The New York Times Labels Nicki Minaj "The Most Influential Female Rapper Of All Time" What's Your Take?


Nicki Minaj is certainly one of the most successful female rappers in history. Whether or not she's the "most influential ever" is a debate that would take a while amongst most hip hop fans. That hasn't stopped the New York Times from giving that title to the Harajuku Barbie.


Check out a little bit of what they had to say.


Barely a year and a half has passed since the release of “Pink Friday,” the platinum debut album by Nicki Minaj, but her style is well honed. She’s a sparkling rapper with a gift for comic accents and unexpected turns of phrase. She’s a walking exaggeration, outsize in sound, personality and look. And she’s a rapid evolver, discarding old modes as easily as adopting new ones. This hard and complex work has paid off: when she releases her second album, “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded,” this week, it will be as the most influential female rapper of all time.

What’s even more striking is how far her reach extends beyond hip-hop. When Madonna needed to tether her current comeback to the young female transgressors of the day, she chose Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. (Savvy Nicki would never be the one to throw up a middle finger.) At the Grammys in February she gave the most shocking performance, part exorcism and part Broadway spectacle. And in the lead-up to her new album, out on Tuesday from Young Money/Cash Money/Universal Republic, her new songs have shown that she has no intention of being hemmed in by the expectations of genre, dabbling in slithery R&B on “Right by My Side” and outright giddy dance-pop on “Starships.” When rapping on the songs of others, she’s often the most capable M.C. around — take Birdman’s “Y. U. Mad?” — but on her own material she’s often straddling a line between hip-hop and pop that no other rapper is capable of, or would even dare.


A few years ago, before her rise began, there were hardly any female rappers of note; now, a new generation, including Azealia Banks, Brianna Perry and Angel Haze, is rising quickly, working territory that she carved out. This is a story about influence, to be sure, but also about the weakening of old walls, and the reshaping of the gates that the gatekeepers keep. Thanks to Nicki Minaj and the possibilities she has laid bare, and to hip-hop’s stasis of masculinity it is, outrageously and unprecedentedly, a more exciting time to be a female rapper than a male one.


As much as anything, this reflects what a barren playing field Nicki Minaj, 29, arrived onto. She signed with Lil Wayne’s Young Money Records in 2009 on the strength of a couple of years’ worth of mixtapes and street DVD appearances. The Nicki of that era was brassy and coarse, and intermittently clever. She had no real competition, and when she signed with Lil Wayne, there was little indication that she would drastically rewrite the rules for female rappers.


She did the obvious, and then more. She became a nimble, evocative rapper. She became an intricate lyricist. She became a thoughtful singer. She became a risky performer. She invented new personae. More than any other rapper in the mainstream, she pushed hard against expectations, and won. Only rarely did she allow herself to appear secondary to her male counterparts — even on songs like “Monster,” alongside Kanye West and Jay-Z, she more than held her ground. That was part of the blessing of being singular: with no one around to compare herself to, or for others to compare her to, she became her own watermark.


While that was happening, she morphed into the most eclectic black-music style idol since Grace Jones, and certainly the one with the quickest ascent to the style elite, with a look that’s loud, cartoonish and edging toward avant-garde. (Deep down, she’s too much of a populist truly to go there.)


She’s been on the covers of Vibe, XXL and the Fader, sure, but also of Cosmopolitan, Black Book, Elle and V. The current issue of Paper magazine features a modest Minaj on the cover: salmon blazer, lemon yellow top, Oscar-the-Grouch-green tangle of curls. Inside is a 16-page fashion spread full of models (sprinkled amongst commoners) wearing Nicki-inspired fashion: multicolored Afros, top-volume animal prints, neon makeup and shimmering fabrics, on both men and women.

To read the rest of the article head over to the New York Times.

Is Nicki in the same league as MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, Salt-N-Peppa, Missy Elliot and Lauryn Hill in terms of her influence on the culture?

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Comment by paul on April 4, 2012 at 7:41pm
Influential of all time? Who the f*** are they kidding? She swagger jacked Lil Kim and Gaga, mix it with Weezy level retard lyricism/marketing and she gets this title. I used to respect the NY Times, but the writer is either paid off by Baby, or has no f****** clue. Nicki is nowhere near the level of the greats, she's only relevant since she dresses up like a rainbow threw up on something.
Comment by dwayne price on April 4, 2012 at 7:35pm
No. She's not in the same league. Can she flow? Yes. Is she eye candy? Yes. is she entertaining? Yes. Check back in five or ten years, then ask that same question.
Comment by Lwazi Vuso on April 4, 2012 at 6:26pm
Influential?... 1st off: b!tch is a black version of Gaga fashion-wise period...
2ndly: Her "Monster" verse is the only... THE ONLY verse of hers worth mentioning...
3rd: Her "Y U Mad?" was corny as SH!T, dunno y it was even mentioned...
4th: Music-wise, she is influential... She did bring the spotlight back to female rappers... But mostly because she was on board the Young Money train and you can't deny that...
5th: B!tch changes her accent and has multiple personalities, one word: Eminem...
6th: She raps bout random s*** and uses the hashtag flow, Lil Wayne and Drake/Big Sean respectively...
Lastly: The most influential female rappers are MC Lyte, Eve, Lauren Hill and, of course, Missy Elliott...
Comment by T.T.S. on April 4, 2012 at 5:58pm
Comment by samuel boyd on April 4, 2012 at 5:04pm
what huh what
Comment by samuel boyd on April 4, 2012 at 5:03pm
Comment by samuel boyd on April 4, 2012 at 5:03pm
mc lyte really mc lyte gtfoh huuuuuh!!!!!!!!! mc lyte huuh
Comment by josh on April 4, 2012 at 3:42pm
Many of you are confusing best and influential. Thats sad.
Comment by Lord cezar on April 4, 2012 at 3:34pm
cosigin she def the most influential female artist of all time
Comment by DiorLetsGo on April 4, 2012 at 2:34pm
I don't think that she is there yet...She is very close but not fully there..Nicki Minaj really need to do some songs with OTHER female rappers, so far she has done songs with everyone but female rappers...Secondly Minaj need to do some mentoring as well, she really need to bring some fresh faces to Hip-Hop as well.She took a lot from Hip-Hop now it's time to make a contribution...Overall I must say that she does stand out from the rest of female MC's because Nicki is first female rapper to hit success without any other female competitors.

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