Since her well documented arrival on the music scene four years ago, Ms. Onika Maraj has found it impossible to escape polarized opinion.
Revolutionary to some whilst repulsive to others, it wasn’t long before she had found her way to the forefront of Urban culture for more than just her animated lyrical style and Pro-beauty approach to her aesthetic.
Lending her talents to the likes of Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera and Kanye West all before the release of her record-breaking LP ‘Pink Friday‘, the former waitress built up a fan base of keyboard happy mini-me’s who unknowingly helped her publicists to turn the entertainer into a social media magnet.
YouTube and Twitter being responsible for the acquistion of many of her international fans who were not yet able to access her in their own domestic market.
With her debut album now the third highest selling LP to be released by a female artist for 2010/2011, Nicki Minaj is undeniably Rap’s most celebrated sensation.
However, seemingly in sync with the consistency of her record sales is one undying criticism of her.
That she is inauthentic.
That Nicki Minaj is nothing more than a gimmick with a Mattelic heartbeat.
Often the issue for many female artists of Black heritage, the question of authenticity is one that has followed even the most iconic of stars. One example of this is when Whitney Houston was booed at the 1987 Soul Train Awards for allegedly ‘turning too Pop’ for African American audiences.
It seems that to many a music spectator, the most authentic state for a Black female artist to be in is a state of unrelaxed hair and ballad driven love songs.
Therefore, any songstress who made the mistake of donning pastel colored wigs and embracing upbeat music was destined to be regarded as counterfeit.
Minaj critics tend not to take sole aim at her collection of wigs, her allegedly ‘altered’ assets or even her animated performances; rather, the fact that she has dared to achieve what the last decade saw so many female Rappers cower in the face of.
For so long the American femcee has conformed to what she believed would be acceptable to her male counterpart, all at the expense of their creative glory. Limiting herself to a certain sound and style to keep the attention of those she deemed to be ‘Real Hip Hop’ fans.
Described by one poet as being vapidly doll like and almost monotonic in both lyrical style and personality, Ms. ‘SuperBass‘ has gone onto thwart these perceptions of herself.
For the wild and untamed music she delivers both on and off her LP are anything but monotonic and the woman we saw woo the Late Night circuit during the promotional rounds for ‘Pink Friday’ was anything but vapid.
There is no disputing that Nicki Minaj uses gimmicks to add season to her already well flavored music ,but to suggest that these gimmicks are all there is to her is a lazy attempt to discredit her cause.
For if what she was doing was so easy, so many of her rivals wouldn’t be struggling to grab the attention of A&R executives who quite simply aren’t interested.