Nicki Minaj

The 30 Best Albums of 2014

The musical trends of 2014 felt so obvious in the moment: DJ Mustard beats, technophobia, strong female pop duets dominating the charts, polarizing booty-love anthems, a house music revival for the masses, LGBT voices making space for themselves, politicized music that sounded particularly relevant post-Ferguson. But when we look back at 2014, I’m not sure we’ll remember all that. It would be easy to say, “2014 was the year Beyoncé went full feminist, Nicki went borderline misandrist, and Taylor went ‘pop,’ though she’s been it for years,” but that’s just not the whole story. With that in mind, we tried to tell the whole story in this ranking of the year’s 30 best… Read More

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Nicki Minaj’s ‘The Pinkprint’ Is Her Very Own ‘808s & Heartbreak’

The final song on the deluxe — but not the deluxe iTunes or Target — version of The Pinkprint, Nicki Minaj’s third album, tells you everything you need to know about the Queens-bred rapper’s mental state at this point in time. Onika steps up to the plate and swings like she has nothing to prove but everything on the line: “You bitches can’t get my spot ’til I’m raising some children.” “Not that I don’t have good vision, but I don’t see competition/ They want me to come and help them, but I am not a magician.” “Don’t make me expose you, bitch, I’m busy.” With a title like “Win Again,” it would be easy to mistake this for your standard Nicki brag track, not unlike “I Am Your Leader” or “Grindin.” But by the end of the song, she’s out for blood with far less of it running through her flow. “I won,” Minaj coos in her most defeated-by-love pop-singer voice, “Kill-kill everything in my way.” Her brain is well trained, but her heart sounds tired. Yours would be too after writing an album like The Pinkprint. … Read More

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Nicki Minaj vs. “Rap Bitches”: 15 Songs Looking For a Fight

When Nicki Minaj’s Pinkprint collaboration with Beyoncé, “Feelin’ Myself,” leaked late early this morning, it joined the ranks of Nicki’s most anti-“rap bitches” appearances to date. Of course, Minaj has shouted out “rap bitches” many times, starting in her mixtape days; the novice Nicki fan may think she’s referring to other female rappers… Read More

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Nicki Minaj’s “All Things Go” and the Power of Vulnerability from Strong Women

“Every woman is multifaceted,” Nicki Minaj noted in her recent Complex cover story. “Every woman has a switch, whether she’s going to be maternal, whether she’s going to be a man-eater, whether she has to kick ass, whether she has to be one of the boys, whether she has to show the guys that she’s just as smart or smarter, she’s just as talented or creative. Women suppress a lot of their sides.” … Read More

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Director’s Refusal to Apologize Proves Nicki Minaj’s Nazi Video Is Godwin’s Law Writ Large

We’ve all grumbled about the insincerity of celebrity apologies — the carefully noncommittal “sorry if I offended anyone,” the legally advised refusal to ever admit any guilt or wrongdoing, the buck-passing, the crocodile contrition. In this respect, I guess, artist Jeff Osborne’s response to the furor over his lyric video for Nicki Minaj’s “Only” is refreshingly unexpected. Sorry? Nope, Osborne isn’t sorry at all. “First, I’m not apologizing for my work,” he told MySpace. “The flags, armbands, and gas mask (and perhaps my use of symmetry?) are all representative of Nazism… As far as an explanation, I think it’s actually important to remind younger generations of atrocities that occurred in the past as a way to prevent them from happening in the future. And the most effective way of connecting with people today is through social media and pop culture. So if my work is misinterpreted because it’s not a sappy tearjerker, sorry I’m not sorry.” Well, then. … Read More

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Nicki Minaj’s “Only” and the Aesthetics of Fascism: A Clueless Appropriation of Potent Imagery

Hey, there’s a new Nicki Minaj lyric video! And unlike most other lyric videos, it’s not just a bunch of words flashing up on your screen! There’s a whole animated storyline that goes with it, in which Nicki is presented as… um, the ruler of a fascist dictatorship that looks awfully like Nazi Germany! The lyric video for “Only,” a track that’s weird enough in and of itself, appeared over the weekend, and predictably enough given its subject matter, it’s gone down with the Internet like a granite dirigible. The clip was greeted with outrage from the likes of Gawker, BuzzFeed, and also, amusingly, outlets not a whole lot less right-wing than what they’re condemning. Minaj is hardly the first to use fascist imagery in the name of art, but she’s the first in a while to do so in such a terminally clueless manner. … Read More

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Nicki Minaj and Drake Are Trolling You on “Only”

Perhaps your outrage entry point into “Only,” the Pinkprint track Nicki Minaj dropped yesterday, was Chris Brown. Before you heard Brown relegated to hook-boy status within Nicki’s hip-hop power shift, maybe you questioned why she would bring in such a divisive character (who doesn’t even get to be in the single artwork). But once you’ve actually heard the song, Brown’s tame vocal contributions are far from the takeaway. I lost my goddamn mind the first four times I listened to “Only,” for four different reasons. And that’s exactly the point. The song is catnip for the kinds of listeners who read rap verses and trust them as accurate representations of the stars who recite them, instead of what they sometimes are: juicy stories. … Read More

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Iggy Azalea’s ‘The New Classic': How Effective Are Pop Album Reissues?

Iggy Azalea, the Australian rapper whose inescapable “Fancy” was officially named the Song of the Summer, announced today that she would be dropping a reissue of The New Classic. The update, which was announced just five months after the original, will include six new tracks, and at least one of them will continue Azalea’s trend of pop collaboration, this time with Ellie Goulding. With “Fancy” still all over the airwaves, and recent second single “Black Widow” sitting comfortably in the No. 6 spot of the Billboard Hot 100, a reissue seems like kind of a curious move. But, maybe not. … Read More

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