Nicki Minaj- Part 2: "The Bird Brand" and The "Queen Bee" / by Shanelle Gabriel

"I'm sayin tho.' Like dez chics be actin lik' dey kno me an whatnot. Like, yo, fa real tho."

Why does Nicki Minaj even exist in today's music world? I mean, she is selling Birdism (yes, I made up another word), and lyrically she can't hold a candle to a Rah Digga or a Jean Grae. What does it take to make a successful female Hip Hop artist, since obvious lyrical prowess is not a sole determining factor?

Nicki Minaj is not a freak accident that slipped into the pages of Vibe magazine. She's right; she literally is Barbie.. a marketing creation.

Courtesy of

Ms. Minaj is frequently compared to Lil Kim, who built her empire on taking freaky and labeling it feminism. She was hella viral and, hate her or love her, her name was/is on every tongue when women in rap music are mentioned. However, her major supporters from 1990s are now older & middle class. CDs are equivalent to A-Tracks now, and adults are not the ones buying tickets to sell out concerts or downloading millions of ringtones each year. It's the teenie boppers and in-betweens who can turn a YouTube video into a hit single (as seen with The New Boyz' "Jerk"). Lil' Kim's Hardcore-ness doesn't have the attention-grabbing shock factor anymore, so what's a label to do? How do we market a new 'Lil Kim' to the 13-17 market?

Let's make her bright & colorful, make her pop her bubble gum loudly, give her a school-girl bang, buy her a push-up bra three sizes too small, get her a nose job (and alleged butt-pads/implants?), and make her personality & speech as common as the teens you see on the inner city trains at 3 o'clock. She's now the popular girl in the average hood high school, the sexy one all the boys like, the over-developed, curvy chick the grown men lust after, and the girl all teen sistas secretly wish could be. Thus we have the Bird Brand. Nicki Minaj was created in the factory of a marketer's mind, someone who saw the need for a female voice in Hip Hop and decided to train someone to play the part.


While I do believe CAN write her own lyrics, she probably isn't anymore (just like Jay-Z did with Foxy, JD did with DaBrat, and BIG did with tha Queen B). With coaching and Lil' Wayne's Young Money co-sign allowing her to use his tried-and-proven trademarked sound (unlike Angel Lola Luv), her Remy Ma-like style became one that would separate her from the other female rappers. Some label her a sign of the impending doom of the Female Hip Hop world; I say, "Genius."

Next: The Finale!
Part 3: The Difference Between Nicki and...uh.. Everyone Else