Yesterday, while out walking, I stumbled across a poster for an album by Nicki Minaj, a large-buttocked pop temptress who seamlessly combines both pornography with annoying noises to create surprisingly well-received hip hop music. Universal Music Group have branded the singer “Minaj”—a portmanteau, I presume, of the words “minge” and “vag”—because that’s what male listeners like, isn’t it?
Minaj’s popularity is unsurprising. Universal must have spent millions on assuring that every person in the western world knows the name “Minaj”—which, as I’ve already noted, is a portmanteau of the words “minge” and “vag”. In fact, as I type this, listen as I do to Minaj’s album on Spotify, the music streaming service keeps intermittently interrupting the music to inform me that I can listen to Minaj’s album on Spotify. And now, as I continue to type, a picture of Minaj’s face is staring at me and rather rudely demanding that I listen to the album that I’m currently listening to.
I have to say, Minaj’s greatness isn’t immediately evident, even after several listens to her album. It has the same overly compressed sound that the bulk of contemporary recordings have: it sounds as if the music is violently vomiting the sounds out of my speakers. Still, perhaps I have to look past the album’s production and listen to Nicki’s lyrics, her poetry. The 69-year-old self-proclaimed “dean of rock critics” Robert Christgau gave this album an “A” grade, a rating he usually reserves for bands and artists with integrity and modestly-sized asses. Surely, then, there must be something that I’m missing. Perhaps I just haven’t listened to it enough?
There is one song on the album resonates with me: the ninth track, Blazin. It reminds me of attending my local town fair as an early teen. With its sped up sample of The Simple Mind’s ‘80s smash hit Don’t You (Forget About Me) and disorientating swirling synth sounds, the song conjures up very vivid images in my head. It makes me picture spinning waltzers, candyfloss and dim-witted twats from school experimenting with poppers and fingering for the first time.
As horrific as Blazin is, however, my least favourite track overall would have to be Minaj’s latest single, Beez in the Trap, a song that sounds as if it was released before it was finished. The video for the song features plenty of shots of Minaj’s well-publicised ass, although overall, the video’s not quite as sexy as Minaj seems to believe it is. For starters, when Nicki uses the word “shit” at the exact same point that the camera focuses on her ass, the resulting emotion is not one of arousal, but disgust.
But the song isn’t all bad. The lyrics are pretty good, especially the line: “I don’t know, man, ‘fuck is on your biscuit?” It must be lines like this that resonate so strongly with the increasingly uncool white music critics that gave Minaj’s album such glowing reviews. Her song “Stupid Hoe”, too, demonstrates her lyrical abilities. In the song, she repeatedly accuses me, the listener, of being a “stoopid how”, while simultaneously acting really fucking stupid. It’s a degree of rich irony that I’ve come to expect from the songs of Randy Newman, although Newman uses irony intentionally as a satirical device to prove a point. Minaj doesn’t appear to be making a point. She’s simply highlighting her own stoopidity.
The song’s music video goes further into explaining just how stoopid Minaj is. During the chorus her face is gradually replaced by a strobe image of her own ass, and backing vocals provide a running commentary by repeatedly chanting “STOOPID, STOOPID! YOU STUPID, STUPID!” She then turns into a child while an air raid siren sounds, before finally declaring that she is “the female weezy.” Needless to say, the song is incomprehensibly stoopid.