The tough thing about art is that it is subjective. What one person loves another will hate. I realize as I age…and boy am I aging, that my tolerance for different decreases while my desire for sameness increases.
I love music. I love all types of music. There are some genres that will get more of a listen from me like Pop from the 80’s and Hip Hop from the 90’s, but if you pick a genre of music, chances are I know at least one artist, one song, and like it. I don’t discriminate when my ear tells me something is good.
When my ear tells me something is bad, I turn it off.
I haven’t watched many TV awards shows in the past 10 years or so. I can’t say none, but few is appropriate. Unless is it something ghetto and ratchet on BET that I can mock, OR someone/something that appeals to me is appearing…I have better things to do. My disconnect comes in part because of my lack of television watching in general…again I have better things to do. The other thing is that somewhere around 28 shit just started getting terrible. By the time 30 got here and I had the little man, it became more a matter of shielding him from the nonsense. I can’t tell other parents what is appropriate for their household, but I can say that when you allow your 6 year old to be a Nicki Minaj fan, that I think a visit from Child Protective Services is in order.
Nicki Minaj is an artist…I have to use that term out of respect, but if you ask me…her music is lacking in imagination, talent, longevity, and class. Nicki is an artist though, and she has fans…lots of them. Perhaps not as many after last night and her Grammy performance, but yeah she’s got fans.
I will start with what I DO appreciate about Nicki.
She made the deliberate decision to not walk into game as the sexy female rapper. Mind you in her earlier work she was not the Black Barbie 2.0 – but she wasn’t as overt as say Lil Kim or Trina. She was also not walking into the game trying to convince the world that she was hard. Unlike RemyMa, I doubt that we are going to lose any Nicki Minaj studio time because she’s serving time for assault.
I LIKE that Nicki chose a different route.
Nicki’s schtick is that she is the Black Barbie. Unlike one of her predecessors who influenced her Lil Kim she is taking the route of being an over the top toy, rather than a reference to the *ideal* woman in doll form. Hence, why I call her the Black Barbie 2.0.
Nicki’s decision combined with that of her handlers has grooved in a place for a female MC who can rely on lyrics, and put on a production not just run about the stage with a hype man.
Sadly, Nicki is not the one.
What bothered me the most as Nicki was all over radio in her guest verses while Pink Friday was being created was that she was not original lyrically. I kept hearing the words of others who came before her, and those words twisted with this insane voice change that someone told Nicki was attractive. It is not.
I kept hearing the buzz that Nicki’s verse on this…or that was hot. It was HAM at least.
Then I kept hearing all of the *beef* with Minaj & Lil Kim.
I took exception, not because I thought that Nicki owed Kim anything except acknowledgement that there could not be a Black Barbie 2.0 without there being a first Black Barbie. How hard would it have been for Mianj to say: I’m from NY just like Kim, and yes I listened to her as a youth coming up in the game. I wouldn’t say she was an inspiration, but she certainly opened doors for female rappers that were not open before her.
Instead we get lots of rubbish songs like: Tragedy and Stupid Hoe.
So last night at the Grammy Awards….Nicki Minaj attempted to take things to the next level… and failed…..miserably.
The song Roman Holiday is bad all by itself. What is consistent since she signed to Young Money Records is that the borderline quality of her bars has deteriorated to the repetition of 8-10 words, over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over. Often spoken off beat and with that uber annoying voice change thing.
The debut of Roman Holiday could have been brilliant. Like pop artists over the years, hell even Hip Hop artists over the years Nicki wanted to push the envelope and generate some buzz.
She pushed – fell over the fucking cliff, and the buzz you hear is the death throttle of any relevancy she may have had in the history of music. Yes the performance was that bad….and I am going to explain why:
Using religious imagery in your performances is a very fast way to get people talking. If you also use Catholic imagery, then you get the Pope talking about how you will never see purgatory. Having the Catholic Church call you a heathen normally translates into sales, stories, and press.
As I write this on Monday afternoon a Google search shows only 1 story about the Catholic Church calling for a boycott, and that is from sandrarose.com…that epitome of journalistic excellence that we all hope to obtain. Well no there is a story on the CBS New York affiliate stations’ website… but they want people to boycott the Grammy’s with almost a non recognition that Minaj was the artist. The protest was a whole lot of we hate the Grammy’s now about the Obama Administration’s attempt to force us to provide evil birth control.
Pepsi had to pay Madonna although it took them months to actually air the video. Perhaps Minaj needed a Black Jesus? Maybe just Jesus. Instead she brought the Pope:
Well Prince once sang that the Pope was much more relevant….it is a shame that Mianj is not.
My apologies for putting Prince and Minaj in the same sentence.
So Minaj reached last night…further than Jesus Walks, and arguably further than Nas’s hate me now video. Whatever.
The opening sequence of the performance with Minaj in a mock confessional with her vibrato on 50, was interesting. In part because the actor/Pope put his hands over his ears and appeared to be mouthing the words stop it over and over. I understand as did millions of viewers last night.
The performance then morphed to a pre recorded snipped that channeled the Exorcism, and then cut back to the Grammy stage where Minaj was in bondage….sigh I could not even enjoy THAT because of the poor lyrics, exaggerated production that oddly enough didn’t very much resemble anything religious and looked more like Caligula with Clothes the musical.
Nicki runs out after being “freed” to the front of the stage barefoot to say what I suppose she WANTED to be lyrics, but sounded more like demonic gibberish. Then again it was the Exorcism of Roman Zolanski we were witnessing. YAWN
There was also an appearance of a choir, that sang O Come All Ye Faithful, yes the Christmas Carol.
Minaj lays on some plexiglass at the end and levitates and you kind of wish that she was being abducted by aliens.
The thing about the performance? You want to applaud her for pushing the envelope. You can’t though because she didn’t push it she just kind of licked it.
If you are going to use these kinds of symbols in your performance, you have to go hard in the paint with it. You can’t hold back because you don’t actually want to offend because then you just look foolish, like Minaj did last night.
In STARK contrast to the train wreck that was the Minaj performance this woman, 24 hours after losing the classic voice of Whitney Houston, kept me from throwing my television out of the window as I watched the mediocrity and geriatric performances:
Adele, and also the man who broke Adele’s heart
Adele last night was as close to Grammy perfection as you can get.
Hair – Make Up – Dress – Shoes – TALENT – Humility
There was nothing wrong with Adele last night, except that she only performed one song.
Months after having surgery on her vocal chords Adele returned to the stage triumphant and proved how unique she is. In 2012 where it is all about the package, all about the looks, all about everything else but the talent, talent won big.
The hilarious thing about Adele’s performance last night? She was holding back. I don’t know if she was tentative because of the stage and the audience, if she was wondering if her voice would hold up, or some other reason, but what we saw last night was Adele at maybe 2/3. Yeah….she’s that fucking good.
I don’t know how long YouTube will have these videos up but I will post the links to both Adele’s performance and Minaj’s performance and allow them to speak for themselves.
There really is no competition, but I don’t mind proving it:
(Editors Note – It is only fitting that the only video I could locate on Youtube of Minaj’s performance was not digital, rather it was someone recording their television)
Rolling in the Deep: