a Fan… At Least Not Yet.


Nikki Minaj intrigues me.  As a lyricist, her flow is well— for lack of a better term—animated and her features are catchy if not complex, but as a pop-culture spectacle she is the gift that keeps giving.  Lyrical prowess notwithstanding, her Jessica Rabbit like proportions, innuendo laden stage name, avant garde meets lady of the night fashion sense, and tendency to contort her face into exaggerated comical expressions has a lot of people asking, who is this chick? Where did she come from? And can we send her back?

My girlfriends and I were discussing Ms. Minaj this past weekend and the general consensus was Nikki Minaj equals enemy to all womanhood.  Granted, we are all part of the damn near thirty and over set and perhaps we are hopelessly out of touch.  However, as much as I want to like Nikki Minaj; I am still not a fan.  Yet, the motivations for my dislike were not immediately obvious.  

I thought at first I found her unseemly or common, but I remain a huge fan of Like Kim’ and Foxy Brown till this day and you cannot get too much nastier than the Queen Bee and the Ill Na Na.  In fact, I can remember being mortified in the ninth grade upon having my mom make me return the first Junior M.A.F.I.A. album  because of the lyrics.  Furthermore, I had the February 1997 Source Magazine with Kim—sans surgery—and Fox sharing the cover in matching pancake make-up and white tees, respectively.  Ogling the camera with their best come hither look, the rappers were set against a sprite green background, the cover asking the question, “Sex and HipHop: Harlots or Heroines?”

Foxy and Kim asserted agency over their sexuality and for a while excelled economically, if not lyrically, in the testosterone-driven, male dominated world of hip-hop.  Their aggressive marketing of their sexuality and use of their bodies to appropriate the hip-hop vixen as “brand” made them a sharp contrast to the Queen Latifah, Monie Love, and MC Lyte set.   Kim and Foxy set the precedent for the sexy female rapper, for better or worst.  For the most part, since Foxy and Kim, female rappers have had to utilize this “sex sells” model to breakthrough.  The obvious exception would be Lauryn Hill—who is much to my despair still M.I.A.   

With Lil’ Kim dancing with the stars and Foxy Brown and Remy  Ma dealing with ever mounting legal troubles, hip-hop’s estrogen level was nearly depleted, before Nikki Minaj came on the scene.  Of course, we did have the Diamond Princess “Trina”, not to be confused with Diamond and Princess of Crime Mobb fame as well as a few others; I’m sure.  Nevertheless, Minaj appears to be the hottest chick in the game, as it stands.  Does anyone know when Remy is getting out?

Minaj clearly pays homage to Kim and Foxy in her image cultivation, however, her attempts to mimic and appropriate feel very inauthentic to me.  Kim and Foxy were raw and unhinged on their tracks and in their early work there was a certain authenticity to their narrative—arguably because Biggie and Jay-z penned much of this material back in the day.  Minaj instead appears celluloid like the “Harajuku Barbie” she purports to be. For instance, when Minaj makes allusions to being a bi-sexual on Usher’s Lil Freak; it appears to be purely for shock value.  I compare it to straight girls kissing and gyrating on each other on in the club; clearly they are doing it for attention.  Guess what?  In both cases, it works. However, Minaj’s persona may have real world consequences as the 106 and Park crowd are clearly her demographic.  In contrast to my sister friends, my teenage nieces love her and this is more than a little troubling.  I worry that they lack the critical thinking skills at such a young age to deconstruct Minaj’s image from Minaj the person.  Moreover, I do not think she is to be emulated with her lyrics heavily referencing sex and violence.  Minaj is no role-model for young girls, but her imaging is carefully candy wrapped for their consumption.

After much consideration, I have figured out my problem with Nikki Minaj.  Essentially, I’ve become my mother.  This is the same argument my mother and I had about Lil’ Kim 15 years ago.  In the same way my mother believed Lil’ Kim was a raunchy, tasteless prostitute, I worry that Nikki Minaj is a bad influence on young girls with her gumball aesthetic and wild child antics.  It occurs to me that at fifteen I was able to like Lil’ Kim without wanting “to be” like Lil’ Kim. I can only hope the same is true for my nieces. 

 Discuss.

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8 Comments

  1. Nicki Minaj is clearly manufactured and scares the heck out of my wife, who is a Lauryn Hill and MC Lyte disciple and a high school counselor. So she she sees the impact of this everyday. Ironically, my wife attended high school with Nicki’s mentor, Lil Wayne (she’s a few years older), which irks her even more. We have this “where are the female rappers” discussion often and she, too, wonders what happened with Remy Ma.

    Check this out:
    http://thimk.wordpress.com/2009/04/19/females-can-rock-the-mic-too/

    • Unfortunately, we lost Remy to the good ole American legal system. Per Wikipedia: Remy Ma is serving her eight-year term at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women in Bedford Hills, New York located in Westchester County and is expecting to be released in early 2013.

      What can we take from all this? Don’t shoot your friends… even if you catch them rifling through your purse. Crime, in fact, does not pay.

      In terms of female rappers, I always wondered why Jean Grae’s career never went mainstream. Any thoughts there?

      Despite the current deficit, I believe that this may be the perfect cultural moment for a female rapper resurgence. Here’s Hoping!

  2. […] as Black video vixens are surgically manipulating their bodies to become Black Barbies.  Nicki Minaj—self-proclaimed— Harajuku Barbie is an immediate example of this ironic […]

  3. […] 5, 2010 by Bohemian Comedian I am about to admit a very painful truth.  I am now a Nicki Minaj fan and I have probably always been ***hangs head low in knowing embarrassment***. My girl crush on […]

  4. I try not to like her either, but when you dominate the airwaves, your voice is constantly being heard and it seeps into one’s subconscious. In my opinion, she is the female version of Busta Rhymes. All animated and can switch her flow up so effortlessly.

    • @varristy — Young Nickster can’t flow with Busta on her best day — but SHE nice. I was such a hip-hop head in high-school it was disgusting. Only one in my all girl catholic school whose senior quote off the Nas Illmatic album and who wrote out all the lyrics to the 36 chamber album…wowzers I was a nerd. smh.

  5. That’s real. I respect that. We definitely grew up in a rare hip-hop era and I’m thankful for it

  6. I myself grew up on Kim & Foxy and I have love for female rappers overall. At first I tried giving Nicki a chance but being that I’ve been a Kim fan for 15yrs Nicki started to leave a sour taste in my mouth. Her mixtape work was kinda cool but the more she became known the more annoying she became. Her innocent girl routine, lies, contradictions, and constant subliminal Kim bashing was the final straw. As if it wasn’t already bad enough looking at her reminded me of a remixed Kim from early 2000. I can see why girls like her she’s bright and colorful and her lyrics are simple enough for a child to grasp. But just like many who are either reaching 30 or are there we’re simply not impressed. Why?? Because we’ve seen this before 15yrs ago. As Bohemian Comedian said she could like Kim without wanting to be her. Now in 2011 these girls and some woman are going out trying to look like, sound like Nicki. And don’t get me started on her crazy fans that make you hate her even more then I thought was possible. I can say for me that it’s not just her music I dislike but her disrespect to past females. I hate to keep going back to Kim but that’s a prime example. She’s dedicated more shots to Kim while using her signature style. It just reminds me of that one girl who hates your guts but wants to be you. Very “Single White Female”.


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