Is Nicki Minaj’s ‘American Idol’ Move A Win For Hip-Hop?

Industry insiders chat with MTV News to find out if rapper's judging gig could benefit other MCs.

There is no doubt about it, Nicki Minaj scored a huge win this week when she was announced as one of the new judges on “American Idol,” but what does Nick’s new gig mean for hip-hop as a whole?

Well, Wiz Khalifa told MTV News that if the YMCMB Barb could judge “Idol,” then the weed-loving MC himself could judge another singing competition. The notion doesn’t sound so far-fetched to Karen Civil, who runs her own blog at KarenCivil.com and oversees the social networking accounts for Lil Wayne and Dr. Dre’s Beats by Dre headphone line. “I can see Wiz hosting one of those shows, even though he smokes a lot,” she told MTV News.

Civil believes that the “Idol” move is a win-win for both Fox and Nicki Minaj. “Nicki, at this point, is universal, and now, she gets to bring in these new set of fans. People who weren’t familiar with her are going to be familiar with her,” she said, also pointing out what makes Nicki so attractive for primetime television. “They need her, they need her audience, she’s a very popular person and her fans are going to tune into everything that she does, so that equals viewership for them.”

Brian Miller, content director at RapRadar.com said that his site didn’t post anything “Idol” related last season, but now that Nicki the Ninja has joined Randy Jackson, Mariah Carey and country star Keith Urban at the judge’s table, things just may change a little. “Maybe if Nicki has a certain highlight, we’ll post it, but I still can’t see covering it every week.”

Miller doesn’t expect to see rap opening singing competitions’ flood gates all of a sudden. However, he believes that artists like Nicki have already achieved a fair amount of pop success, and that’s why she is attractive to “Idol.” Not only does Minaj rap, but she sings, dances, sells cosmetics and has even done voiceover work in “Ice Age 4;” her crossover success makes her a clear representative to the mainstream audience.

“I don’t think Nas would ever get $8 million for judging someone in a hip-hop competition, you have to be a pop star to acquire that kind of money,” he said. “If you’re not in a pop lane, you’re never going to ever get this kind of exposure or these kind of crossover looks.”

It’s true. MCs who grind the most outside of the booth reap the most reward — even Nas has expanded beyond the studio with acting roles and business endeavors (like 12 Society and Guerilla Union). Civil believes that any rapper wanting to achieve significant success must branch out and do other things, as Nicki Minaj has done continually.

“No rapper just stays a rapper,” Civil said. “Hip-hop is a business, at the end of the day. You come in rapping and then you become an entrepreneur, you start with clothing lines and liquor and X,Y,Z. She’s doing something different and the fact that she’s getting this opportunity is great within itself.”

For Nicki Minaj and for hip-hop.

Get your “Idol” fix on MTV News’ “American Idol”page, where you’ll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.

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Mentally been many places, but I'm Brooklyn's own. Hip-hop gives me life!
@RobMarkman