File This Under: Punchlines and Basslines
#NowPlaying Nicki Minaj feat Drake & Lil’ Wayne “Only”
Raw, ruthless, and rugged are three traits hard to come by as a female MC in the year 2014. Without placing blame on the world of “Fancy,” “Anaconda,” and “We Can’t Stop,” the genre reliant on edge, allure, and cold-blooded braggadocio has needed to find its next Kim, Foxy, or Left Eye. Hip hop heads have kept on turning, eyes wide opened for that next someone to step in and shock. Stilettos, Adidas, or Timbs, it doesn’t matter – as long as she brings it, and brings it hard core. You craved that someone intimidating enough to scare, but seductive so as to entice. Someone who brings the heavy hand when you don’t do what she likes and the walk bold enough to push even the dimes to the side. Someone that comes to mind when the fellow fella rappers beg for that “bad bitch”…
That someone? Well, I think I’ve found her…But, I warn you now, hip hop heads and dime pieces, to take your seat or better yet, your asses to the sidelines. We called, she answered. You wanted a bad bitch, she came even badder. She kicked in the door before you invited her in, and you liked it. A lot.
Her name is Kandy Blaqkard, and you best remember it now ‘cause she ain’t wearing no name tag. Twenty years old with a flow like you’ve never heard and a mouth that will chop it up like a connoisseur, she doesn’t need to announce her entrance. With her recent single “Or Nah,” Atlanta based Blaqkard responds to the alike titled track by Ty Dolla $ign. Despite the song name, “Or Nah” commands more than it questions. This MC doesn’t have time to waste. Then again, who would say nah anyways? Peep the track below to see how Ms. Blaqkard gets with it.
Yes, that’s right. Beyonce finally released a statement on Solange & Jay Z’s brawl at the Met Gala. Well, more accurately, she dropped it on us in a remix collab of Flawless with newly, self-dubbed “queen of rap” Nicki Minaj. This statement isn’t just stuck in the lyrics, it’s pronounced and repeated twice — emphatically — and to a certain extent explains the business implications of Beyonce & Jay Z’s relationship. When you’re collectively worth a billion dollars, no matter how passionless your relationship has become (if at all), you cannot avoid the drama. You cannot simply get divorced and slither out of the public eye.
I don’t want to talk about Flawless. Or Bey & Jay’s relationship, even. I want to talk about FEMINISM. I got feminism on my mind and I really want you to hear my perspective.
First, I have to tell you about this week. A few days ago, I was able to catch the Seattle leg of Bey & Jay’s On the Run tour. Impressive, to say the least. Ok…to be honest it was the most fun I’ve had this year, maybe the last couple years. It was hands down the best performance I’ve ever seen, closely followed by U2’s 360 tour stop in Nashville in 2011 and Nsync/Pink/Sisqo at the Rose Bowl in 2000.
Watching Beyonce & Jay Z do their thing is like watching a salmon swim upstream. You don’t see it very often, it confuses & amazes you all at the same time, and you can’t help but wonder how it seems to be done so effortlessly. Not only can they effortlessly display their musical talent on stage, but they effortlessly enthrall us and hypnotize us into ignoring all the tabloid rumors of their imminent separation following the tour. Now that’s skill.
I was thinking about two things during the show — are Bey & Jay really happy and if not, why would they consent to go on tour together? After all, the tour was announced well after the press first got wind of the couple’s issues at the Met Gala. That video where the “shit go down on the elevator” is not fooling anyone.
So here I am, 4 days after the concert. I’ve basically spent 4 days researching Beyonce and what she stands for. I’ve watched her “Making of Self-Titled” 5-part video series on YouTube, I’ve watched performances — old and new — watching how she acts on stage, looking for any hint of inauthenticity. I’ve talked to friends who support feminist claims and those who don’t. I’ve looked into the sky and pondered.
Read this quote by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:
We teach girls to shrink themselves
To make themselves smaller
We say to girls,
‘You can have ambition
But not too much
You should aim to be successful
But not too successful
Otherwise you will threaten the man.’
Because I am female
I am expected to aspire to marriage
I am expected to make my life choices
Always keeping in mind that
Marriage is the most important
Now marriage can be a source of
Joy and love and mutual support
But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage
And we don’t teach boys the same?
