Words: Adam O Reilly
Nicki Minaj is one of the most talented people working in the music industry, that I have zero doubts. Her flow, lyrics and presentation from the beginning of Nicki Minaj have been unparalleled and there’s no doubt she’s secured her place as one of the most talented rappers of all time. Onika Tanya Maraj started to gain notoriety as an artist after releasing her mixtapes; Playtime Is Over (2007), Sucka Free (2008), and Beam Me Up Scotty (2009). Nicki got her big break in 2009 when she signed with Young Money Entertainment and went on to release her first studio album Pink Friday in 2010.
Is this the beginning of Nicki’s fall
Nicki has got the talent and that’s something no one can take away from her but that doesn’t mean she’s invincible. In the last couple of months I’ve seen the cracks in her armour start to deepen and the public have finally decided to take interest. Scrolling through Twitter over the last couple of weeks I’ve seen pockets of an anti-Nicki movement that I can’t help but feel is about to snowball into something a lot bigger. It seems like people are no longer willing to turn a blind eye to the missteps Nicki Minaj has been taking essentially since the beginning of her career as we know it.
Nicki Minaj’s new collaboration with rapper 6ix9ine
Nicki has a new bop out with 6ix9ine. It’s great, everything with her name on it is usually feugo but it’s who she’s chosen to collaborate with that has the citizens of the internet stirring. ‘FeFe’ makes for good listening, it has a mellow beat which carries a trance vibe mixed with the clever lyrics we’ve come to expect from Nicki. But here’s the thing, 6ix9ine has a bad history involving minors. On February 21 2015 he uploaded videos of a 13 year old girl in various states of undress dancing for his friends and at one point performing oral sex on one of them. 6ix9ine didn’t engage in sexual activity with the child as per his videos but in the oral sex video he stood behind the child thrusting his crotch at her and smacking her butt.
So here’s the thing, we already know he’s trash but why is Nicki working with him? Why did Nicki give him his first Billboard top 10? I’m not trying to take away focus from what he did, he was sentenced to mental health treatment and community service and I have no interest in him at this point I hope he took the time to grow and realise the gravity of his actions. As for Nicki I don’t understand why she’s getting into bed with a roach. It’s not like these were rumours, there is literal video evidence uploaded by the rapper himself who admitted he knew the girl was like 13/14. In the age of the Times Up and Me Too movements Nicki Minaj remains in the shadows of ignorance or indifference as it may be. To me, Nicki Minaj always stood (past tense) as a figure of female empowerment in the music industry. Rap music has always been dominated by men but Nicki Minaj was one of the first female rappers to be able to stand shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Jay Z, Diddy, Kanye, Drake et al and be recognised as a formidable competitor.
People are upset with Nicki’s decision to support a sex offender. I get that, i can’t imagine it’s easy for abuse survivors who are fans of Nicki Minaj to understand her decision. It’s just a lot of mixed signals. So many of Nicki’s songs make nods to female empowerment, financial freedom and promoting your own power, so it’s confusing to see her work with 6ix9ine on a record. Is she just selling us an image because she knows that we’ll buy it or is that really who she is? I can’t help but feel that for all Nicki’s talents she’s always been held back by her own sense of entitlement and sense of ego.
Nicki Minaj live in Dublin
So where does this leave me? I’ve got tickets to her tour with Future coming up in March 2019 in the 3 Arena. Even though I’m sitting here and criticising her for collaborating with a sex offender I’m still paying money to go see her perform. Do I have blood on my hands now too? Not in the literal sense but I am willfully paying into the institution that is Nicki Minaj and therefore taking on everything she represents as a person. Would I buy a cake off anyone associated with the bakery who refused to serve that gay couple? No, so why am I willing to spend money on someone associated with a sex offender.
I don’t have a resolution to this. This blog post doesn’t end with a big revelation. It’s more of a self-criticism and an uncertainty about drawing the line when it comes to supporting an artist. I know I’m not alone in this either. I don’t want to get into the whole XXXtentacion drama but people’s (a lot of people) support didn’t dwindle after finding out he was abusive (understatement) to his girlfriend. Is it ok to separate art from the artist or are we all guilty by association? At what point do you abandon an artist?