Nicki Minaj

We Need to Talk About Jessie J and Our Irrational Pop Star Preferences

With a record-breaking six No. 1 singles from one album in her native UK, Jessie J is England’s answer to Katy Perry. Admittedly, that’s selling her short — her voice possesses Aguilera power and she writes her own material — but details are unimportant in the mud-pit wrestling match that is the female pop star gauntlet. The singer’s most successful American single to date, Top 10 hit “Domino,” is straight-up Teenage Dream Perry, down to its reference to skin-tight pants. “(Insert new singer) is like (insert established pop diva starting to show cracks/long past her prime) plus (insert another big pop star)”: this is the musical conversation pop stars get, despite the fact that pop hits are defined more by their songwriters and producers than their interpreters. The personality conversation is an even uglier scene, one in which stars are made and fade away. … Read More

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Nicki Minaj vs. Iggy Azalea: It’s Time to Kill the “Female Rapper” Catfight

“I thank God that I’ve been placed in a position to do something, and represent women in a culture that is so male-driven.” Nicki Minaj’s acceptance speech started out classily enough. Last night, for the fifth year in a row, she won the title of Best Female Hip Hop Artist at the BET Awards. She thanked BET for putting black people on TV, turned up her nose at the term “female rapper,” and then qualified herself for the Shade Hall of Fame by throwing in a few pointed jabs at her only real competitor for the award, Iggy Azalea. (Other nominees included Angel Haze, Eve, and Charli Baltimore.) … Read More

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Song of the Summer: 21 Musicians on Their Personal Picks for 2014

There are very few things music fans universally agree on, but each summer we’re somehow able to come to the consensus that a handful of mainstream hits will soundtrack the season in a big way. This year, we see various combinations of Iggy Azalea, Charli XCX, and Ariana Grande leading the fight for the crown, with Lil Jon and DJ Snake and Ed Sheeran trailing closely behind. Whichever hit takes the title will be memorialized as 2014’s Song of the Summer, but there is something to be said for our own personal Songs of the Summer — the ones whose significance is rooted more in our memories than in chart history. That’s why we asked 21 musicians from across all genres to name their own Songs of the Summer… Read More

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“Pills N Potions”: Learning to Love Nicki Minaj, Pop Star

About 30 seconds into her new song “Pills N Potions,” I realized I was no longer holding out for Nicki Minaj’s big hip-hop hit. The first single from her upcoming album, The Pink Print, is a Dr. Luke-produced ballad of whispers and coos that sneaks in a few rap verses amid the shimmering tambourines and shapely percussion and a hook that insists, “I still love.” The lyrics hint at a pastel-tinted Valley of the Dolls lifestyle — sad, highly medicated glamor maintained despite a lover’s betrayal (of sorts) and the fickleness of hangers-on. What’s most unusual is that Minaj, who is so often showily combative, seems so zen and forgiving about it all: “I still don’t wish death on ‘em/ I just reflect on ‘em,” she raps. It’s as soft as we’ve ever seen her, but the meditative maturity of it resonates. … Read More

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Nicki Minaj “Still Loves You” on New Single “Pills N Potions”

Rapper, pop-star, and perfume & Moscato mogul Nicki Minaj has released “Pills N Potions,” the first single from upcoming album The… Read More

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Where Did All the Female Rappers Go? Reality TV

Earlier this week, NPR asked where all the female rappers had gone, and yesterday VH1 gave them their answer, albeit a weak one: a new reality show. This fall, the cable network responsible for “docudramas” like Love & Hip Hop and The Salt-n-Pepa Show will unleash White Girls of Rap into the world, yet again making female rappers a novelty item. … Read More

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