How many guys are going to think twice before sharing a bottle of bubbly with friends at the club this weekend? After Nicki Minaj's latest offering, the Detail-produced "Lookin’ A** N****," there will be extra sets of eyes on dudes pretending to stunt with bottle service. But this isn't the crux of the song. Her critique of men runs the gamut, from sham entrepreneurs ("Buncha non-mogul ass n****s/Frontin' like the got a plan/Boost Mobile ass n****s") to ones who lie about paying off their loans or fabricating big drug deal operations to equating faux-cool to, well, being a eunuch. Because it’s not just personally irksome guys she’s coming after, she’s building a psychic barrier behind which her Barbz and other women can take shelter.
Nicki has done this plenty before, but often she’s used the snarling, boastful parts of her catalogue to attack female adversaries. But when she flipped P.T.A.F.’s "Boss Ass Bitch" right before the end of 2013, that's when the real construction began. She isn't just for repping like-minded fans anymore. Her labyrinthine bars are more like misandry mission statements. On "Boss Ass Bitch," she redesigned the notion of "slut" or "crazy bitch" when she spit, "Rule No. 1 to be a boss ass bitch/Never let a clown n****/Try to play you/If he play you/Then rule No. 2/Fuck his best friends/Then make them yes-men." She's using the exact language men use to hold women down to turn them into the fairer sex. And instead of delineating herself as the only woman able to do this, she's drafted a blueprint (or, pink print in this case) for other women to do the same.
She already has a vibrant community of both rap and pop fans hanging on her every word. To give them punchline bars to yell at the club is just one facet of how her 2014 output can level the playing field for women in rap, fans or artists, in general.
The argument is bolstered by "Lookin' A** N***a," Nicki's most incendiary, ferocious, zero-fucks-given piece of material yet. While it really demands revelry—getting off on the lyrics and GIFs of her with machine guns ablaze—no one is going to let her live without the question: What's next?
On her remix of Young Thug's "Danny Glover," Minaj hinted at having both an album and a mixtape on deck. If she balks to the Peter Rosenbergs of the world and puts out a 100% "real hip-hop" album, some will argue it'll have to be a classic. But the pop-loving Barbz deserve their Nicki, too. (And Minajesty probably does smell just as good when worn with disdain.) Since she's never been afraid to give us the best of both worlds on a full-length, let her deliver The Pink Print with "Lookin' A** N***a," let her cook up a 2014 "Starships," and then let the whole wide world song her praises.
But she also deserves her own Rich Forever. Let that go in the canon with Playtime is Over and Beam Me Up, Scotty. She deserves three Billboard #1 albums and three shit-kicking mixtapes. Because if we let the world be her proverbial oyster, then she widens the lane for Iggy Azalea to be more than Grand Hustle's token first lady and proves there's a desire for rappers like Rapsody and Nitti Scott. Shit, she might inspire Azealia Banks to finally be great. Nicki's kicked off the year to not only give herself 365 days of triumph, she's potentially opening up the floodgates—with a little preemptive push from Beyoncé—for a year dominated by women.
At the end of 2013, the "Best Of" conversations belonged to Kanye, Drake, Jay Z and a handful of other men like Chance The Rapper, Danny Brown, and Childish Gambino. Nicki stands to be at the forefront of that conversation, side-by-side with Beyoncé, come this year's end.
Hey Rihanna, it might be time to give Detail a call, get a dope director to shoot the video in electric black and white, and make this a triumvirate.