We raise girls to see each other as competitors
Not for jobs or for accomplishments
Which I think can be a good thing
But for the attention of men
We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings
In the way that boys are
Feminist: the person who believes in the social
Political, and economic equality of the sexes
You might recognize that quote. It’s shockingly real. My left-minded friends might raise a fist and pump two times. My right-minded friends might furrow their brow and scoff. Regardless of where you stand politically, women surround us. It needs to be our job as men — whether you are a CEO, bagel shop owner, war veteran, or homosexual — to look at the woman next to you, adult or child — and say “You got this.”
Another thought I had while watching Beyonce perform last week was “Where do I stand on the sexual nature of her performances?” At times, I’ve felt like she performs to merely feed the eyes and minds of men and at times I’ve understood the necessity of sexual content in her songs. I’ve heard mothers shout and I’ve read mothers’ letters denouncing Beyonce as a detestable example for young girls. But after all that extensive research I cited above, I realized that Beyonce’s work is not about sex at all.
Hear me out…Beyonce is sexual, by all means, in her songs and performances. She wears the tight clothes, she thrusts her hips, and dances around poles sometimes. But it is not meant to tell girls to seek after sexual conquest. Even if Bey references the act of sex in songs like Partition, she is not telling girls to seek after sex in and of itself. Just as Adichie references girls not being able to be sexual beings in the way that boys are, Beyonce is saying the same thing. Men, as a whole, have a superiority complex when it comes to their sexual experiences and lifestyle. It’s always been like that. We might not emphasize the submission of women as verbally as we once did, but we still emphasize it. Bey is not preaching sexuality as a means to win over men, but merely as a way to say “I can assert sexual promiscuity and dominance just like men can…because I’m equal to men.”
Have you clicked on my “About” tab above and seen what I look like? In order to click “submit” on this essay, I must remind you that I am a 22-year-old white male from an upper middle class family. Oh, and I work for the railroad industry. Call me a cliché, but that’s just how it is, unfortunately. I admit that I have never been marginalized and I agree with my friend Cort when he says, “White male heritage isn’t really a thing that inspires” (and I know he would love to discuss this side of the conversation with you). I will never truly understand what a woman or a person of color goes through in their lifetime, but I hope I can live a life that inspires people around me to treat women with increasing amounts of equality each day. I may not have creative influence or a high-profile job to inspire you into action, but I have my words. So there you have it.
In all fairness, Paris was “young money cash money” before it had a label – she was the apex of glam ratchet nouveau riche last decade, even down to the Scott Storch track production…
…Today we acknowledge the presence of Nicki Palin, Jay Reagan and the rest of the spectacular Rapublican Party. Let me find out Hip Hop’s turning Rapublican.
“Money and Misogyny have been the bases for years; Minaj is something of Palin or [Rice] in that regard. Mercy, what a Rapublican Party Anthem.” – Swiper Bootz
But, let’s look at the said line in question. “I’m a Republican voting for Mitt Romney. You lazy bitches is fucking the economy.” – Nicki Minaj. The first line is an assertion, character or not, it’s still you saying it. And any theater buff knows, words matter. That’s not the worst part, the second line is what brings it home. Who are said “Lazy bitches? ” Her barbz? The reason she’s rich. #sideeye And we’re no grammar nazis, but it’s are, not is. Apparently the jokes on us, and miss Minaj is too witty for our small brains to comprehend. But then again, backpedaling is the Republican way of life.
Ha! Thank you for understanding my creative humor & sarcasm Mr. President, the smart ones always do… *sends love & support* @barackobama
— Nicki Minaj (@NICKIMINAJ) September 10, 2012
On the Orlando radio station Power 953, Obama said “…she likes to play different characters. So I don’t know what’s going on there.”
