You Need To Have An Opinion on Nicki Minaj’s New Song

The rapper says it's not a single, but a conversation…

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by Sophie Wilkinson |
Published on

Nicki Minaj's new song, video and artwork for the track *Lookin' Ass N******has caused a massive stir since it’s release, er, eight hours ago. So much so that you're going to need an opinion on it. Here's the need to know so you can figure out where you stand:

1. The song

Littered with n-words, the track is a three-minute long slanging match where Nicki tears apart the sorts of men who she doesn't deem good enough for her. She told one US radio show that the song is meant to empower women because too many songs attack them.

So who are these men she slags off? The men who share bottles of champagne at the club because they can't afford their own bottle each, men who run credit card scams, men who pretend they can smoke, men who say they're moguls but they're not. She had told Her delivery throws back to when she was doing guest spots for Kanye West and Trey Songz, and is a lot edgier than what you'd expect from an American Idol judge. As NecoleBitchie.com put it, 'for all those fans waiting for Nicki to put her "pop" sound in the backseat, this is the track you've been waiting for. She got bars!'

2. That line

You'll hear much about Nicki saying 'I'm raping you ass n*****', possibly before you hear the actual song – it’s already proving to be the most controversial song lyric of 2015. RapGenius argues that this is a euphemism; her flow's so good she's got sexual power over her male competitors. 'Many male artists have said similar lines without receiving any flack. She clearly does not mean rape in a literal sense, but is using it as an analogy (similar to how MC’s claim they kill their competition).'

But then again, others are questioning whether she really had to use the word 'rape' in such an insincere context? As Jezebel puts it: 'You know what I’d love? For MCs to stop acting like they shouldn’t be held accountable for their metaphors because their word play isn’t literal.... A woman saying, “I’m raping you” isn't good, responsible or even remotely entertaining — and it's in a crappy song, to boot.'

3. The video

Directed by Nabil, who's also the man behind some videos of the Arctic Monkeys, Foals, Frank Ocean, James Blake, Bruno Mars and, um, Bon Iver, the video sees Nicki Minaj in a desert on a chair. Dripping in high-end fashion (see below), she is seen in the reflection of a terrified man's eyes. He's the Lookin' Ass N****, we guess. After a while, she gets grumpier and starts shooting her massive semi-automatic guns his way. You never see him get shot, but there is a bit in slow motion where you see all the right parts of Nicki's body jiggle as the gun goes off.

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4. The clothes

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The fashion credits are as follows: 'Dress – Mark Fast, Shoes – Versace, Jewellery – Roberto Cavalli and Jacket – Moschino, Belt – Balmain Paris, Boots – Louboutin, Gold Medallion – Versace and Haas Brothers, Bracelet – Celine, Rings – Roberto Cavalli and La Ruicci BodySuit by Luxe & Le’Bra with additional jewelry by M&J Savitt.' This is all according to fashion Tumblr KarlIsMyUnkle.com. PHEW!

5. The artwork

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Since removed, the artwork has caused perhaps the most furore. Just like other rappers before her, Nicki featured a famous photo of civil rights leader Malcolm X holding a gun at his home, protecting his family after he was attacked with firebombs. However, she's also put the title of the song on top of the artwork, and yep, that includes the n-word.

However, Nicki has been at pains to say that the n**** is meant to be the person Malcolm is looking at, not Malcolm himself . 'He has this big gun ready to shoot at a looking' n****, and that's how I looked at it,' she wrote on Instagram. 'I looked at it as this is one of the most memorable people in our history, in black history, who voiced his opinion no matter what, and I understand how my intent was overlooked and I definitely didn't want to offend his family or his legacy.'

And besides, she says: 'That was never the official artwork nor is this an official single. This is a conversation. Not a single.' The song is actually going to be released on her label Young Money's compilation album. However, a petition has been set up on Change.org to get Nicki to change the artwork and it's already got 2,200 signatures.

6. The publicity stunt?

By releasing a song about sexual politics in the same week as Valentine's Day – and using imagery of a civil rights leader to sell a song with the n-word in its title during Black History Month – should we just leave it by saying that Nicki Minaj has got her publicity stunt game all wrapped up? Think so.

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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