As with Rihanna, I’m sure Nicki Minaj will be the topic of many, many more posts for SheBOmb. I cred this post to MissDre in her absence, who I think feels about Nicki the same way I feel about Rihanna. Sure, we all hate on pop culture from time to time, but these pop artists are the ones creating and molding our society single by single. As informed citizens of the earth, we have the obligation to pay attention to the rabble going on around our favorite niche bands. Discussion of sexuality, gender construction, and social identity is still relatively scarce in for adolescents as far as I know, and even young adults often go about their lives unaware of how the media, movie, and music culture is influenving their behavior. As I morphed through my own personal music tastes growing up I found myself replicating the behavior and values of Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Pink, and Avril Lavigne. While Avril and Pink taught me to “be myself”, their image, dress, and flippant attitude warned me what self-confidence would be accompanied by angst and black clothing. With Britney and Christina I knew I was on par with my blonde hair, but I lacked the boobs and the nude-glitter costumes to really imitate them (their songs also weren’t really about anything). Luckily, I think this generation of pre-teens and teenagers has a much better selection of idols from the female pop crew, who seem to at least try to project positive images for young women (especially those who are not white, skinny, and blonde. i.e.: everyone). Rihanna is a part of this team, as is Nicki. Avril is still a part of it, sort of. I don’t think T Swift is, but that is TBW.
ANYWHO, here are three songs by Nicki Minaj that demonstrate strength, femininity, body-security, and independence.
1. Fly––Nicki (ft. Rihanna)
You would think this would be my favorite Nicki song since it features Rihanna, but I saved the best for last! This is a fantastic song, and the women wandering in a destroyed garbage-world immediately reminded me of Eva from Wall-E. They came to win “life” I suppose, and send a message to girls that isn’t concerned with sex or relationship success. I feel a little bad now picking on lines of her song, because Nicki sings, “I’m not a word, I am not a line / I am not a girl that can ever be defined / I am not fly, I am levitation / I represent an entire generation.” If most of Avril’s songs are concerned with the angst of not knowing who you are, Nicki’s world-view offers a contrast. There is no way to pin down exactly who someone is from any one trait (or even 100 traits), everyone shares the inability to be defined (“entire generation”), and that is awesome! Nicki never questions it and never expresses doubt about her identity. She knows her strengths and weaknesses and doesn’t define herself, therefore pulling the rug from anyone who tries to define her. She also beats up some ninjas and has leopard hair (They both have non-traditional hair colors throughout the video, and Nicki’s changes three different times).
2. Y.U. MAD –Birdman (ft. Nikki Minaj)
Though Nicki is only featured in this song, she starts it with an assertion of her gender equality, “I am the female Weezy”. This may not seem super important, but how often do you hear a female artist comparing herself to a male artist? Their spheres are usually considered separate, and there are so few women in rap that its a hard comparison to make. In her comments before the song starts she mimics Weezy and dons a platinum dred wig to match his hair, schizophrenic behaviors in line with her multiple personality persona (Nicki and Roman––the pink-haired nutcase who wants to eat people in Kanye’s “Monster”). Nicki stays true to this weirdness and doesn’t feel the need to label it “other” like Avril or Pink. She can exist in the mainstream world without hiding her true identity. At :43 we see her in full form, and DAMN does that girl have a bedonk. She doesn’t try to hide it like Adele does in her videos (which mostly show her sitting down or from the waist up). Nicki is a big woman compared to most pop-princesses (Rihanna included), but she doesn’t think twice about it. Panda slippers. She does what she wants.
3. Moment 4 Life––Nicki (ft. Drake)
The multiple-personality thing is so very Nicki. The Eminem/Slim Shady dichotomy was brilliant, but wasn’t replicated in for a decade until this girl hit the scene. On her Wiki page Nicki talks about how she spent a lot of time growing up inventing imaginary friends and playing with them––this is definitely an option for only children who are struggling socially, and Nicki not only admits this, but also makes it cool. She also makes being insane and crazy cool (this helps the social success of people like me). You might think that no one will be watching Nicki who is still playing with imaginary friends, but if you’ve seen this Ellen Degeneres Episode you know that she reaches a much broader demographic than you would expect. In my post on Rihanna (listed below in the “related links” section) I wrote about how the song Cheers showed Rihanna as the antithesis of a sexed-up showgirl; she was presented as a happy young girl doing something that she loved. Sometimes when Nicki throws down those misplaced broad smiles it gets a little unnerving, but I think she is trying to remind the audience that even though she raps with a powerful, deep voice, she is is a fun-loving girl at heart that enjoys things other than raucous sex with skinny black rappers (Birdman is so wittle!). The song also has some great lines in it. To me, “No I’m not lucky I’m blessed” reveals her opinion that stardom didn’t just happen to her; but she also isn’t saying “I worked really hard to get here and everyone wanted to make me Britney but I wouldn’t do it so now I look like Britney but I wear black.” Luck is fleeting and luck can be taken away. Blessing (without the religious connotations) invokes fate, psuedo-deservedness, and reciprocal thankfulness.
Nicki is great, please read her Wiki article because it has some great soundbites. And watch da videos!