Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Nicki In Clash Magazine

Taking on Jay-Z and Kanye West implies you’re either stupid or have big balls. Nicki Minaj ain’t and don’t. But what she does have is a vocal style that opts for the confrontational rather than all-out aggressive, delivering her batshit rhymes with a roving economy many of her male counterparts would do well to adopt. “Yeah I’m in that Tonka, colour of Willy Wonka / You could be the King but watch the Queen conquer,” Minaj roars during her jaw-to-the-floor guest appearance on Kanye’s ‘Monster’.

But Onika Tanya Maraj (AKA Nicki Minaj) is far more than a gob-for-hire and whilst ‘Monster’ will act as 101 to many, the coming twelve months look certain to see the hip-hop hive fall to the beat of a new queen bee.

Moving from her native Trinidad and Tobago at the age of five to live in the New York borough of Queens, Minaj is marinated in the patchwork of her adopted hometown - callous and materialistic one moment, sentimental and welcoming the next. Cutting her teeth on a couple of stellar mixtapes (‘Beam Me Up Scotty’ and ‘Barbie World’), Minaj possessed a confidence and unwillingness to adhere to gender tropes that would have made her a prime target for the ubiquitous haters were it not for the innate talent fuelling her larynx.

Festooned in a cerise wig and matching lippy, Minaj flirts with the overt sexuality that plagues hip-hop; refusing to succumb to the notion of women as trophies to be paraded alongside grinted teeth and snazzy rims. Minaj takes her position as a role model seriously - avoiding the wanky faux-feminism of Lady Gaga in favour of an authentic portrait of 21st Century womanhood.

Vocally touching base with the likes of Santigold, MIA and Eve, Minaj’s cadence closest resembles that of Missy Elliot - but where the grandmother of hip-hop sticks primarily to rap Minaj is just as willing to get her lungs out. Showcased on the Annie Lennox-sampling ‘Your Love’, Nicki Minaj has a deep and soulful singing voice that lends her debut album ‘Pink Friday’ a contrast all too often missing from urban leaning releases. And it is this ability to exist in the overlapping Venn diagram of pop, hip-hop and credibility that will see Nicki Minaj owning 2011 with pink volition. Digested read; she is mother fucking monster!

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