Nicki Minaj is definitely one for the headlines, with her high profile spat on the set of American Idol with fellow judge Mariah Carey just being the latest time that the rapper has hit the headlines in a not too glamorous way.
Apart from the recent American Idol controversy and the fracas surrounding her cancelled performances at V Festival, it’s hard to remember the hit maker underneath sometimes.
After Cher Lloyd came out on Wednesday claiming that Nicki Minaj had changed pop music, and undoubtedly she has, with Rap now so completely intertwined with pop music it would barely have been believable a few years ago. The question is though, has it actually made the world of pop worse?
Take for instance the growing appearances of rappers on pop songs. Most of the time, their featuring tag consists of just nipping in for a verse that’s only faintly connected with the actual happenings of the song. Wiz Khalifa’s appearance on Maroon 5’s Payphone is the perfect example. His verse not only completely goes against the tone of the rest of the track, but kills its rhythm stone dead, forcing the track to have to almost restart for its final throws.
That pales in comparison to Kanye West’s horrific, crowbarred in verse to Katy Perry’s E.T last year, which was yet again, just taken as an opportunity for arguably rap’s biggest name to take his ego for a walk.
Nicki Minaj has gone the other way though, graduating from guest spots on the biggest rap records around (ranging from Kanye to Young Money) to going towards the world of pop with her solo work.
From sprouting the bubble-gum wigs to the massively exuberant outfits, Minaj had left the role of ‘First Lady of Rap’ and gone fully pop. At points in her debut album, Nicki simply abandons rap all together, switching to plain pop. Upon transitioning to the world of pop though, Nicki’s not left behind her ‘Supa-Dupa’ style of rap behind, bringing along its habit of making absolutely nonsensical lyrics quite a lot of the time.
This may sound like a sweeping statement, but let’s look at the evidence. “Yes my name is Roman, last name is Zolanski / But no relation to Roman Polanski”, “Quack quack to a duck and a chicken too / Put the hyena in a freakin' zoo!” and “Hang it up, flatscreen …plasma/ Hey Nicki, hey Nicki…asthma” are all lyrics taken off of Pink Friday’s latest Roman Reloaded edition. Answers on a postcard please as to how any of these make any sort of sense.
Laced with more candy colours and snazzy beats than an underground DJ made of Haribo, it’s undeniable that Minaj’s songs are catchy and eminently radio-playable, as well as enormously commercially available.
The album’s success is likely to start a trend of femme fatales ditching any attempts of lyrical consistency and focussing on hitting the same quasi-rap market. Just look at the new wave of singer/songwriter that came out of the success of Adele and Florence + The Machine.
So batten down the hatches, you’re in for more horrifically bright, massively over-produced pop-rap. Enjoy?
FemaleFirst Cameron Smith