BY //TRACY GARRAUD
Nicki Minaj’s odd, exorcist-themed 2012 Grammy performance of her single Roman Holiday confirmed that many folks are no longer interested in trying to decode her antics. However, if you ask the lady in red herself, she’d likely dismiss you with the flip of a finger. Since her Pink Friday debut in November 2010, it seems every month the Minaj brand grows more polarizing. And the catalyst is her insatiable appetite for pop.
The more popular Minaj balloons in pop star Lady Gaga’s wacky playground— she’s even using her former creative director, Laurieann Gibson— the more she sinks in her hometown of hip-hop. There’s no doubt the rapper’s cartoon charm helped elevate her stature in the hip-hop game; however, as time passes she appears to almost be a slave to her own spectacle— all-weird-everything with no real artistic purpose in sight. This wouldn’t be such a talking point if habitual blockbuster performances made up for wild getups. But those, despite platinum record sales, are sorely lacking.
Still, no female MC has ever seen her own doll auctioned off by Mattel or performed at the Super Bowl, NBA All-Star Weekend and Grammys all within 30 days. And it is indeed hard for hip-hop fans not to fall back in love with Minaj when she drops a sassy winner, such as Big Sean’s Dance, or shows off a bit of her sexy but thuggish lyrics on Roman Reloaded, the second single from her sophomore album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, due out April 3.
It’s hard to determine whether Minaj’s bubblegum-infused rap brand will implode or ascend to new peaks. Her latest singles seem to mirror her Grammy performance: they’re not quite hot. Regardless, it seems hip-hop needs her swag…when she feels like rapping.