and there’s the mic. #dropit
Jay-Z’s got 99 problems, but Occupy Wall Street ain’t one of them. The rapper stated in a recent interview, “I don’t know what the fight is about…” Granted The Occupy Movement had a very fluid meaning given no stark leadership, but it doesn’t take Stephen Hawking brain power to get it. But then again, how can you get it when you’ve got everything? “When you just say that ‘the one percent is that,’ that’s not true. This is free enterprise. This is what America is built on.” #rocploy When does comprehension of anything mean you can’t make money off of it? Jay sure as hell didn’t grasp the point then but it had no problem selling shirts with the slogans…
…or exploiting the resistance for a video, but ignoring the very real plight. Sure, there’s No Church in the Wild, but apparently there are no morals in the Roc Nation as well…
I mean, when you live in the palace you tend to forget what’s looming just outside those pearly gates. But, when someone shows you who they are, believe them. Jay told us in 2001, ” I am a hustler baby, I’ll sell water to a whale.” To rehash that line, “I’m a hustler baby, I’ll sell capitalism to anti-capitalist hippies.” What’s a capitlist to someone who’ll capitlize on anything? The same man who’ll trademark his daughters name.
triptych 72 x 117 graphite, watercolor and sumi on paper
Nicki Minaj is many things, and so is this album. Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded features a handful of the artist’s recent singles and many male collaborators.
Growing up, I loved entertainment. I’m sure we all did. I huddled around the television to see what Michael Jackson cooked up for us this time. I secretly turned on MTV after hours to see what Madonna had in store for my virgin eyes. I didn’t know much about what I was watching, but I was excited. I was entertained. I was enthralled.
Let’s get this straight; I’m not here to tell you her story or her claim to fame. I simply want to commend the meanest female artist dominating the Hip Hop game. No, she ain’t Nicki nor is she Kim; this bitch bites harder. Harnessing the world with “212,” her House-meets-Hip Hop-meets-dirty Harlem princess single, Azealia Banks conquered before she even came. Locks braided long like Rapunzel and lips smothered in sweet cherry gloss, she shows the streets who’s the baddest bitch on the block. From performing in her Harlem, NY stomping grounds to Karl Lagerfield’s private party to her in-progress world tour, she brings the lyricism, the cutie-pie street swag, and the sex appeal with her. As we let this untamed artist run free, keep in mind this is only the beginning. #boom
That awkward moment when Not Obama trends worldwide as Nicki Minaj salutes self-proclaimed Mr. President “Weezy F. Baby.” // #inrelatednews Sources agree: “Our children isn’t learning.”
Live fast, die young… #badgirlsdoitwell… Maya Arulpragasm – like the Mayans – had it right… even when wrong:
See the thing about it is, I wanted to not like this video – hear me out: I wanted to not like this video because after the hoopla and hype, after the media blitzes and reductionism, this era was gearing up to be the bark of Confessions with the bite of Hard Candy #notgreat then, there’s the distractions and the white noise pulling attention from the product at hand and towards the peripheral gossip… in a nutshell: I was ready to not like this video for the same reason I was gearing up to not like Born This Way – because people were going GaGa over Madonna; but lo and behold… Pop never lets you down.
First things first: 2012 – We’ve got Madonna dropping MDNA *and* going on World Tour, and then we’ve got GaGa Born This Way Balling out of control *and,* y’know, Hauskeeping: these are facts. Head-to-head we have the Greatest Generation and the Re-Generation. Brass tacks: beyond all of the Madonna homages, there is the very apparent, clear, and present situation at hand: this is the first time Madonna is presenting a new product to the market, Anno Monstrami, since GaGa. Thus far, Madonna has battled GaGa on laurels – yes, they are some beyond-laudable laurels, but laurels nonetheless. Madonna’s past has fought her way into the future, and now she has to make good on said greatness for the first time since ever. Madonna is proving not only to herself, nor the market, nor to Universal, nor to GaGa, nor to Warner, or to LiveNation, but to Pop Culture that she is still the Franchise Player. Madonna has not faced GaGa on VEVO or the Billboard charts with new material. Madonna has not toured against GaGa. Madonna has not entered the Pop blacktop with her Jumpmans on tight and right against GaGa – until today.
Pop 2012: because this used to be my playground.
SnappIt: Madge… I can’t help but smile… This is a great video, because, well, it’s just a great video. It’s so tongue-and-cheek kitschy… it’s so literally symbolic, it’s so unironically artificial, it’s so amalgamated Pop past, it’s so hollow Bubblegum Pop pastiche, it’s so now, it’s so then, it feels… reductive – it feels so… GaGa. #notlikethat
This: is Madonna on GaGa on Madonna.
