Nicki Minaj: To Hate Or Not To Hate?

Nicki Minaj will be in Houston tonight promoting her forthcoming debut album at Hush, a choice of venue that seems especially appropriate. This is good news for a lot of people. As these things tend to go, that means it's also bad news for a lot of people too.

Our wife hates Nicki Minaj. Hates her. She thinks she's stupid and fake and insulting. She has said these exact things. Matter of fact, this is the conversation we had when we asked how she felt about Minaj while looking at Nicki Minaj-related things on the Internet last night:

Wife: I hate her. I think she's stupid and fake and insulting. I can't believe people buy that schtick.

Us: Wait, but, okay, granted, she's not Janis Joplin. But you have to recognize that she's talented. Or that she's marketable, at least.

Wife: Marketable isn't the same thing as talented.

Us: Well, perhaps, but it's just as interesting.

Wife: You mean you like her?

Us: Uh, I don't hate her.

Wife [sigh]: You also eat potted meat. You're a moron. Do your work.

We suspect a lot of people feel that same way about Minaj. She is a curious creation.

She is unquestionably a good rapper; possibly the best one of the last decade. And she's commercially viable. "Your Love," the jolly, sing-songy single from her album that featured that black guy from Undisputed III dressed like a samurai in the video, made her the first female rapper in about a billion years to top Billboard's "Rap Songs" chart. In October, she had an obscene seven songs in Billboard's Hot 100 chart at the same time. Her verse on Kanye's "Monster" is arguably one of the year's best.

Still, the first thing that Google autofill offers up when you type her name into the search bar is "Nicki Minaj Booty." She encouraged the marketing of her own sexuality at the onset of her Young Money career. She's since argued otherwise, but anytime you pop up in a music video or two in little more than your panties and a wig it's kind of hard to successfully convince people you weren't doing exactly that. Now that she has the world's ear, she's a little hamstrung by it.

Now, that's not to say that she won't sell a ton of records or command a hefty appearance fee. And that's an excellent thing. Ostensibly, her talent will bear fruit.

But, ultimately, it's mostly hollow. Even if she spends the rest of her career dressed like an Iranian woman, her image will alway be dressed up in something whorish and provocative. That's why she'll never be rated "one of the greats." She'll never even get the opportunity to be considered.

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Guys will always be responsible for determing who the best rapper is. It's not fair or right, it's just the way that that will play out, same as the way that they'll always be responsible for determing the best football player or the best Rocky movie.

And guys listen to her, a luxury not afforded to 98 percent of other femmecees, but it's not the way they listen to Jay-Z or Kanye or even Lil' Wayne. They listen to her with that same ear that they listen to a prom date talk at 12:30 a.m. about how wacky her cat is or what her favorite color car is.

They're just waiting for her to stop talking so they can try and convince her why it'd be a good idea to take her bra off. Biggie Smalls would look awful in a halter top.

So you're a moron if you like Nicki Minaj. You're a moron if you don't.

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