Nicki Minaj released a new song today called "Lookin' Ass Nigga" and it's a spectacular misuse of her talents. But you knew that, right? Nicki is as Nicki does.
Fans of her early days as an MC have been waiting for her return to lyricism since her 2010 debut, Pink Friday. Hell, I even voted for her personally on MTV’s coveted Hottest MCs list back then — but the girl I pulled for is long gone, lost trying follow in Ke$ha’s footsteps or something. I should’ve given up after “Starships” but I keep holding a candle, hoping she'd realize that she could be the best rapper alive if she only channeled her formidable energy into fantastic rhymes. But for all of Nicki's talent, there's not the right motivation. After all, I doubt 16 bars would’ve gotten her a seat as an American Idol judge. And who, oh, who would Mariah Carey have been able to shade for all those episodes?
Now, when Nicki tries to return to real rhyming, we get this latest effort, a riff on a comedy song that came out in 2008. Y’all know it’s 2014 right? We couldn’t pull a joke from Kevin Hart or something? I mean, if she really needed some funny black comedic material.
And then there’s the “I’m raping you” line. Nicki, Nicki, Nicki: do better. In fact, hip-hop, do better. You know what I’d love? For MCs to stop acting like they shouldn’t be held accountable for their metaphors because their word play isn’t literal. For example, Jay-Z’s “eat the cake Anna Mae” lyric in Beyoncé’s “Drunk In Love” and his wife’s compliance with the line as they both shouted it at the Grammy audience last month. Bad idea, guys; there’s no defending it. It’s just bad to associate hot marital loving with Ike Turner. As for Nicki, a woman saying, “I’m raping you” isn't good, responsible or even remotely entertaining — and it's in a crappy song, to boot.
MCs pore over every lyric, at least the good ones do. Fame aside, these men and women are poets who know deep down that words are power. Those words pay their bills; it’s not just entertainment, it's a profession. For better or for worse, every word matters and Nicki knows better. And ultimately, this song makes me question what happened to the woman who was better known for her words than fighting with Mariah. But that's the price one pays for pop stardom, I guess?