The Rise and Fall (and Rise) of Booty In Music, Part 2
Despite what many people may think, Nicki Minaj has proven to be an ultra-feminist many times before, but with "Anaconda" she is really making it clear. "Anaconda" is clearly a parody, both satirizing and disproving the hyper-sexualization of women's bodies in hip-hop.
Although it only samples one line from the song, Nicki is actually reclaiming the whole underlying theme of Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back" by flipping it around into the female perspective and taking charge of her own sexuality rather than giving the power to the man, which is the way it was in the original song and has been in rap music for years.
There are many explicit examples of how this idea of female dominance is expressed in the video. As she is pours whipped cream all over her body, Nicki eats a banana but then slices the fruit in half like a martial artist ending his or her latest opponent. At the end of the video, Nicki spends what seems like forever giving Drake a lap dance, teasing him with her humongous tushie. However, when Drake tries to touch it, she swats his hand and walks away, leaving him sitting in a chair contemplating his whole life purpose.
His anaconda "don't want none unless you got buns, hun." Well quite frankly, Nicki doesn't have to give those buns to you, and she knows that. Yes, her butt is huge, but it's so big, so bold, that it just might be able to crush you.
Then there's Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass." The basic message put forward in this playful song is that every single part of whatever body type you may have is perfect. It's a positive-body-image anthem that actually resonates within a similar realm of "Anaconda." How so? Well, it's all about that booty, booty.
Both "All About That Bass" and "Anaconda" explicitly depict big butts in a positive way, something that has never really been done in the mainstream music world. Trainor's megahit even goes as far as saying that men prefer fat booties to skinny ones. Ultimately, it's all about making people feel good, and seeing that the song is sitting comfortably at No. 1 on the Billboard charts right now -- and has been for six weeks and counting -- it's clearly working.
Story continues on the next page.
Iggy Azalea and dancers at Bayou Music Center earlier this month
Photo by Jack Gorman
The latest chief installment of this posterior plague would probably be "Booty," by JLo featuring Iggy Azalea. I mean, just take a look at the title of this song and the two artists who are singing it, and you can already tell there's going to be a lot of tail-feathered action going on. In the song's video, JLo and Iggy flaunt their booties, squeezing what looks like a Vaseline/jelly mixture all over their behinds.
Yes, JLo is singing about pleasing her man with that booty of hers, but notice that there are no men for whom they're dancing. This is what "Booty" and "Anaconda" seem to have in common. Nicki and her army of twerkers and JLo and Iggy are shaking their butts solely for themselves.
In 2014, isn't Jennifer Lopez allowed to do this? She represents a multitude of feminist elements; even her pal Pitbull claims she is "the reason that women run it." JLo is independent, hard-working, and can own her body and sexualize herself willingly. It's not up to anyone else.
Maybe I am overanalyzing what may actually be a female submission to the dominant powers of men, but I don't think so. Twerking, the act that gained popularity for being "ratchet," is now actually starting to mean something, which I think is extremely interesting. To what extent will this booty domination go, and will it actually affect feminism in any way?
There's really no way of predicting which social phenomenon pop artists will pick up on next. There's really no way of knowing how this booty trend will impact listeners, or even if it's supposed to be about feminism at all.
In the end, it all really is just a big ol' crapshoot.
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.