Content vs Context: Nicki Minaj’s “Lookin’ Ass”

So a few months ago Nicki Minaj  released the track “Lookin’ Ass”. The track has gotten some major backlash over the music video. Many saying it was demeaning of Malcolm X‘s message and the struggle of civil rights within America. Others are saying it has powerful message within itself because the lyrics of the song are representative of another struggle. The struggle for Women’s Rights and the need for feminism. The difficulty with this song, that a lot of other raps songs with a powerful message have, is that people get overburden with the so called graphic language. Graphic language is used often in rap music and due to this people don’t pay attention to the context or the conversation taking place.

“Look at y’all lookin’ ass niggas
Stop lookin’ at my ass ass niggas”

“I ‘on’t want sex, give a fuck about your ex
I ‘on’t even want a text from y’all niggas”

Yeah, there’s a lot of N-word usage, but the first stanza asks men to stop objectifying women. The second stanza I quoted asks for the same exact thing.

Similarly with “Bound” by Kanye West, there consistantly seems to be a disregard for the intellect behind music videos of rap songs. Sometimes there are no themes, no messages to be shared, but that is not always the case. These people are artists and artists rarely do anything without some meaning. Rap is an art form. It is their way of expression. And just like how we over analyze literature in the classroom that same kind of attentiveness needs to be shown toward music and music videos. For example, when I go out to the bars one song consistently played is “Born in the USA” by Bruce Springsteen. Drunks scream that chorus at the top of their lungs but how many people actually know that the song is about Springsteen’s dissatisfaction with the U.S. government during the Vietnam War.

“Got in a little hometown jam so they put a rifle in my hand
Sent me off to a foreign land to go and kill the yellow man”

I don’t think all that many know and I think that kind of lack of knowledge in Mainstream America will always blur an artist’s message.

Check out our overview of Nicki Minaj’s most recent track “Pills N Potions