Fuck Guilty Pleasures

Critics Need to Lay Off Nicki Minaj

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Tue, May 8, 2012 at 8:36 AM
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[Editor's Note: Fuck Guilty Pleasures celebrates the over-produced, commercial, artless, lowbrow music that we believe is genuinely worthwhile. Like, among the best music ever.]

Nicki Minaj is a polarizing figure; one could say folks love her or hate her, but many in the hip-hop world love to hate her. With the recent release of her new album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, Minaj-bashing is once again in season.

PopMatters gave the album a 1 out of 10, calling even the superior half of the disc "very poorly thought out rap music masquerading as pop." There have been plenty of other negative reviews; you don't have to look far, and many of them focus on single "Stupid Hoe," which has been called everything from vulgar (which is true) to a-rhythmic (which isn't).

The truth?

Many folks can't wrap their heads around the idea of such an aggressive sonic onslaught, especially as a single from a major label artist. In fact, while Reloaded isn't a perfect, there are some seriously great moments on it.

There's a reason "Stupid Hoe" has so many more "dislikes" than "likes" on YouTube and it's not the song itself, it's the video. Because while the track is an explosive tour de force of varying rhyme styles (with nods to different regional club musics) and kinetic unpredictability, Hype Williams' video features long stretches of slow editing and unimaginative effects. It slows the normally hyperactive Minaj character to a crawl.

Remember, Minaj was called contrived when she first came onto our radars. It took Minaj spitting one of the best verses of 2010 to overcome the stigma, and now most critics recognize she's a top-tier MC. After that, she was chastised because her debut album Pink Friday allegedly lacked sufficient rapping. So now that Reloaded is half rap tracks, she's giving us some of what we want, right? Apparently, though, the critics still aren't satisfied.

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