A Pinkprint to Success
“BEEN IN THE GAME FOR FIVE YEARS guess that’s why my feet hurt. Wonder why they bite me do these bitches teeth hurt? Yes, I am an icon, that’s me on your t-shirt.” The highly celebrated and highly venerated Nicki Minaj has reached a very obvious hiccup in her career. Her intentions of being the only woman in the rap game killing it is a tremendous understatement at this point, considering an absence that has left space for new names to enter mouths, playlists and the Billboards. Bars are not enough anymore to save a career simultaneously affected by image and consistent public presentation. It's not false that Nicki has been doing so. She shuts down numerous red carpets with couture-meets-sexy looks and a decent (at my most generous) album with relevant features. On the internet, however, her most noteworthy bars have been all under 140 characters, a feat only proved to be, in actuality, quite disappointing.
How can we save the likkle ting from South Jamaica from taking a long, sad ride on the Q33 back home? We devised a few strategies stemming from her biggest sources on conflict as of recently. Let’s get her off that isolated throne and back into leading a kingdom of shared and blooming talent.
NICKI VS THE FEMALE RAP GAME
Many have tried to erase the gender distinction present within the rap game. In an industry that literally profits monetarily from misogyny and countless attacks, both physical and verbal, against women, a split has to be made to recognize the different hurdles a woman needs to jump over in order to achieve an even notoriety. It is undisputed that Minaj has made herself a household name, however, that fact alone does not condone a throne that only one individual can sit on.
The current female rap game is thriving. There is a range of lanes your bars can carry you to and countless images to embody. From Tierra Whack to Cuban Doll to Rico Nasty to Bbymutha to Noname, a woman’s word no longer needs to be singular. However, the self-crowned QUEEN Minaj refuses to budge or even acknowledge the number of voices coming louder and wittier than hers.
Possible Solution: Mentorship. Aside from her recent team-up with Foxy Brown on the track, “Coco Chanel,” when has Nicki collaborated with another lady in the rap game? More specifically, one with promise and more longevity ahead of them? Picture Minaj with a protégé under a modified form of tutelage similar to her’s and Weezy’s. That would be her smartest investment in a future and erase any conspiracies of beef from many people’s memories. (Unfortunately, not Remy’s.)
NICKI VS THE NURSERY
Maybe this stems from her highly meme’d rivalry against newborn Stormi Webster and her twenty-year old Kardashian-Klan mother for promoting Astroworld atop the Billboard 200, the gist of the previous point persists— what is Nicki’s issue with connecting to youth? Or better yet, disciplining them when necessary? The Barbz are one of the most lethal followings out there of any recording artist, present to defend their loyalty on any critical tweet and countless stan accounts on Instagram. If only they brought that same urgency towards her ticket sales and streams.
Possible Solution: Either market herself towards mature fans with an equally mature album short of any gimmicks or callouts, or continue with pop-crossovers for that double whammy approval from her younger crowd and charts (think Anaconda and Super Bass.) In terms of social media, tame her followers when need be. The critical eye on her right now wouldn’t be able to blink away from any moment of progress on those platforms.
NICKI VS THE WOMAN IN THE MIRROR
Hypocrisy is becoming a recurring theme accelerating her plummet. Most notable are her faux-feminist touts on social media for the sake of only her convenience. The most recent example involved her shaming sex-workers during an interview with Elle, apparently surprised at the number of girls who “didn’t know their worth” because they acted like “modern-day prostitutes.”
Many leading ladies in rap spit bars about sexual empowerment, including Nicki, yet it never needs to come to the attack of those of a specific profession as if it exempted them from the same liberation. When critiqued for this moment of hypocrisy, (most memorably from her exchange with Twitter user Jerome Trammel), she responds with volumes of expletives and a weak defense for the interview as more of a “critique on herself than anything.”
To put the nail in the coffin is her collaboration with rapper 6ix9ine, widely known for his conviction for sexual misconduct with a minor. Not only was FEFE her highest charting single from QUEEN, but the collaboration comes most shockingly from her 2012 tweet stating, “people who abuse children should be stoned to death in public.”
In this age of vocalizing such obscenities and movements to end the normalization of behaviors like this from men, Nicki does nothing to address them. “When I was told they were being paid to write these things I didn’t believe it, now I know it’s true 😜😛 #Queen bitch!!!!” she tweets, flipping the critique as a direct attack on her. “I’m supposed to keep letting these ppl get money to bully me behind the scenes & not say anything. Yikes." What kind of QUEEN do you know gets bullied?
Possible Solution: Pull the single entirely. The drastic move might be a little too late regarding the profit already made. Immediately following that would be to remove 6ix9ine from the NICKIHNDRXX tour, whose North American leg was so lovingly postponed for “lack of preparation.” What she needs is very visible distancing to regain the slightest bit of credibility.
NICKI VS THE WAVES
Her most recent venture is her QUEEN radio show on Beats 1. A lousy attempt at keeping credibility, this radio venture does nothing to promote her music or discuss anything substantial and current. The only recent topics revolve mainly around herself and any threats to her brand.
Minaj does succeed on the charts, however, the amount of time between The Pinkprint and QUEEN was enough to entirely shift the recording industry’s necessities for an album and musician to dually thrive. This recent bout of unnecessary hubris can only be in response to insecurity, especially from her absence.
Possible Solution: Rebrand or revisit past selves. Imagine her reinventing and reintroducing Nicki Lewinsky in 2018 with Barbz who haven’t even been around to experience that moment in time. She may even consider bringing back Nicki the Ninja and molding her for the future. Imagine a VERSUS album between all of these alter egos switching back and forth between rap style and lyrical content. Could be a very good chance to re-express her versatility. Wherever the QUEEN is going, she’s going to need it.