Monday, January 24, 2011

Defending Nicki Minaj

I love Nicki Minaj. I don't expect anyone to feel as passionately about her as I do, but I despise folks that have already passed judgement without giving her a fair shot. I think "I'm a pull it out and piss on'em". Not only do I think Nicki is brilliant, but I think she's the closest thing we've seen to a complete rapper since Big Daddy Kane. She's lyrical, charismatic, conscious, a hit maker, gorgeous, and a marketing genius that gets the big picture (she launched her own lip gloss alongside her album). Not to mention controversial. She's divided the community, and that's the stuff legends are made of.

There are few rappers, if any, in the history of our genre that have possessed all those qualities. For example, Talib is both lyrical and conscious, but he's not very charismatic; nor is he a hit maker. As much of a sex symbol as 50 may have been, I doubt fans viewed him to be a lyricist the caliber of Jay-Z or Eminem. So when compounded by the fact that she's the 1st relevant female in almost a decade, her accomplishments are even more impressive. "I dare you: Bambi" find ANY artist who can say they've not only kept up with, but oftentimes outshined Hip-Hop's current royalty from Jay-Z to Kanye to Eminem to her Young Money cohorts, Weezy and Drake.

So my buddy over at blaiseitup seems to question Nicki's debut effort. She says "production on Pink Friday is lackluster at best, the album lacks cohesion, and more importantly, I don’t feel like I know anything more about her besides that she likes to make faces, has multiple personalities, and uses way too many subliminal jabs".

Although I disagree, she's entitled to her opinion on the album's production. However, the argument that Pink Friday lacks cohesion is bewildering. From the opening track "I'm The Best", Nicki sets the tone with conscious fueled lyrics like "I'm fighting for the girls that never thought they could win/cause before they could begin, you told them it was the end/ But I am here to reverse the curse they live in". More importantly, it's reinforced throughout the entire album. Whether it's "Fly", "Save Me" or "Dear Old Nicki" she continually tells the story of a female overcoming societal stereotypes, Hip-Hop's misogyny, and the pressures to be successful. All the while showing vulnerability on joints like "Right Thru Me" and "Here I Am". She even discusses her father's crack addiction. C'mon Son! As the homie A-Butta said, "that's what wrong with rap today, they don't care what I have to say".

Again, I'm not asking anyone to like her, but I think Blaise's arguments are unfounded. Nicki's shared so much of herself on Pink Friday that I know Jelani and Mikaya (whoever they are). IMO Nicki's not just carrying the baton for the Latifahs, Lytes and Lauryn Hills before her, but she's raising the bar for ALL rappers regardless of gender. Now I ask, "do you listen to music it or do you just skim through it"?

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