Nicki Minaj has a sure fire way of staying in the minds and mouths of the hip hop populace. Honestly, she should have that ability. Although I don’t care for her music, she is pretty successful, smart, and attractive. I may not agree with her artistic approach, but I do appreciate her artistic savvy. I don’t agree with the music, but I damn sure can applaud her for making a way for herself.
And then, there is the Anaconda single cover that has garnered attention.
Personally, the Anaconda cover did not bother me as much. Let’s face it: this isn’t the first time I have seen a female emcee exhibit sexuality for the sake of advertisement (see Lil Kim). Also, you have to realize that this is a grown woman (she is 32).
The Nicki Minaj Discussion
Now, there is a debate stirring up about whether Nicki Minaj deserves the bad limelight or not. On one hand, you have Chuck Creekmur that wrote a letter to Nicki Minaj about her single cover. He doesn’t think it serves as an example to set for young ladies like his daughter. Jamilah Lemieux, however, disagrees with Chuck on certain aspects of his letter. She feels that it is up to Nicki Minaj to do what she wants whether we like it or not. Whatever side you are on, the anaconda in the back of Nicki’s Honda has made waves.
To be realistic, Nicki Minaj won because she got the attention she was looking for. But that is another conversation for another day.
The Nicki Minaj Issue Involves Something Else
The conversation that I want to have involves with something bigger than Nicki Minaj or even the patriarchy that hampers it. My issue deals with the lack of diversity of mainstream hip hop. This became apparent when Nicki Minaj won so many BET awards for Best Female Hip Hop Artist (4-5 years in a row). Check the competition: she wasn’t competing against those that were going to “stand a chance”. Part of Nicki Minaj getting so much attention is that Nicki is damn near virtually by herself.
And no, I am not saying there are not any other female hip hop artists out there. But outside of Nicki, many of them are “relatively unknown” to “who really gives a damn”. That situation right there is an issue.
Let me break this down to you all:
How many know of Pri The Honey Dark beating out male contestants back in the late 90’s to be a freestyle champion (defeating a lot of dope male emcees)? Blaze Battle. Read about it.
Rapsody, one of Jamla’s most talk about emcees, can probably rap laps around the majority of the people that are on popular radio right now.
In 2013, Jean Grae released the best single that most of you out there never heard of: U&Me&everyoneWeKnow.
Before Nicki Minaj, There Was Diversity
It wasn’t always like this in hip hop. In the 80′s and 90‘s, you had your bevy of female emcees from the lyrical spitting of MC Lyte to the West Coast styles of Yo-Yo. Salt and Pepa made waves by being a dynamic duo while Queen Latifah was the epitome of a feminist before it became a catchphrase. There were even more hedonistic female emcees like HWA (Hoes With Attitude). No matter the preference or positive reference, female emcees were more prominent and different from each other.
Nowadays, you have Nicki Minaj on the forefront with a secondary helping of Iggy Azalea. No wonder people wonder about the health of hip hop.
Therefore, Nicki Minaj may not be for everyone and that is fine. You can always support some of the other artists that I mentioned. Or you can find a Nitty Scott, MC or Angel Haze to impress your ears. I can understand not liking what Nicki Minaj has to offer. But there are other emcees that can and keep their clothes on.
There is more out there. Sometimes, you have to be willing to find it.