Nicki Minaj’s plot for world pop culture domination is nearing completion. During the past month, the singer announced the November re-release of the next chapter in her Leaves of Grass“esque Pink Friday saga, became the newest American Idol judge, and released a brand of perfume that looks like the urn for a cremated cyborg prostitute. As if that weren’t enough, Minaj recently stated in an interview with Perez Hilton that she would “consider” working on a reality television show. Minaj explained, “The more people see, the more they understand, and the more they like you. If you only have such one-dimensional things to go off as rumors or stuff on blogs, then you never get to know the artist. But sometimes, when you pull them into your world, they understand everything.” Reportedly, Minaj’s show would air on the E! Network, the home of fellow misunderstood families like the Kardashians, who have yet to make sense to anybody.
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Let’s face it, sometimes the past should stay dead. But when an awesome musical artist fades from popularity, their fans later wonder, Where are they now? You may not know it, but many artists you loved in the past are still hard at work writing new albums or preparing to tour once more. Fortunately, you now have Second Coming to reintroduce you to some of your favorite acts of the last few decades and give you the scoop on what you can expect from them in the future!
THEN: A protégé of the late Notorious B.I.G., Lil’ Kim made her debut as a member of rap group Junior M.A.F.I.A in 1995. A year later, she reintroduced herself to the world as a solo artist by dropping her own album, Hard Core, and appearing on tracks by Mary J. Blige and Missy Elliott in 1997. The album, which was very accurately described as “gangsta porno rap” by US politician C. Delores Tucker, raised more than a few eyebrows. Kim’s sophomore album, The Notorious K.I.M. (see what she did there?), reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 200 charts. The same year, she contributed to the anthemic “Lady Marmalade” cover sung by Christina Aguilera, Missy Elliott, P!nk and Mya for the Moulin Rouge soundtrack. She saw additional success with her duets with 50 Cent (“Magic Stick”) and X-Tina again (“Can’t Hold Us Down”), but her fourth album, The Naked Truth, didn’t do so well, commercially. In 2005, she served a year-long prison sentence for perjury. Four years later, Kim returned to the spotlight when she appeared on Dancing With The Stars and finished in fifth place.
NOW: Though she hasn’t released an official album, Kim has been in music news lately, thanks to her ongoing rap feud with Nicki Minaj. Soon after accusing Minaj of stealing her style, Kim became the subject of Minaj’s biting, diss-laden track “Roman’s Revenge,” which featured Eminem. Kim responded with a mixtape titled Black Friday, taking multiple shots at Minaj’s album Pink Friday. The rap battle rages on, as Nicki has seen recent success with her Kim-targeted single “Stupid Hoe,” and has named her sophomore album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded after Roman, her angry male alter-ego who loves to hate on Kim.
But, feuds aside, Kim’s gearing up for a big year in 2012, including the release of her new album. She enlisted the help of rap heavyweights 50 Cent and Dr. Dre for the record, which has not yet been titled. Kim has also written a book, titled The Price of Loyalty, which is set to be released simultaneously with the album, as well been the subject of a documentary. According to ThisBeatGoes.com, Kim said the following about her book: When I did my book deal they were basically like ˜we want the Kim life story.’ But my lawyers were like ˜no, no, that’s like four different checks. ‘Cause [my story is] to be continued, to be continued, to be continued.
It’s everyone’s favorite stripper quartet! Check out Lil’ Kim’s appearance in the video for “Lady Marmalade” below:
Thom Yorke tackles all the hits
Thom Yorke isn’t exactly known for his blithe, insouciant demeanor. So seeing his herky-jerky freestyle dancing on Radiohead’s video for Lotus Flower off their new record, King of Limbs, sparked the imagination of some clever fans. Now the Internet is abuzz with Thom Yorke memes dancing to anything from Single Ladies to Welcome to the Jungle. Behold the original video and our personal favorite below.
Rufus Wainwright has daughter with Leonard Cohen’s daughter
Rufus Wainwright announced the birth of his daughter, Viva Katherine Wainwright Cohen, this week on his Web site. Baby mama is no other than Lorca Cohen, daughter of the venerable Leonard Cohen. Between the Wainwright and Cohen songwriting DNA, this kid has no choice but to rebel and become an accountant.
Coke strips the hip away from Daft Punk
Coca-Cola, through some sort of deal with Satan, has convinced Daft Punk to team up with them on a limited edition run of Daft Coke. Look at it. It’s supposed to resemble the French duo’s helmets. This promotion is about as cool as your mom putting on plastic shoulder horns and telling people she’s Lady Gaga.
