Nicki Minaj Turns Her Back On Hip-Hop

DJ Louie XIV
In anticipation of her new album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, rapper Nicki Minaj recently released “Starships,” a RedOne-produced slice of radio pop music that’s far removed from hip-hop in any traditional sense. In fact, all stomping Ibiza house beats, Katy Perry-esque strummed guitars, fructose lyrical content and a simple pop chorus, “Starships” seems more akin to the work of Perry, Britney Spears and their pop star ilk. While Minaj has proven herself to be a more than capable rapper on numerous occasions (see: Kanye West’s “Monster,” her own “Did it on ‘Em”), with “Starships,” she has shown that unlike many of her male contemporaries in Hip Hop, she sees no problem bucking hip-hop credibility in the pursuit of a radio hit. Moreover, it is safe to say that Minaj — all colorful wigs, eccentric outfits, and her nagging insistence on singing into auto tune — seems to be modeling her career more closely after largely white, female pop stars rather than any female hip-hop artists that preceded her.

For a hip-hop fan, this is disappointing, as it seems more pertinent for Minaj to be showcasing her ample rhyming ability than regurgitating yet another shaded rendition of “California Tik Tok on Last Friday Night’s Domino.” On the other hand, who can really blame her? Indeed, when taking stock of the current landscape of music, Nicki really has no established female hip-hop role models on whom she can base her career. One look at the now-dormant solo pursuits of Lil Kim, Missy Elliott and Lauryn Hill and it is easier to see why Nicki may be apt to follow the more sustainable careers of pop stars as her paradigm: each of these female MCs of yore, not yet 40 years old, hasn’t released new material for the better part of a decade.

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