Dear Nicki Minaj,
So, I love you and pretty much everything you do. Since you burst onto the scene spitting ridiculously sick rhymes on your mixtapes, churning out chart-slaying pop melodies and effortlessly inhabiting a zillion characters with verbal dexterity that would make Twista's head spin, I've been totally infatuated with you.
Which is why I feel a sense of responsibility to have a quick convo with you about your new video, "Stupid Hoe." Of course, I've been breathlessly anticipating the release of Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, which you just tweeted has been rescheduled for April 3 from Feb. 14 (WAH!), but you also mentioned that there are "tons of surprises before then." The first of those surprises was "Stupid Hoe," an alleged Lil' Kim diss track now turned into a candy-colored seizure-fest that references lots of other videos and provides social satire through booty popping... or something. I'm assuming the track is aimed at Kim, since the feud between the two of you has been trudging forward for years now, with Kim's Black Friday mixtape and harsh words exchanged in public forums continue to add fuel to the fire; "Stupid Hoe" contains lyrics like "Look Bubbles, go back to ya habitat/MJ gone, and I ain't havin' that," which seem to be mocking Kim's surgically sharpened features.
+ Did Nicki Minaj go too far in her "Stupid Hoe" video? Read more after the jump.
See, you teaming up with Hype Williams should be a total dream team, right? But if your goal was to pay homage to pop stars past by getting locked up in a cage (à la Shakira's "She Wolf") and showing off some weird alien CGI googly eyes that Lady Gaga first showcased in "Bad Romance," it feels less like you're honoring your recent predecessors and more like you were strapped for creativity. And then there's all that good, old-fashioned ass-clapping. Normally, pelvic thrusting in music videos is something I can get behind, but your gyrations behind bars in a black PVC leotard just feels a little… joyless. You've perfected the art of the goofy, with theatrics in your videos, but there ain't no whimsy in "Stupid Hoe." In fact, it feels decidedly un-fun for a pastel-hued video with lots of OOC costumes, set to a track that features one of the nastiest beats ever.
Were you trying to make this video feel sort of grimly mechanical in its blatant sexiness (which at times starts to feel sexist)? I want to give you the benefit of the doubt and say that all that nasty grinding was intended to parody artists who exploit their sexuality to sell records (kinda like Jewel did in the "Intuition" video? Remember that? OK, just me, then). But when a parody of something is virtually indistinguishable from the thing being parodied, the whole point has a way of getting lost, and everything ends up just self-cannibalizing. That is, if you were indeed trying to throw some shade at Lil' Kim, this video more aligns you with her than separates you from her. I think. It's hard to tell, because the blinky edits of the video -- sort of like watching a really stripperific Lisa Frank Trapper-Keeper come to life under a strobe light at the world's noisiest nightclub -- made me really dizzy. (Also, there were times I thought I actually was watching a Lil' Kim video. And I'm not sure that was the intended effect.)
And then there's the matter of lyrics. I'm willing to go along for your declaration that after you "ice my wrist-es, then I piss on bitches," since I certainly wasn't mad at the scatological bent of "Did It On 'Em." But really? "Cuz these hoes so busted/Hoes is so crusty/These bitches is my sons/And I don't want custody." It's hard to get behind the use of the word "crusty" in any song, ever, and at the risk of sounding pedantic, well, rhyming it with "custody" in a clumsy verse isn't going to endear us to that verse any further. And when you insist "You a stupid hoe" upwards of 40 times in a three-and-a-half-minute song, that fourth wall begins to collapse for me and I start to take it a little personal.
Right before the "Stupid Hoe" video premiered, you tweeted that you "can't premiere on a network b/c its important that my art is not tampered with, or compromised prior to you viewing it for the 1st time." And look, I love that sentiment, because I'm all about performers with artistic integrity. But maybe a little compromise could work in your favor. Because all I can see are big ol' bouncing booties.
Don't call me a hater (especially given your message about how haters can kill themselves in "Check It Out," which I haven't forgotten). I still adore you. Even if you wanna call me a stupid hoe. I mean, sometimes I can be.
+ Watch Nicki Minaj's "Stupid Hoe" video.