Yes, rap superstar Nicki Minaj did a full twitter mea culpa for her Nazi-themed music video released last week on Kristallnacht's anniversary. But it's going to take more than a few tweets to get past it. Here are just seven of the many reasons why:
1. Nazis Were Not Very Nice
I don’t know if everyone is aware of this, but the Nazis were not known for their expansive warmth. As one Mensa candidate so incisively pointed out in her Twitter response to the video:
“The Holocaust was bad. Some people died!”
I have never so much as squished a ladybug and I barely have 400 followers on Instagram. The Nazis have their own music video. The implied message is not very encouraging. (My handle is CruelladeKlaus by the way).
This is not to say preserving the knowledge of harrowing events is insignificant. On the contrary, recalling history’s horrors is paramount to ensuring such evil does not repeat itself. However, this video does not even feign an attempt at achieving that.
True, they are not exactly swastikas, but when an asterisk replaces a letter in a curse word, no one is baffled. Furthermore, at no point does the video provide any contextual aid that might enlighten viewers. Rather, the bizarre and egregious imagery is the unexplained décor in Minaj’s musical house of horrors.
2. I Really Liked Twerking To Anaconda
As a white, mostly awkward female, who nine times out of 10 opts for the Carlton Banks dance at parties over more salacious maneuvers, I don’t find many songs that ignite the twerk-worthy engine in me. Anaconda, which has tacitly come to be known as the twerk anthem, was one of these songs.
Now that I have this unshakeable association of the Harujuku Barbie (one of Minaj’s many alter-egos) with such an acute and indefensible lack of awareness, my twerking days are numbered.
3. The lyrics are abysmal
I mean this on a purely artistic level. Leave morality out of it. (Which seems to work for her anyway). Oh snap.
As a fan of hip-hop, an admirer of rap and a general logophile, I tip my hat to the talented artists who were clearly born to spit rhymes. Nas, Biggy, Wu Tang Clan, Eminem, Jay-Z, Tupac are all hip-hop poets worthy of entering into the rap anthology Hall of Fame.
But Minaj appears to have fallen asleep at the lyrical wheel with banal lines like “We had come from that video/You know L.A. traffic, how the city slow”. L.A. has a lot of traffic eh? Not impressed.
The rest of the song is riddled with tireless, repetitive profanities. There is no substance to these obscenities, but instead what I imagine might leak from the mouth of a drunken sailor who tripped over his pegleg in the middle of the night.
4. The Imagery Is Never Once Referenced
The video’s director, Jeffrey Osbourne, stepped into the light today releasing a statement “admitting” the video uses Nazi-inspired imagery. First off, this admission is about as honorable and revelatory as me admitting I have a neck.
Second, his defense includes that “it’s actually important to remind younger generations of atrocities that occurred in the past as ways to prevent them from happening in the future,” as quoted by Rolling Stone. I couldn’t have said it better myself Osbourne. Oh wait, I actually did earlier.
However, simply blasting aggressive visuals evocative of a devastating period of history devoid of any instructive context is not enough to send an educational message. The lyrics, insofar as I can tell, are about Minaj fervidly insisting she has never had sexual relations with a list of fellow rappers, (methinks the lady doth protest too much, ahem) without the slightest allusion to the boasted visuals. Also, the images themselves do nothing to betray the horror that occurred, but merely flaunt Nazi symbolism in an edgy, Sin Cityesque, animated style. Cartoons don’t grant artistic immunity buster.
5. Drake Betrayed Us
This one really gets me in the kishkes. Drake, my friend, my bar-mitzvahed golden kid, my hip hop Sammy Davis Jr., Why? What made you think this was a good idea? My heart hurts.
And I can’t even twerk to comfort myself.
6. I Used To Enjoy Cupcakes
I’m a human being, ergo I love cupcakes. In the words of SNL veterans, Chris Parnell and Andy Samberg, cupcakes are “crazy delicious.” They are moist, cylindrical, icing coated, bits of heaven. But now, thanks to “Only”, the once innocent, magical dessert, calls to mind a most unsavory act, evoked by the explicit simile in the first verse. For this, I will never forgive you Minaj. Shame on thee.
7. Nicki Doesn’t Value Other People’s Time
At one point in the song we learn that Nicki is also inconsiderate of other people’s schedules. As illustrated in her line, “When I walk in, sit up straight, I don’t give a (insert foul word here), if I was late.”
All I’m saying is send a text that you’re running behind.
Very unprofessional Minaj, and more so, uncool.