Nicki Minaj & Her Tarnished Brand

How Hip Hop's top female tarnished her brand

Nicki. Nicki. Nicki. Where did we go wrong?!?! Many will say it started when her feelings got the best of her while accepting a BET Award and publicly trashed Iggy Azalea, while some say that she may have always been like this. There can be a case made for when the now infamous artwork and video was released for her sexpot anthem, “Anaconda”. I knew it wouldn’t be long before these items would have major implications in the damaging of her music brand as we knew it. We now expect Nicki to make headlines whenever she’s appearing on a red carpet (for a lack of presentable attire) or a mood swing (walking off interviews for the mention of Iggy Azalea from the reporter).

I’ve been a fan of Nicki since The Come Up DVD Series. I liked her not only because she was different, but she spoke to the everyday woman. I wasn’t a huge hip hop fan in the sense, but I could relate to her message, considering that I was a lackey blogger at the time. This is what made Nicki great: she was relateable. There were no barely there outfits, blonde/pink/neon green hair, and attitudes being thrown around. She spoke from her heart, which was a place that everyone could relate to at the time. After a while, many looked to Nicki to speak the truth regarding social issues affecting today’s youth (i.e. sexuality). She was the woman that didn’t care about what you thought of her, and went against the grain for what had become of the previous era of female rappers (Lil Kim, Foxy Brown, Khia). She was a credible rapper and showed up appropriately dressed to work.

So Nicki, what happened? Nicki is basically a ticking time bomb. I don’t care how happy she may say she is now that she is “On the Run/Part 2’ing” with the man she admired for years in Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill. Something is just not right and it is tarnishing her brand tremendously.

I don’t know her personally, but based on how she presents herself in the media, she’s “trying too hard”. I thought she was holding it down during the emergence of Iggy Azalea, until she snapped on stage during the BET Awards, a place that once made fun of her for her very same wacky image that was celebrated in mainstream media.

I can understand Nicki’s frustrations with all of the doors she says she kicked down for Azalea. But after awhile, you only end up making yourself look crazy and/or bitter. Which is exactly what Nicki is doing now. Maybe she has a valid point and many of us have experienced it, as according to her, there were no female rappers in mainstream before her for the past few years. But Nicki is forcing herself on everyone, which is extremely affecting how she’s perceived and makes people not want to label her in the group of role models or even better, book her for live television.

I say all this to say that it is imperative that you carry yourself in a way that appeals to your audience. Brand building is not about you; it is about them, your audience. When you make it about you, you will lose the fan base that you may have worked so hard to build. Nicki is literally losing her fan base one-by-one because she’s leading with the ego, rather than the people. The very same person she ridiculed during the early part of her career – Lil Kim – she has now proudly become. Complete with the skimpy outfits!

Nicki could easily turn her sexpot image and mood swings into some true music that’s forward thinking because we’ve all had experienced a time where we were once the only game in town, only for an emerging young talent to draw the attention away. If the attention is being driven away from you towards another artist, don’t cry about it. Work out those attitude issues, throw on your heels, and start kicking them doors back down that you kicked down for her!