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August 21, 2014 2:30 PM   Subscribe


 


Oh. My. God. is right!
posted by STFUDonnie at 2:46 PM on August 21, 2014


Hearing "Baby Got Back" used as a loop makes me feel old.

Additionally, her ass is impossible.
posted by lattiboy at 2:47 PM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I saw the video a day ago and I still can't stop laughing at Traumatized Drake.
posted by naju at 2:49 PM on August 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


Only 90s Kids Will Fall For Our Cynical Ploy Of Deploying Context-Free Signifiers Of Their Childhoods To Get Them To Share This Video On Social Media!!!
posted by Ian A.T. at 2:58 PM on August 21, 2014 [10 favorites]


Why did she only take half a pill?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:00 PM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Brandon Blatcher: "Why did she only take half a pill?"

All things in moderation.
posted by boo_radley at 3:03 PM on August 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


The mashup video is rare relative to the mashup track and this one is amazing.
posted by GuyZero at 3:04 PM on August 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


I thought Baby Got Back sounded dated when it came out, so hearing it sampled is like it finally found its home.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 3:06 PM on August 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


It goes behind a sample, it's almost a song from the POV of one of the babes with backs.
posted by The Whelk at 3:11 PM on August 21, 2014 [7 favorites]


Why did she only take half a pill?"

Because it was some dumb shit.
posted by maxsparber at 3:13 PM on August 21, 2014 [6 favorites]


Is anyone else annoyed by this song because it's made it harder to google for the anaconda scientific python distribution? Just me? Okay.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:13 PM on August 21, 2014 [20 favorites]


As a remix of Baby Got Back the song is incredible, but as a standalone track? It feels... incomplete. It feels like it was made with the intention of it being remixed and sampled into innumerable superior dance mixes down the line.
posted by Panjandrum at 3:13 PM on August 21, 2014


It goes behind a sample, it's almost a song from the POV of one of the babes with backs.

That's exactly what it is. I can't hear this as anything but the second volley in a dialogue. I can only dream that Sir Mix-a-Lot has a reply brewing.
posted by 256 at 3:16 PM on August 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Minaj has released tracks before which are based upon a kind of confrontational musicality, imagery, and lyricism, (cf. Stupid Hoe) but this track feels kind of not living up to the promise.
posted by Panjandrum at 3:16 PM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I can't hear this as anything but the second volley in a dialogue. I can only dream that Sir Mix-a-Lot has a reply brewing.

Holy crap yes! I'm getting UTFO flashbacks.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 3:20 PM on August 21, 2014


The amount of menace implicit in that video while deploying all the normal pop cultural signifiers of sexy is really kind of amazing.

I need to watch it over and over until I can figure out how the effect is achieved. There's the bit where she cuts up the banana with the sneer, yes, but the menacing effect is there from the beginning of the video.

Also, how do people tolerate false eyelashes they would drive me batty even though they look great.
posted by winna at 3:21 PM on August 21, 2014 [17 favorites]


Uhhh . . What just happened, Beavis?

Did we just score?
posted by petebest at 3:21 PM on August 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


In my experience, I have to listen to Minaj's lyrics a dozen or so times before I have a clue what she's up to. I feel like I haven't begun to get a grip on this song.
posted by maxsparber at 3:24 PM on August 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


I can't hear this as anything but the second volley in a dialogue. I can only dream that Sir Mix-a-Lot has a reply brewing.

Related previously: Response Records: Answers to Hit Songs.
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:26 PM on August 21, 2014


i lovelovelove this song and video. yes, menacing! that's exactly what i'm getting. it seems so straight forward if you're just bopping along and watching her amazingly constructed body and contortions - but there are these little snippets all over that jerk you out of that if you're paying attention.

the linked conversation with drake was great, but is missing this.

my favorite response to this track is @aaaisela : Unless your think piece is a thank you to Nicki for continuing to shit on hypermasculinity followed by 100 applause gifs no one needs it.
posted by nadawi at 3:30 PM on August 21, 2014 [8 favorites]


This is pretty deep. I feel like there is so much to grasp on this video/song, but I have this lingering feeling that I don't even know the depths of the meaning. Like I know the water is deep, but I'm off by many scales of measure as to HOW deep.

Knowing how smart Nicki Minaj is, I'm going with "Marinas Trench" deep
posted by Twain Device at 3:35 PM on August 21, 2014


Starting to suspect that Nicki Minaj is the reincarnation of Jacques Derrida.
posted by b1tr0t at 3:41 PM on August 21, 2014 [14 favorites]


Like dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun
posted by allthinky at 3:46 PM on August 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


I love this because she does one of my favorite things to do with phallic objects-- get all suggestive with it and then bite a chunk off. Well, she cuts it off, but same difference, really. #misandry
posted by NoraReed at 3:47 PM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Is anyone else annoyed by this song because it's made it harder to google for the anaconda scientific python distribution? Just me?