So, since Hov didn’t actually write that letter to Blue Ivy, Madonna took up a pen to draft a lil’ something for the next generation – in the form of a music video (before videos became filmhouse shorts) entitled
“This Used to Be My Playground” ”Give Me All Your Luvin’”
L-U-V Madonna / Y-O-U You wanna
I see you coming and I don’t wanna know your name
I see you coming and you’re gonna have to change the game
Would you like to try? Give me a reason why
Give me all that you got
Maybe you’ll do fine , as long as you don’t lie to me
And pretend to be what you’re not
When I first saw her, I saw her performing at a very small club in Manhattan a couple of years ago, maybe it was like three years ago, I was actually really impressed by her. I thought she was really cool and she did remind me of me back in the day. I liked her rawness and there was something fresh about there and ballsy, and when she spoke to the audience, she sounded like she had a similar sense of humor to me, quite ironic, and I liked her.
Don’t play the stupid game
Cause I’m a different kind of girl
Every record sounds the same
You’ve got to step into my world
Give me all your love and give me your love
Give me all your love today
Give me all your love and give me your love
Let’s forget about time
And dance our lives away
Right so, lyrically, it’s quite clear where we’re at #sufficetosay but the kicker here isn’t the lyrics (c’mon, it’s Pop – lyrics are 10 percent of the battle, if that)
Madge runs the gamut from Hollabackin’ Harajuku Loving Jabbawokee dance crews, to Amy Seeking sideglance suburban chic sets, a splash of the Hold It Against Parisian Nagger dubstep bridge, and more bricks than Jeezy and Rosay sprawled on the “Edge of Glory” wall. Where she goes H.A.M.est in the paint though, is through her own videography – in an ADD, campy, “Generation Too Broke to Pay Attention” way, which is kind of the point. This used to be Madge’s playground, “until these whippersnappers moved in with their constant flow of derivativeness leaving me feeling… reduced.” So, Mo reduces the reduction to a premier production: she runs the gamut from eponymous early days to Dick Tracy and well through Like A Virgin (including “Material Girl” Monroe nod – in one fell swoop – in, yo’
She’s being reductive if only for the sake of showing what it means to be so. Unlike 90% of the Pop playing field though, Madonna is not serious about it… which is kind of the point. MDNA is fun Pop, throwback mixed with a bit of contemporary smoke, mirrors, and synth… so as far as “Luvin’” goes, if this is any early indicator for the album as a whole: “If it’s gapless, she’s golden.”
Random triviality: So… collectively, Madonna shrugs off haters – and, like any Pop figure worth their weight in print, said haters fuel, support, and carry said Pop figure through their careers #loveallmyhaters…
next time you’re watching this video, remember that Madonna went to the University of Michigan, whose bitterest rival is none other than the Ohio State Buckeyes #pauseforlaughter the Buckeyes whose team colors are *gasp* scarlet, silver, and black? like *gasp* the players carrying Madonna through the video, and who inevitably get decapitated by said Pop mistress? #doublenosetap
Watch This Space: Pop comin’ out of my ears today, man #lifeisgood … M.I.A. on the side coming through #hard with THIS #hitemwiththehee
Live fast, die young, bang on the dashboard #kalashrug
She’s a massive attack on the senses; scorching eardrums with fire-breathing vocals, and blinding corneas with neon-shine vestments – and it’s all at once. She’s so pink you can taste it – a Blow Pop, scattered, chopped, and cooked up by a local street vendor on the Brooklyn block: pank; young culture’s saccharin-infused quarter water: Pank pop. Hype, hair, and hyperimmediacy with hood-pass in hand – she is the pop face of urban misses.
Her style is a snapshot; an urban blender mixing and matching gutter gear with cosmopolitan couture – pose, a harder Harajuku girl posted on the corner of Tokyo-chic and Harlem-beast – pose, a cracked mirror brightly reflecting what’s left of iconic Barbie’s shattered remains – pose, the Young Money queenpin reigning supreme beneath a neon crown – pose, an amazonian commander-in-chief sitting shotgun rocking steady in pink – pose.
