Much has been said in the past couple of weeks about Nicki’s personas and musical choices with her Grammy performance and latest singles. It seems that the girl freestyling on the Come-Up DVDs is a distant memory as her career has progressed to a pop iconic status. Urban music has taken an interesting turn this century, the artist who you come to love, most of the time changes from the artist they become, it hasn’t been just Nicki. Her turn, more than others, has been one of the most drastic changes in an rap artist career, which explains her lastest disapproval with traditional rap listeners. You have to wonder whether your a fan or not, what is she thinking.
Wayne signed Nicki Minaj when she was that tough street chick from Jamaica Queens, she dropped “Beam Me Up Scotty” and everybody in Hip-Hop went crazy. She was the reincarnation of Lil’ Kim and Foxy Brown, the industry really had a revolution on its hands. They were right about the revolution, but wrong on what the stance would be.
People forget that the first single for Pink Friday was “Massive Attack”, that song was more in line with her underground street sound on top of a beat that was gritty. That song’s highest chart position in Billboards Hot R&B/Hip-Hop polls was #65. Nicki canned that single and instead released “Your Love” which was less lyrical on top of a beat that was more upbeat, that songs highest chart position was #5 in the same polls. It all could have started here in the transformation of Nicki as more of a pop artist.
The term “Pop” derives from popular and at the time when Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Ke$ha we’re moving units, it’s easy to see what was popular. Pink Friday was nothing like her mixtapes, she transformed the Barbie theme other artist have used in her past and really made it her own. The album had cuts form Rihanna, Will.I.Am and Natasha Bedingfield (Unwritten, come on, you guys had to have liked that song on the low, well if y’all don’t admit it, then I won’t), and though it also had it’s hip-hop features as well, it wasn’t exactly what we expected. Another thing that we didn’t expect was that that record sold 375,000 records in its first week and beat Kanye’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” to one million copies.
Its more of a trend now a days for black artist to go towards more of a pop route, when you look at Chris Brown, Beyonce, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Drake, Rihanna, Usher and many more, as their music become more relatable with the masses, their fame, notoriety and success grows as well. Part of the problem could be on the pressure we place on artist to recreate themselves. Not many artist last in this industry if they stay the same, we want new, even if it isn’t improved. Would Nicki be the artist she is today if she wasn’t wearing wigs and outfits that make it impossible to sit comfortably in? Absolutely not? On the other hand, would she be more respected in the Hip-Hop community and with her black fans, absolutely. This brings me to another point, if the overall goal is to sell records, then its hard to remain underground and street. If you look at the album sales for all of the artist I previously mentioned, I can almost guarantee you that their last albums sold more overseas than they did in the states (I’m not very sure about Drake though, because his overseas might be The States). Its an issue that comes up a lot in which black consumers don’t really buy albums and that creates this influx of pop music in today’s black artist. This really isn’t about race, its more about facts, Pop sells more than Hip-Hop no debate.
Nicki latest antics have been “Over The Top” as described by most with her Grammy’s performance where she incorporated Priest and an Exorcism that ended with her floating in thin air. She responded by saying this was just a scene out of a movie she’s writing.
“You know how people write plays and movies? That’s what I did. I wrote that and I gave the world a tiny little preview of what was to come. And so I have to perform it on the set in which it would be in the movie, right?”
Her fans didn’t seem to understand that and stormed twitter with an outpouring of, well, unpleasing tweets. It didn’t help that her next single shorty after that was “Starships” which is anything but hip-hop. Nicki could be losing her fan base but at the same time, gaining another, if you look at her entire career she has never been as popular as she is now and she doesn’t have a single song or feature in the R&B/Hip-Hop top 50 polls. She was number 4 on MTV’s Hottest MC List with no album from her in 2011. Like it or not, Nicki Minaj as changed Hip-Hop in ways that Kim, Missy Elliot, Rah Diggah and other great women never had, because not only is she the biggest star in female Hip-Hop, by all standards, she’s the biggest star in Hip-Hop, period, Males alike.
In society today, many aren’t too upset with a person going after their money, its the common belief that defines Hip-Hop today. On this path to the dollar the people want you to remain the same artist that got you there, but when they get there, they have to find a way to move forward. It’s possible that Nicki is just going through the natural progression of her career and the music is not dictated by her goals to sell records just passion to try other things. It’s also possible that Nicki is smart and she knows that her music had to change for her to become more successful, great artist have admitted to doing this, its not necessarily wrong, but if we didn’t support Onika can we really be upset with Nicki Minaj
by Eskee @LifeWithNeCee