What is IN the water down in the Caribbean?

Every so often, I try to go take a look at who the kids are listening to these days, so I can at least figure out who Jezebel is picking on now. I'm not usually all that impressed, but I wasn't very impressed by what the kids listened to when I was one of them either. I try not to decide I loathe someone and wish they would retire to the complete anonymity of an isolated banana republic somewhere until I've at least heard the thing they got a Grammy for -- mostly I find I'm indifferent, occasionally I really hate someone, and from time to time I actually find I think someone got an award for actual talent.

Prior to today, I knew what a "Nicki Minaj" was almost strictly from reading Go Fug Yourself, where she appears on a regular basis, owing to the fact that she dresses like she needs to be visible from outer space at all times in case her people come back to pick her up ahead of schedule. When the Fug Girls have so much to talk about they forget to call attention to how disabling it must be to have breasts that demand 24/7 ventilation, you know you've ascended to new heights of psychotic style.

Minaj is categorized as Rap/Hip-Hop, a genre which I'm not usually very into, but has evidently won a number of awards for it. That's not a guarantee of talent -- you actually sat down and watched any music awards shows lately? -- but it usually means that the production values on whatever she's churned out are a cut above 'idiot on YouTube'.

This is the thing that apparently catapulted her to stardom, "Super Bass":

I expected something a lot more boomy and gritty and making a sincere effort to be offensive, frankly. I mean, yeah, it's dirty, but only to about the Christina Aguilera level. I can't say I'm all that keen on the whole 'wife beater and cutoffs worn to accessorize my underwear' look, but shit -- she's wearing underwear! I should probably be thankful. She also looks clean, groomed (albeit kind of fluorescent) and sober through the whole video. And happy. She looks genuinely happy.

(Also, is that "slicker than the guy with the thing on his eye" a reference to a contemporary I don't know, or is that seriously a shout-out to Aladdin Sane-era Bowie?)

Interestingly, although she raps 90% of the time, Minaj can in fact sing. She hasn't got a diva-level voice, but she seems to sing a phrase or two in everything she does, and gives a creditable performance backing Rihanna on their collaboration "Fly":

Lest ye think she is not as crazy as she looks, I would also point out that in addition to the above, she's also done, and intentionally released, "Stupid Hoe"--

--which is less a song than a Tourette's sufferer having a four-minute seizure. I'm probably missing a lot of digs, but the two I spotted were on Shakira and Lady Gaga. I'm sure someone else can tell me the rest in the comments.


  1. That last video ... when she opens her eyes really wide and moves her lips but not her jaw and talks really fast, she looks like a doll or a robot or something. Why did I just watch that again. I think it's a combination of the candy/neon/day-glo bright lipstick and eyeliner.
    I'm not exactly sure what my point was going to be -- oh, yeah! Before I saw that last video, I still kind of respected her for being one of very few female rappers that ever get mainstream, but then she had to go and slut-shame every other female entertainer (or at least the majority of them) who she's in competition with. Awesome. I'm gonna go back to ignoring her now.

    P.S. This is jazmin_firewing from LJ. I had to log in through Google because my "OpenID credentials could not be verified".

  2. I'm not entirely sure "stupid hoe" is much of a sexual insult anymore. I think it's been downgraded to sort of the equivalent of "stupid cow" in British English, where it applies specifically to females, but implies more that they're idiotic and wrong-headed and unattractive and generally useless human beings than specifically that they are somehow carnally shameful. I am not, however, part of the cultural group that uses 'stupid hoe' in everyday conversation, so I may be misinterpreting what I do know. The whole 'step off my man, I'm only friends with people I of which I approve' thing is standard for pretty much any female in the rock industry, and honestly, most human beings outside of it.

    I haven't heard much anything out of her, outside of the lyrics of what I posted. The only time she gets to talk on red carpets is in response to "WTF you are wearing something else totally crazeballs, why?" to which her answer always boils down to "I felt like it."

    1. There was a secret on Fandom Secrets today about Nicki Minaj, and somebody linked to this: http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/12355

      It made me think about what I said about her "Stupid Ho" video. I thought it was very interesting and well-thought-out, and it'll teach me to make assumptions about people after having only seen one thing they've written/performed/etc.

    2. I thought it was interesting but not especially well thought out, or she wouldn't still be explaining the damn thing to people.

    3. Also, the feminist deconstruction doesn't address the fact that many of the images they are deconstructing are not Minaj's in the first place -- they are lifted, deliberately, from other female artists. If you're going to do a contextual interpretation, then use the goddamn context.


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