TAKE #9: Is Nicki Minaj the Greatest Female Rapper of all Time?

Yikes. I’ve fallen back behind on thursday email lol. I don’t know what happened this week. I set the oven a little bit on fire this morning trying to make granola, so I think that’s indicative of how my week has been going lol. But I’m here to talk about Nicki Minaj. I was watching an episode of “Unpopular Opinion” – a series that KevOnStage does on his YouTube channel – and Doboy, a comedian and one of KevOnStage’s close friends, was arguing that Nicki Minaj was one the greatest female rapper of all time. And I….just can’t agree with that.

A lot of Doboy’s argument was focused on the number of awards and album sales that Nicki has under her belt, which were shot down pretty heavily by some arguments from Tahir Moore and KevOnStage, so I won’t get into that too much. Instead what I want to focus on is well-roundedness, something that I think Nicki is not. For me, the title of “greatest artist of all time” incorporates a couple of things: 1) your bars, 2) your overall creative output (including music videos), 3) your ATTITUDE (which we’ll get to specifically with Nicki soon), and 4) the folks you’ve been associated with. There are, of course, other things like how long you’ve been in the game, but for me, those 4 things are what I’m measuring a person’s greatness with.

Bar-wise, Nicki has had some decent songs. I’ve never heard any of her stuff before she got into the mainstream, but I’ve heard some pretty good things about mixtape Nicki. I also would be fake if I didn’t mention that I LOVED her verse on “Monster.” “Romans Revenge” is another song that really sticks out for me. Ooh, I’ll also give her her verse on Drake’s “Up All Night”- THAT was a good verse. But she’s also had some flops, in my opinion. “Stupid Hoe” was a good song, but there were no bars. Same with “Beez in the Trap” and “Anaconda.” They were all good songs; I like them a lot but like….where are the bars? And for me, that inconsistency is a big reason why, from jump, I can’t really give her G.O.A.T. title. I don’t need bars all the time, but if the majority of your stuff is turn up/function music, then…¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Other than her starring in one of the Ice Age movies and a couple of decent music videos, I don’t really have a bunch to say about her creative output outside of solely music. Looking on her wiki page, she was in a couple of other movies, but I don’t see very many producer credits (if there are, I’m sure they’re predominately her songs) or songs she wrote for other people. So again…¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I think a large part of what helped Nicki be put on so much is that she was coming up around the same time – and on the same label – as Drake. I don’t really mess with Drake or his music like that because of some unsavory allegations, but Drake was THE biggest rapper at one point (he had a long stretch from around in the (early) 2010s and is still popular now) and being able to attach herself to him was helpful. Wayne was also still giving us FIRE songs, so she was able to ride on his coat tails as well. It also helped that she was the biggest female rapper in the early 2010s because the competition was minimal. She was winning all of the “Best Female Rapper” awards because she was really the only one in the mainstream LOL.

Take these BET awards she won between 2012-2014 (these aren’t all of them, but this is gonna prove my point):

Now, let’s look at who was nominated for the 2012-2014 “Best Female Hip-Hop Artist” awards:

2012: Diamond, Nicki Minaj, Brianna Perry, Trina; 2013: Azealia Banks, Eve, Nicki Minaj, Rasheeda, and Rye Rye; 2014: Nicki Minaj, Angel Haze, Charli Baltimore, Eve, Iggy Azalea

Like, y’all…who else was gonna get the awards if it wasn’t her???? LOL? Like, I’m not trying to shade anybody, but none of the people that were being nominated with her had a chance. Not during those years. And that’s not to say that Nicki didn’t work her ass off for those awards, because I’m sure she did. But when your competition is just you (and not in a cliche way, but like…for real lol), you can’t lose! So the awards have to really be looked at in the context of who was being nominated with her and when those awards were given out. Because if we just say Nicki won such and such amount of BET Awards, without getting into that a lot of them were the same award for which she was the only nominee that made sense, then you lose some perspective that is actually important to the conversation.

And then the last thing I wanna touch on is attitude. Nicki has often had a trash one. I cannot separate her inability to care about and for other (Black) women from her artistic work. She has supported (alleged) abusers and sexual predators (in the form of folks CLOSE to her e.g. her FIANCE and her BROTHER), has bashed other female artists (e.g. Cardi B), and has stood by while her fans have sent death threats to people who dare to speak out at all negatively about Nicki or even just voice there opinions. I remember about a year ago a Black woman either wrote or said something about how she was a big Nicki fan, but wanted some more mature music from her, and the fans ripped that woman to shreds and sent her death threats. Even though she expressed her appreciation for Nicki OPENLY. I CANNOT separate that stuff from her music, and I question the morals of folks who have the ability to. I want my favorite artists or folks who I consider to be the G.O.A.T.s to uphold the same basic values that I do, and that means that I can’t support alleged abusers or people who support alleged abusers. If people who look like you (i.e. other Black women and girls) don’t feel safe or comforted by what you stand by, what’s the point? Your physical and musical presence in a space that hasn’t always been for us DOESN’T absolve you for being responsible for uplifting and empowering BLACK WOMEN AND GIRLS!!!!!

So no. I don’t think that Nicki is the Greatest Female Rapper of All Time. Do I think she’s a legend and that her career is legendary? Yeah! People will be talking about Nicki for a long time. But do I also understand that she misses the mark in a lot of ways?

Yep.


here’s something else you might like:

TAKE #8: Thoughts on the Joe Budden and Lupe Fiasco Convo from IG Live

About a week ago, Joe Budden and Lupe Fiasco went on IG Live – well, Lupe went on live and Joe Budden hopped in the conversation – and talked about the music industry. The conversation was mostly centered on a round of Oppression Olympics, where Joe continuously devalues how bad Lupe was (allegedly) mistreated by … Continue reading TAKE #8: Thoughts on the Joe Budden and Lupe Fiasco Convo from IG Live

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