Her sound bites eardrums, breaks vinyl, and borders on schizophonia. One minute she’s a soprano-pitched Valley Girl with a bubblegum Swiss Army tongue, and the next she’s laying down lines colder than Weezy’s grill, with the bassment boss swelter of Biggie Smalls. In any given moment, she’ll switch gears like a Maserati, as she blesses every track with her manic John Hancock signature flow. Her records are deviant dialogues between a milieu of manic personalities; line-by-line she throws ventriloquist vocals across a cerebral sonicscape – from Roman Zolansky to Onika, Nicki stands somewhere in between.
Her status stands as the modern matriarch of hip-hop; the princess at the pulse. Vibrant histories of female supremacy in the midst of a male-dominated world set the backdrop of Little Miss Minaj; yet it is that that very well of cultural ancestry which drowns her own independence. When we see Nicki, we see the elements that came before her: Kim, Missy, Foxy, MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, Eve… These females MCs reigned supreme by creating new standards for the urban female identity. We, however, are blessed with the curse of having seen it all before; and Nicki Minaj is the first female MC to come to fruition in the midst of modernity – those very pillars of the past, are the same shackles barring her from the big breakthrough. Here we see Neo-Nefertiti and Contempo-Cleopatra, Barbie and Harajuku Girls – but where is Nicki? It’s not enough to be the new version of a classic; it’s about being the classic version of something new. Minaj’s sarcophagus, that of shadows past, is what holds her back; she has yet to break past the hyperzeitgeist status of Don-Diva-du-jour. Du jour is of the fashion, du jour is here today and gone tomorrow, and for an artist the challenge is to make du jour last forever.
There’s something about Minaj that just doesn’t sink in, though; she’s so Hood-Pop – she is so vocally hip-hop and street, but so visibly bubblegum pink Pop. More so than past female MCs, Minaj veers towards the artifice; but more so than current, and past, pop acts, she verges towards the hard – but in that void she finds an interesting niche. Her biggest flaw, and arguably biggest deterrent to the big breakthrough, is her lack of definition. She’s not GaGa or Ke$ha because she’s too urban, she’s not Missy or Eve because she’s too pop produced; but (shout to @pmablog) griping about a pop’s overproduction, is like complaining that rap is too misogynistic, or that experimental is too weird – we get it, that’s the point, and Minaj is a fusion of the three. Moreover though, she’s too much of everything/everyone, and not enough of anything.
Once she breaks through the blur, unleashes the monster behind the mirage, and cements her own bonafide aesthetic – then the kings can watch the queen conquer. Therein lies the battle ahead: between the one who performs in living color, and the character who is living color: #nickibewhoyouwannabe
From the creative mind behind Art Nouveau, comes a new art statement. But this time its wearable. GREATeclectic embarks upon another adventure that will appeal to the artist in you. There’s nothing cooler than being cool, and now you can become an art collector.
Ned Kelly is a notorious Australian gangster considered a cold-blooded killer and is symbolic in Australia for political resistance. Think Scarface, but with a purpose. Grace Kelly is an iconic American actress that is known as much for her poise as her monologues. “I use to be obsessed with Grace Kelly. When I get married, I want to dress like her. She’s so gracefully chic. […] if i was a diva, I want to be that diva without the diamonds.” Iggy Azalea spiels about Ned Kelly over lushing about how much she misses meat-pies from her hometown of, Australia, and easily changes subjects to her love of Grace Kelly.
Nicki Minaj aka Onika Maraj aka Young Money Mistress aka #yougetthegist released the video for “Moment 4 Life” yesterday, which is the third single from her debut album Pink Friday. The clip takes stage as a modern fairy tale, featuring Mr. Young Money himself, Sir Drake, as Minaj’s knight in sullen armor.
A couple of glasses of Sangria and blunts into my weekend, my friend decides it might be fun to watch some B-rated movies. Here we are in her loft in Midtown, Atlanta watching some of the strangest films I’ve ever came across. Among them was the cult-classic, Kids, featuring a very young and promiscuous, Rosario Dawson. The conclusion of the film left me thinking about apathy. Why some people just have no regard for what you’d think would be a major concern for most people? I still don’t have the answer.