Hold It Against Me finally gets a video release
It’s here, and it’s queer. Britney Spear’s anticipated video for Hold It Against Me is a bizarre and befuddling montage of eyeless dancers, fighting Britneys and paint gun splatter. It’s not really edgy or sexy”and for that reason, it’s kind of perfect for the song. Watch it below and see if you agree.
Lil’ Kim puts the “dis” in discussion of Nicki Minaj
Lil’ Kim minced no words in a recent interview with Rap-Up about her rival, Nicki Minaj. I just think that people give her more credit than she actually deserves, she gripes. The rapper went on to discuss her inability to listen to Pink Friday in its entirety, and how her beautiful fans told her to put a decapitated Minaj on the cover of her new mixtape, Black Friday. Now all we need is for one of them to make a video for it featuring a dancing Thom Yorke.
Justin Bieber gets himself kilt on CSI
If you heard what sounded like the collective caterwaul of millions of teenage girls last Thursday, it was because of this:
- Lady Gaga’s Born This Way video will debut Feb 28
- Patrick Stump drops solo EP, Truant Wave
- Eminem gets 1 billion views on YouTube videos
- Katy Perry sings acoustic set of Rihanna, Willow Smith and Jay-Z
- David Archuleta gets dropped by Jive
- Kanye West’s All of The Lights video drops
- 10-year-old plays Born This Way on piano, becomes YouTube sensation
- TV On The Radio releases new single, “Will Do”
- Foo Fighters release new single, Rope
- New Smashing Pumpkins bassist is not the kid on Siamese Dream cover
The claws are out, with female rappers sharpening their fangs and tongues in an ego-filled catfight. Reigning queen of the hip hop charts, Nicki Minaj has been fielding insults from Lil’ Kim since the summer, when Kim called out the rookie for biting her style”specifically her wigs. During a New York concert, Kim and guest, Ray J took digs at Minaj, saying, You respect me, I respect you. If you don’t respect me, then f”k you. Kim elaborated on her feelings during a Philly radio interview with Kendra G, where she explained that Nicki hadn’t paid proper homage to the Queen Bee.
While this didn’t prompt an immediate response from Minaj, her friend and labelmate, Drake took up the fight at a Connecticut concert, where he used no uncertain terms to take sides. I don’t give a f— what Lil’ Kim or nobody else is talking about”you’re the baddest chick to ever do this sh–.
Kim continued her crusade against Nicki, this time adding Diddy to her list of offenders, saying Puffy should be ashamed of his f—in’ self, likely airing her disappointment that he was now managing Minaj.
Nicki, who has at least publically paid homage to the female emcees who came before her (most memorably during last year’s BET Award acceptance speech, and repeatedly during radio interviews) initially responded as a hurt fan of Kim. She explained numerous times that she loved and respected Lil’ Kim, and that while her intention was never to bite her style she was undoubtedly influenced by the prolific rapper. As the accusations continued, however, it seems Nicki had a change of heart, and enlisted Eminem to help her deliver the message in a late addition to her album, Roman’s Revenge. In the track, Nicki takes aim at Kim, calling her a has been, and telling her to send her a thank you note for making her relevant again. Is this the thanks I get for putting you bitc–es on?/Is it my fault that all of you bit”s gone?/Shoulda sent a thank-you note, you little ho/Now I’ma wrap your coffin with a bow¦ She even filmed the recording of this track for her MTV special, My Time Now where she explains Roman’s origins, as an aggressive persona brought out of her by the haters.
In an interview with New York’s Hot 97, Minaj told Angie Martinez that she was puzzled by Kim’s harsh words. She impersonated Kim’s Brooklyn accent while recounting their conversation at a Lil’ Wayne show, which Nicki says was an amicable clearing of the air. Minaj claims that at that same show, Foxy Brown told her that Kim didn’t like her, and constantly spoke ill of her. Minaj called Kim out on her insecurities, claiming the former Queen was threatened by her success. She showed no signs of backing down, saying “You gotta be careful when you pick fights…”
Foxy jumped in on the action, Twittering that Minaj was a liar, claiming that the conversation never happened.
Kim’s response to the song was a diss track, Black Friday, released in November. In it, Kim calls Minaj a clone, call her a gimmick, a wannabe, rapping I’m the blueprint you ain’t nothin’ brand new/Check your posters and videos/You’ll always be number two.
Foxy Brown has piped up again, perhaps in an effort to catch some shine off the situation; and released her own diss track, Massacre last week. Brown takes shots at Kim (rekindling a years long beef) calling her diss track garbage, That bullsh”˜Black Friday’ shit was garbage/ How the f”k you love B.I.G. and shit on Ms. Wallace? alluding to Kim’s previous dispute with Biggie’s mother over her unflattering portrayal in the Notorious biopic.
