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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Nicki Minaj dethroned


Sexism isn’t the cause of Minaj’s album release 

Contrary to her most recent album’s proclamation, Nicki Minaj is not the “queen.” The current hierarchy of the crown belongs to artists such as Jorja Smith, Rihanna, H.E.R. and SZA. Minaj isn’t even the queen of hip-hop, let alone worthy of placing herself above aforementioned artists within the R&B sphere.

Along with this bold-faced assertion of her queendom, Minaj defended her album debuting second behind Travis Scott’s “Astroworld” by making a number of excuses, including how gender inequality affected the rollout and overall success of her album. 

Gender inequality is very real. Pay inequality, amongst many other statistics illustrate this fact. But, the truth is that Travis Scott made a much better album than Minaj and sales numbers are an indication of that. 

While sexism is prevalent in the hip hop industry, sexism isn’t the cause of the less than ideal response to Nicki Minaj’s album.  

The overall success, or lack there of, when it comes to Nicki Minaj is much more deeply rooted  than simply retreating to the calling card that hip-hop is sexist. 

Nicki Minaj is a subpar lyricist at this point in her career. Her albums are overproduced and her entire image is corny. “Pink Friday” was the end of Nicki Minaj the lyricist and the beginning of Nicki Minaj the popstar. This evolution caused the hip-hop community as a whole to sour on an artist that had seemingly sold out in order to sell music.

As tracks like “Run” and “Beauty and the Beat” propelled Minaj to mainstream success within the pop sphere, she also alienated herself from the lyrically driven mixtapes that formed a foundation for her career. A large portion of the hip-hop community has moved past the quasi-hip-hop Barbie caricature that Minaj has become and moved towards a more lyrical and conscious form of hip-hop.  

As racial and political tensions have intensified in America, the increased popularity of conscious rap is a direct reflection of the concerns of the black community. And as black culture continues to inform popular culture in America, the black community plays a massive role in determining what artists gain or wane in popularity. 

So with the black community’s interest in conscious rap resurfacing and growing, reception to Minaj’s content has been lackluster because of  her music’s vapid content in comparison to many of her contemporaries, such as J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar.

So it isn’t sexism in this case, Minaj just didn’t hit the mark.

In the end, I don’t want to take away from the fact that there was a point in time when Minaj was on the forefront of hip-hop in the late 2000’s. Her mixtapes, amongst her other early work, is an example of Minaj as an exceptional lyricist. Unfortunately, I believe those days are long gone at this point in her career.

Talent speaks for itself, regardless if you are a male or female MC. I understand why Minaj sold out both her sound and image in order to sell records, but not compromising yourself as an artist does not mean you can’t be successful in the music industry. Denzel Curry, Lauryn Hill, D’Angelo, Joey Bada$$ among many others have proven that going completely mainstream does not block them from carving out their own popular niche in the music industry.

Minaj has the ability to to be a great MC, but she needs to create a distinction between what the pop music conglomerate wants from her and the creative direction that she wants to take. 

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  • C

    CathSep 5, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    “Jorja Smith, Rihanna, H.E.R. and SZA.”
    Is that a joke? If the future of music (R&B, hip hop, etc) lies in the (team behind the) product of those, it’s all downhill. Thank God it isn’t.

    Also, there’s sexist commentary here, and you of course are nor aware of it. I couldn’t care less about Minaj, but you don’t even note that Travis Scott’s (who didn’t make an album, his dozens of writers and producers did) sales include a bunch merchandise he was selling.