I’m not a fan of Nicki Minaj. Yeah, I said it. Her voice and “characters” already took my last nerve. But with her much anticipated freshman release Pink Friday dropping November 22, Minaj is in the mouths of fans and haters alike.
I’m not concerned here, however, with Minaj’s lyricism or talent. I’m interested in what Minaj’s multiple identies suggest about women in hip-hop.
During the 2010 BET Hip Hop Awards, DJ Khaled introduced self-proclaimed entertainer Minaj as “Nicki Minaj, Nicki Minaj, Nicki Minaj, Nicki Minaj, and Nicki Minaj.” As Minaj began to speak, she significantly altered her voice five times to show her “multiple personas.” People cheered.
Whether in the capacity of video models or (f)emcees, women in hip-hop are so underrepresented that they are always fighting against the current. In the powerful (and long overdue) documentary My Mic Sounds Nice old school artists like Roxanne Shante, Salt-N-Pepa, MC Lyte, and Yo Yo talked about the need to lyrically keep their game up. Battling for them was a way to be acknowledged, heard, and visible.
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Photo Credit: hiphopmusic.com