There’s a sense amongst some hip-hop fans that the sense of power has diminished, or is being manipulated by those who have nothing to do with hip-hop. A perfect example is the female MC. There was a time when there was a new lady stepping up to the microphone on a weekly, if not daily basis, trying not so much to be the queen, but to become an addition to the exclusive community. Yet there was always a view, particularly from men, that a woman does not belong on the stage that Roxanne Shante and Ms. Melodie once spoke of, but is preferred masturbatory eye candy.
Spoken word artist Jasmine Mans touches on this topic in a spoken word piece called “Nicki Minaj”, as it focuses on a woman who has brought back the discussion of female MC’s, but in a context that is very different from the era of “Ladies First”, “Monie In The Middle”, and “Paper Thin”. Many of the cherished women in hip-hop came from the golden era, a time when it was about self-awareness, Afrocentricity, honor and price for the music and self. Yet take a look at what’s happening today, and soon sensuality became more important than sexuality, because let’s face it, most mainstream female rappers are rarely about being sexual. It can be argued that regardless of how blunt dancehall reggae artists can be, artists such as Lady Saw and Tanya Stephens have taken over in spots that some female rappers have forgotten.
But back to this video. Mans looks at Nicki Minaj and while proud that a woman has taken the hip-hop spotlight once again, she also asks at what cost? Mans basically states in her piece that Minaj may represent the “same as it ever was” mentality, and that as a message from one woman to another, Mans is basically telling her to look in the mirror and understand what she’s doing before she helps influence a generation of disposable Barbie dolls.