If it helps, here's the Anaconda disambiguation page.
posted by mhoye at 3:58 PM on August 21, 2014


In my opinion this is still mostly on the level of the thing rappers do where they try to kick science and, like, get all deep and shit. For the most part it is just another rap song. If she's doing some kind of sneaky overthrow, I want to see what the follow-up is.

Meanwhile, Lauryn Hill is still Lauryn Hill. Black Rage. Let Lauryn get things back together and come out swingin. Ooohwee.
posted by cashman at 4:02 PM on August 21, 2014 [8 favorites]


NoraReed: "I love this because she does one of my favorite things to do with phallic objects-- get all suggestive with it and then bite a chunk off. Well, she cuts it off, but same difference, really. #misandry"

"Anyway, your key's still snapped off in the lock. Later, tater."
posted by boo_radley at 4:02 PM on August 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Her wink while singing about some well-hung drug-dealing, rifle-having guy tossing her salad is my favorite.
posted by ohisee at 4:06 PM on August 21, 2014 [6 favorites]


"Refuses the male gaze." Haha, yeah! That's the spirit, cultural studies, totally make shit up!
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 4:24 PM on August 21, 2014 [10 favorites]


But it does refuse the male gaze. This is Nicki Minaj's "You're so vain." If you're a dude, you probably think this song (video) is about you.
posted by ocherdraco at 4:28 PM on August 21, 2014 [13 favorites]


But the song is still about dudes. It's just also about claiming the power that comes from being a lady with a fat ass in a culture that rewards ladies with fat asses. It doesn't refute the male gaze, so much as demonstrate that playing into the male gaze isn't always a submissive or weak thing to do.
posted by ohisee at 4:32 PM on August 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


For me The pivot turn in the song is the hysterical drunken laughter at the end "yeah he loves this fat ass!" each sexual encounter described invovled a transaction of goods - usually very expensive fashion items. That laugh? That's the laugh of someone pulling something over on someone, to quite a friend "dick is abundant and worthless" in the world of the song and video. You don't want to buy her Alexander McQueen? She'll find another, cause she's got back and is high value and she'll laugh at you afterwards. I think that's why it ends with a stripper scene- you want the round ass you gotta pay for the right and if you step out of line, I'm gonna leave you there all sad and fustrated cause you are not Speical and Desired like I am. Because dick is abundant.
posted by The Whelk at 4:32 PM on August 21, 2014 [20 favorites]


Also, I hate "You're So Vain" The song is 100% about the guy she claims it's not about. It makes no sense!
posted by ohisee at 4:34 PM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Only 90s Kids Will Fall For Our Cynical Ploy Of Deploying Context-Free Signifiers Of Their Childhoods To Get Them To Share This Video On Social Media!!!

Oh shit...I just realized that what I was reacting to isn't the official video, just some guy's video project. I apologize to Ms. Minaj and her team for accusing them of exploiting easy nostalgia.

To be fair, there seems to be a lot of confusion on this point; the AV Club seems to think this was the official video as well.
posted by Ian A.T. at 4:49 PM on August 21, 2014


each sexual encounter described invovled a transaction of goods - usually very expensive fashion items. [...] You don't want to buy her Alexander McQueen? She'll find another, cause she's got back and is high value and she'll laugh at you afterwards. I think that's why it ends with a stripper scene- you want the round ass you gotta pay for the right and if you step out of line, I'm gonna leave you there all sad and fustrated cause you are not Speical and Desired like I am. Because dick is abundant.

Sounds pretty subversive!
posted by DaDaDaDave at 4:49 PM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think some of you guys are reading way too much into this. It's a song about a woman bragging about how much she was able to get from guys because they were so into her and her big ass. She's about as empowered as a courtesan. Whether or not you consider that to be a position of strength, it's a pretty well-trodden trope.

And if you think this video "refuses the male gaze," then you must be talking about something very theoretical and lofty, because I guarantee that won't deter the actual male gaze of actual males watching the video. And they're the ones being marketed to, not academic feminists.

Also, I hate "You're So Vain" The song is 100% about the guy she claims it's not about. It makes no sense!

I totally agree, except about the part about it making no sense. The point of the song, it has always seemed to me, is that he's right, the song IS about him! In other words, she's trying to act like she's over him, but she can't even convince herself. If you read the lyrics, it's patently obvious that the song is not at all about female empowerment. It's about how cool the guy is who left her, and how she can't get over him and she's damn bitter about it. In the first couple verses, she's remembering the color of the scarf he wore when they first met. Hell yeah the song is about him!
posted by Edgewise at 4:50 PM on August 21, 2014 [18 favorites]


it's a pretty well-trodden trope.

Sounds pretty subversive!


