Nicki Minaj fans got some new "I told you so" ammo while many rap purists are either rolling their eyes or crying foul. This past weekend, in a piece for the New York Times, Jon Caramanica writes of Minaj, "...when she releases her second album, 'Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded,' this week, it will be as the most influential female rapper of all time."
That is a loaded statement. In the story, Caramanica points to all the female rappers that have followed in Nicki Minaj's wake as evidence of this alleged all time influence. XX chromosome possessing MCs like Iggy Azalea, Brianna Perry, Nitty Scott and Azealia Banks (who surely will disagree), in obvious and subtle ways owe the Harajaku Barbie a debt for their current fortunes.
The problem with this argument most people will readily point to is the fact that, at least early on in her career, Nicki Minaj cribbed much of her style heavily from one Lil' Kim. Even if you don't care to follow that train of thought, many of Minaj's current moves (Pop music dreams, outlandish outfits) have her seeming like a poor woman's Lady Gaga. Yes, Nicki Minaj is becoming her only female Rap (with Pop goals) archetype, but not highlighting were she got a lot of her style from is problematic. The only time Lil' Kim, and Foxy Brown, are mentioned in the Times story is in regards to Brianna Perry (who coincidentally dropped a track called "Marilyn Monroe" before the one found on Minaj's new album):
Flexible in a different way is the Miami rapper Brianna Perry, who recently signed to Atlantic. Ms. Perry most resembles the main earlier model of female rap success, the sex kitten and gangster's moll poses honed by Lil' Kim and Foxy Brown in the mid-1990s. (There's even YouTube footage of Ms. Perry performing at a recent birthday party for Lil' Kim in Miami.)
Also going without mention in the story is Lauryn Hill, a major inspiration on any and all MCs, regardless of gender, who Nicki has sighted as a muse multiple times; most recently in an interview with Hot 97's Funkmaster Flex. Also, at least a handful of these all time great rapping ladies should have a legit beef, too.
While there is no question Nicki Minaj is one of the Hip-Hop game's most influential artists, saying she is the most influential female artist of all time is a reach. Especially days before her sophomore album has even been released.
Spotted at: Black Book
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