Awhile back I made a promise to myself, and subsequently the blog, that I would no longer write any album reviews that just “trash” an album. By this I meant that if I didn’t have anything to say about the record other than that I thought that it was “bad,” that there was no point in giving it any attention, let alone calling someone’s art “bad” and posting it on the internet.
What I have done however, is write articles that disagree with what artists have said on their records; such as the rap industry’s history of blatant homophobia, J. Cole’s mistrust of mental health professionals, Drake’s mistreatment of relationship dynamics, and a myriad of other concerns and critiques of the language used by some of the biggest names in music.
Like Kanye West’s ye, and the records listed above, it’s hard to separate the artist from the music (and it’s why I actively try to not promote the work of artists who spread hate speech or have been convicted of sexual assault), but with the arrival of Queen and Nicki Minaj’s actions post-release, it has become more and more difficult to separate the artist from the album.
Unlike Kanye West or XXXTentacion, music isn’t the place Nicki Minaj goes to escape—Queen is Nicki Minaj. After fellow-female rappers such as Cardi B, Rapsody, Remy Ma, and countless others took the spotlight over the past two years, Nicki Minaj decided it was time to take her title back as the greatest female MC of all time.
The one problem however, is that hip-hop had finally evolved to accept the success of more than one female rapper. Cardi B and Nicki Minaj could be popular, just like any and all male counterparts in the industry, and Nicki didn’t have to feud with artists such as Lil’ Kim or Azealia Banks to claim the respect of her peers. All she had to do, like anyone who wants to be successful in the rap game, was put out some hits.
That’s not to say that more isn’t expected of her than her male counterparts, as sexism in the industry forces her to embody the image of both a queen and a sexual icon 24/7, while male rappers can strut out on stage in sweatpants and a tank-top (nothing is more of an example than the On the Run II Tour with Beyoncé and Jay-Z), but for Nicki, this is in her blood. All she wanted to with Queen, and all that she was obsessed with, was to put out a “classic” album.
Undoubtedly her best release of her entire career, Queen is the embodiment of Nicki Minaj; whether it be her playful yet cunningly harsh bars on “Barbie Dreams,” or pure dominating hits like “Chun-Li.” She showcases every facet of her musical prowess, including pop hits like “Bed” with Ariana Grande, and Young Money history sounding staples such as “LLC.”
When Nicki Minaj lost the No. 1 album spot to Travis Scott’s Astroworld, however; she, to put it ever so lightly, lost her goddamn mind. This was supposed to be the self-perpetuated Queen of Rap’s “classic album,” and it charted at No. 2. To Nicki Minaj, this meant defeat. She even altered the album leading up to its final days, by re-recording the chorus to the intro track “Ganja Burns” and adding “Fefe,” her track with the incredibly-controversial artist 6ix9ine, as the new closing song.
It’s in this post-wake period, of losing the No. 1 spot and the belief that she must defend herself from the horrible things people constantly say on the internet, that Nicki begins to take things too far. While she has a great point when it comes to how Billboard conducts its album sales equivalents from tour merch, streaming, etc., she doesn’t have to call Travis Scott a “stupid f**k.”
Sure, Nicki later says that “we are in a time right now where black music is prospering,” which is her way of supporting Travis’ career right after insulting him, but it sure doesn’t help when it immediately follows her calling him the “Auto-Tune man selling fucking sweaters telling you he sold half a million albums,” and stating, “I know I’m that bitch, I know I’m Number 1.”
At the same time, she was also taking heat for not only doing a song with 6ix9ine, a rapper who has plead guilty to sexual misconduct with a 13-year old girl and could wind up having to register as a sex offender, but later defending her support of him when the VMA’s wouldn’t allow him on stage to perform with her.
“I don’t want anyone to think for a second that I would not have asked him to come on my stage to perform his amazing hit ‘Fefe.’ I want everyone to know my character,” she said on the same radio show she insulted Travis Scott on. “The thing with me, when I know somebody there’s nothing you can tell me about them,” she continued, “That’s just how it is.” Not even, “well… you know he’s going to have to register as a sex offender for his crimes, right?” Apparently not.
“People have a lot to say because obviously the Nicki hate train is in full effect,” she remarked, “So I laugh, I don’t give a fuck, y’all cant stop me. I ain’t going nowhere.” While most of the “Nicki hate” is entirely unfounded, internet idiocracy, it does stand that Nicki’s comments as of late have not only been hateful and full of spite, but has proven that she’s not the greatest Queen. Just this past week, she called Travis Scott’s manager a “c**k sucker” and wrote on Instagram that her fans should find the Billboard writer that wrote that her tour was “cancelled” instead of “postponed” and physically harm them because of it.
The shots she fired on “Barbie Dreams” were hilarious, but the shots she’s fired since have been demeaning. Queen is a good record, and she clearly has the talent to be one of the greatest rappers of all time (if she’s not already in the running), but if she’s insulting her fellow artists, supporting known sex offenders, and inciting violence over media criticism of her actions, that’s not a Queen I can stand behind.
What do you think? Drop your thoughts in the comments below.