Now that we’ve hammered out the details, whose side are you on? Has Kim been disrespected, or is she simply riding Nicki’s coattails to revive her own career? Can the Queen Bee reclaim her crown? Or is it time to pass the femcee torch?
Pink Friday officially arrived after an unauthorized leak last Wednesday, unleashing the storm that is Nicki Minaj‘s first-full length album. Today, on its release date, (Pink Monday?) Nicki’s debut”the 13-track LP which features cameos from an eclectic bunch including Drake, Eminem, will.i.am, and Natasha Bedingfield among others” is one of the most highly-anticipated records of the year.
With all the pre-album buzz swirling around her seemingly overnight super-stardom earlier this year, this album accomplishes the unattainable task of living up to the hype.
Nicki’s multiple personas are on full display, showcasing her versatility and depth as a writer and performer. At times, she comes off as a soft, vulnerable woman caught in the trenches of love in songs like Right Thru Me and Save Me. The next moment, she’s a fierce firestorm of confidence, virtually unshakable with her no-holds-barred, aggressive rhymes that go toe to toe with some of the rawest men in the game on tracks like Did It On ‘em and Here I Am.
All these bitches is my sons¦If I had a dick, I’d pull it out and piss on ˜em
More inspirational tracks like Fly, featuring Rihanna, hone in on the quest to overcome life’s obstacles and succeed despite adversity. The uplifting track inspires hope and strength and was produced by Britney [Spears] collaborator, J.R. Rotem. Minaj offers a glimpse into her core with Dear Old Nicki, a track she literally penned to her former self, reconciling her current success with the work it took to get it. In a way, she’s congratulating herself on a job well done, while convincing herself and others it hasn’t changed her.
The beats on her album are as diverse as the content, jumping from hard, bass-driven sounds to pop-techno stylings on songs like Check It Out featuring will.i.am. She samples Simple Minds’ 1985 hit, Don’t You (Forget About Me) on Blazin, featuring Kanye West and finishes the album with an unexpected rock-tinged twist on Last Chance featuring Natasha Bedingfield.
Pink Friday promises a closer look into Ms. Minaj’s never-ending bag of tricks. If that’s not enough, Nicki has one final treat for fans when her MTV documentary My Time Now premieres November 28th.
1. I’m The Best
2. Roman’s Revenge (feat. Eminem)
3. Did It On ‘em
4. Right Thru Me
5. Fly (feat. Rihanna)
6. Save Me
7. Moment 4 Life (feat. Drake)
8. Check It Out (feat. will.i.am)
9. Blazin (feat. Kanye West)
10. Here I Am
11. Dear Old Nicki
12. Your Love
13. Last Chance (feat. Natasha Bedingfield)
14. Super Bass
15. Blow Ya Mind
17. Girls Fall Like Dominoes (Bonus Track)
Cortney Wills is a pop culture journalist born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She has lived in LA, Chicago and NYC and enjoys all things entertainment.
It’s hard to believe the “Queen of Mixtapes” turned Queen of Features can’t perceive her own buzz. If you’re tuned in to a hip hop station, chances are good that you’ll hear Nicki Minaj on at least three songs in a row. She’s currently featured on ten songs in heavy rotation, including “My Chick Bad” with Ludacris, “Bottoms Up” with Trey Songz, and “Get It All” with Sean Garrett.
Featured on over thirty tracks this year with artists ranging from Gucci Mane to Christina Aguilera, Minaj has demonstrated remarkable versatility without ever releasing an album. Her own single, “Your Love” soared to #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #7 on the Hot R&B/ Hip Hop chart after the previously discarded track was leaked in June.
What’s the appeal? Her dynamic deliveries, quirky characters, and cartoon-like voices lend a theatrical element to her rhymes that haven’t been seen from a female emcee. She’s unapologetic about her sexuality, confident in her abilities, and unyielding in her quest for super-stardom. It also doesn’t hurt that she’s down with the reigning cool kids of hip hop, signing with Lil Wayne’s, Young Money imprint in 2009. Her verse on Young Money’s hugely successful single, “Bedrock” puts her at the center of the crew’s triumphant takeover as she held her own alongside hip hop’s current golden child, Drake. She nabbed two BET Awards this year including “Best New Artist”, and is nominated for an MTV VMA for her Hype Williams-directed video, “Massive Attack.” Still, the self-proclaimed “Barbie doll” says fans haven’t even tasted what she plans to serve up on her first, full-length album, Pink Friday, due out November 23.
According to Nicki, and her alter egos, she hasn’t even scratched the surface of her success.
Cortney Wills is a music and pop culture writer.