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Dear Old Nicki

When questioned about the content of her sophomore album, Nicki held firm the entire time, consistently stating that she’s proud of her pop work, but it’s weird to see Nicki even having to explain herself. Why are we debating the merit of her foray into other genres like “Starships” isn’t incredible? Why aren’t we having a discussion about how positive her eccentricities are in an occasionally stagnant culture and why it’s necessary to not give a fuck about artistic restraints as much as Nicki didn’t on that album?

Here is an interesting addition to the Eternal Nicki Minaj Debate: does her pop music undermine her as a serious hip hop artist? Ernest Baker makes the case that Nicki’s pure pop songs—like “Starships” and “Super Bass”—are cementing her legacy and ensuring that she’ll “go down in history next to Cyndi Lauper and Madonna, and not Remy Ma. We should applaud how that helps hip-hop add to a larger doctrine of great, powerful female artists.” 

Baker’s piece was inspired by Minaj’s appearance on Hot 97 last week, when she confronted DJ Peter Rosenberg for hopefully the final time, but it certainly fits into a broader narrative of female artists having to apologize for adapting and appreciating pop music. “I’m tired of people telling me I’m ignorant for liking pop and hip hop, because I’m not,” Canadian singer-songwriter Grimes wrote on her blog back in February. “The first time I heard Mariah Carey it shattered the fabric of my existence and I started Grimes.” And here’s Minaj on Hot 97: “Even when I’m on stage performing my rap songs, it’s more organic, it’s more authentic. But I still grew up loving Cyndi Lauper and Madonna.”

Nothing wrong with that. Read Baker’s piece here.


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