A long time ago I asked about Nicki Minaj and you asked if I could get you started. This is just a rundown of her controversial points. If you could give your thoughts I’d really appreciate it!
1. Alter egos
Here she explains her most frequently reoccurring alter egos (starts at 3:10):
"Roman," her gay alter ego, is further explained here:
Roman’s “coming out party” was interpreted in this performance:
And finally, 2 of Nicki’s personalities, Barbie and Roman, interact in this verse:
There’s concern over whether or not she’s exploiting mental illnesses like schizophrania to draw attention.
2. Erasure of women within hip hop
From the inception of her career Nicki has frequently put female rappers down and distanced herself from womanhood. These may be two separate issues in terms of how she views women vs how she personally identifies but I think there’s interaction between the two.
1:12, she and her manager declare “no more bitches on The Come Up”
0:05-0:12, she refers to herself as a “King”
"I am not Jasmine, I am Aladdin." — Roman’s Revenge
"All these bitches is my sons. … If I had a dick I would pull it out and piss on ‘em." — Did It On’em
"Girls is my sons, I carried them for eight months." — The Boys
"These bitches is my sons, I tied my tubes up." — Give It All To Me
"Plus you got mad miles on your vag card. Nah, I can’t work with none of them. They talk slick then wonder why I be son’n them." — Hands Up
"Consistently winning while all you bitches come and go. Oh you mad ho? You ain’t headline? You my son bitch and it’s bedtime. I show you bitches how to put together punch lines." — Born Stunna
"Bitches ain’t got punchlines or flow. … I’m checking these bitches like an application." — Up In Flames
"These ugly bitches is really boosting my ego. … Everything these bitches doing, I already did it." — I Be On That
"Bitches is like crabs in the bucket." — Still I Rise
"I think I’ll have a rap bitch for my entree. … It’s like I just single-handedly annihilated every rap bitch in the building. … I don’t even know why you girls bother at this point. Like, give it up, it’s me, I win you lose." — Itty Bitty Piggy
"Stop actin’ like you a killer with all them girly disses, bitches." — Dead Wrong
I could go on all day.
Nicki was born in Trinidad and raised in New York but she associates herself with Asian culture.
She explains calling herself the “harajuku barbie” here:
"What you need, thick thighs and some chinky eyes?" — Cuchi Shop
"And Alicia with the chinky eyes used to be with freaky Ty." — Hood Story
"Chinese and them things go pow-pow." — Baddest Bitch
"Ain’t Chinese but you worth two dolla." — Beef Stew
"Word on the street is that I’m Chinese, no lil’ mama I’m just high off haze." — Sticks In My Bun
Then there’s also her usage of the term “assalamualaikum.”
"Assalamualaikum, where the fuck is Akbar?" — Beam Me Up Scotty
"You know them assalamualaikum, them Persian bitches?" — Dead Wrong
"Assalamualaikum, no oink for me." — Roger That
"I don’t fuck with pigs like assalamualaikum." — Itty Bitty Piggy
"First they love you then they switch, then they switch like faggots." — Dead Wrong
"Nigga you softer than a homosexual." — So Special
"Not I, tattle-telling is for homos." — Jae Millz verse on her song Five-O
"All you little faggots can suck it, no homo." — Eminem’s verse on her song Roman’s Revenge
When asked about Eminem’s slur on her record:
“You know, if I’m being honest, I didn’t like [him using it]. I spoke to everyone I knew about it. I spoke to my hairdresser, who’s one of my closest friends. I sat him down and said, “Terrence, what do you think about this? How does this make you feel?” And we had a long, long talk. And he said he didn’t feel like Eminem was talking about a gay person. He felt like it was a word being used to describe a straight man, and he didn’t take offense to it. It’s Eminem — I felt like we were creating a movie. And in the same way, I feel like if you were to watch your favorite actor or actress say “faggot” or say “nigger” in a movie, you don’t hate them because it’s like they’re playing a role. “Roman’s Revenge” was more like a theatrical piece. I was a character and [Eminem] was a character. This was Slim Shady and Roman. Of course, when it comes to creativity, there’s such a thin line between creativity and something being offensive. But one thing I knew for sure was that my gay fan base knows about how I feel about them, and I’ve embraced them from the beginning — since my mix-tape days. [Reaching out to gay fans wasn’t something I did] once I came into pop culture just to try and get some extra fans. So I felt like the positive would outweigh the negative, and we just kept moving with that.”
This isn’t everything but I think that about covers the biggest issues with her. Thanks so much for this blog!
Nicki also used Asian women as props in this performance:
and this video:
One last thing on Nicki Minaj and her erasure of women within hip hop. From a Guardian interview:
Was she always determined to out-brag and out-curse the boys? “Yes, definitely. That’s why I say stuff like, ‘Dick in your face’, because I don’t even wanna refer to female genitalia any more.” Why not? “I just feel I have bigger balls than the boys.”
Is this some kind of internalized misogyny or is it just me?