By Alvin Blanco
Nicki Minaj dropped her debut album Pink Friday last November and it has already been certified platinum. The colorfully wigged vixen from Queens is proof positive that female rappers are still marketable and profitable in the rap game. But have her peers, both old and new, taken advantage of the lane she has reopened?
"Female MCs can definitely benefit from Nicki Minaj's success," Jill Strada, Music Director and Assistant Program Director at New York's Hot 97 radio station, said. "It's hard for females in hip-hop to appeal to both men and women, but Nicki has accomplished that. People were hating — they're still hating — but she's doing her thing. She rocked it on a lot of other people's songs, then she had to prove that she could smash on her own album and I'd say she's proven herself. But that's the easy part, let's see if she has what it takes to stay."
Maintaining her reign means Minaj will soon contend with new female MCs prying open the door she cracked along with female rap vets who aren’t ready to call it a day. Both camps could stand to take notes on Minaj's path to success.
"The music game has changed, from music, presentation, and production," Terri Avery, Program Director of WPEG in Charlotte, NC, said. "I don't think other female MCs, old or new, will benefit as much as. Can they keep up with today's demands on music? Nicki Manaj's success was a great marketing game. I don't think her music is any better than the other female MCs, it's just Nicki came with a better game plan. She lined up with the hottest male rappers, had great production and marketed herself across music genres like pop and hip-hop. She wasn't out there, at first, beefing with others, she just had her game tight."
Nevertheless, beef has followed Barbie. Her tiff with Lil' Kim is well documented while Foxy Brown, who's said she has no problems with the neophyte rapper, recently delivered a dis song aimed at the Queen Bee. Ultimately, good or bad, the attention brings more attention to Minaj and female MCs in general.
"People were beginning to give up on female rappers," DJ Diamond Kuts, Nicki's tour DJ and mixer at Power 99 radio station in Philadelphia, said. "Nicki proved that there are still female rappers and, yes, they can succeed. Kim and Fox did what they were supposed to do during their era and it worked. It’s a new time and Nicki just came with another formula. She was able to have fun on a track, mix in a little sex appeal and still turn around and do a really hard track. She gave us so many styles, how can you not love her?"
Well, Kim may not be her biggest of fan but judging by the Young Money MC’s sales, there are a legion of Barbz that make moot any objections from the former rap starlets. It also means that more music from women are surely on the way, along with some savvy marketing.
"If anything, the other female rappers need to take a look at her marketing game and learn from that," Avery said. "And most importantly, make some great hip-hop songs!"
"She's opened a lane for other female artists, both old and new, to do their thing," Strada added. "They just gotta come correct!"
Do you think Nicki's success has opened a door for female MCs? Tweet us at @MTVRapFix or tell us in a comment below!