Some boys kiss me, some boys hug me
I think they're O.K.
If they don't give me proper credit
I just walk away

posted by MonkeyToes at 4:54 PM on August 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


So one of my favorite things about this song is that the form she takes - three verses of colorful anecdotes about different men she's been with - is a clichéd male rapper musical device. (For example: Jay-Z's Girls, Girls Girls.) I loved that she turned the specific form -- not just the larger topic -- around in such a blatant and funny way.
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 4:57 PM on August 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


No, wait...the Jeff Osborne video is also posted on the (presumably official) Nicki Minaj Vevo page as well, so I guess it's not just "some guy's video project" after all?

This right here is why I only watch vaporwave videos filmed at liquidation sales...
posted by Ian A.T. at 4:58 PM on August 21, 2014


it's a pretty well-trodden trope.

I'm willing to accept that pop music re-uses ideas, like other forms of popular art, and I think most people realize that completely original stories are not likely to come out of their radios. The angle, spin and delivery are what matter here, and in that department, Minaj knocks it out of the park, imo.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 5:05 PM on August 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


you're so vain is actually sometimes rumored to be about multiple men and i've always assumed that's what she did - put just enough of each dude in the song so he'd be sure to know it was about him while not being about him entirely and more about how the men she dated shared the trait of ego.
posted by nadawi at 5:08 PM on August 21, 2014 [10 favorites]


For me The pivot turn in the song is the hysterical drunken laughter at the end ...

I believe the saying is "Women fear men kililng them, while men fear women laughing at them."

I think that's why it ends with a stripper scene- you want the round ass you gotta pay for the right and if you step out of line, I'm gonna leave you there all sad and fustrated cause you are not Speical and Desired like I am. Because dick is abundant.

As is pussy. There's nothing particularly scarce about either resource.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:13 PM on August 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


you're so vain is actually sometimes rumored to be about multiple men...

I hadn't heard that, and it's quite interesting/amusing. But if it's true, it only works as a private joke, because there's no hint of this in the song itself.
posted by Edgewise at 5:16 PM on August 21, 2014


that's pretty much how writing songs about people works, isn't it - usually littered with private jokes or jabs along with the obvious surface ones. for whatever it's worth - carly simon loves this little riddle and has given many different coy answers, but she has repeatedly said it's a composite.
posted by nadawi at 5:20 PM on August 21, 2014


winna: "The amount of menace implicit in that video while deploying all the normal pop cultural signifiers of sexy is really kind of amazing.

I need to watch it over and over until I can figure out how the effect is achieved. There's the bit where she cuts up the banana with the sneer, yes, but the menacing effect is there from the beginning of the video.
"

When Minaj first appears in the video there's the sound of a growling lion or tiger or something. There's a whip sound effect that's used a lot. The end of "dumb shi ---" is drawn-out rising like a klaxon/airplane engine thing that's kind of menacing. Her vocal delivery on the following "by the way ... dun dundundun dundun" is also more aggressive than seductive.

I'm not sure if you'd still get that menacing tone with just the visuals and no audio. There's some bits where the camera shakes in time with the whips sounds to reinforce them, and sometimes Minaj looks like she's eyeing up the camera for weaknesses, I guess.
posted by RobotHero at 5:37 PM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


What I find odd is how they re-did the "Oh my God, look at her butt!" with "Oh my gosh, look at her butt!". Pop culture is weird.
posted by birdherder at 5:46 PM on August 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm guessing that it's not pop culture, but Nicki who had it redone. She describes herself as Christian and some would find that line offensive. But again, guessing on my part.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:52 PM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


guys basically the whole song is saying 'let me blue ball you real quick' if you don't think that's hilarious i don't know if we can be friends
posted by youarenothere at 6:16 PM on August 21, 2014 [10 favorites]


I do think this video exists alongside other recent examples of black women performing for black women in men-less environments: see also Rihanna's Pour It Up or Beyonce's Grown Woman.

In an age where it is MILEY CYRUS (ugh) who brought twerking to the general public, black women might feel the need to assert their history with and ownership over certain symbols and behaviors. The ass is not a joke in a Lily Allen video. The ass is not a prop for Taylor Swift to act faux-appalled toward. The ass is not faceless or voiceless. Nicki reminds us that the ass is to be marveled, the ass is for worshiping, and we should all thank her for this memorandum of a video.
posted by youarenothere at 6:31 PM on August 21, 2014 [6 favorites]


Oh my goodness! Lady Gaga took me off guard as I ignored her for years and got hooked right away for a long while after listening to "The Fame." I need to give Nikki more of a chance as Anaconda was the first I've heard and musically I find it barely tolerable.

I know Minaj gets lumped in with Gaga a lot but I don't think it's totally unfair. My first thought is that she's bluffin' with her duff'n like Gaga bluffed with her muffin:

I won't tell you that I love you
Kiss or hug you
Cause I'm bluffin' with my muffin
I'm not lying, I'm just stunnin' with my love-glue-gunning
Just like a chick in the casino
Take your bank before I pay you out
I promise this, promise this
Check this hand cause I'm marvelous
posted by aydeejones at 6:35 PM on August 21, 2014


And Miley brought twerking to the white general public. I don't think the hip hop scene was jerkin' for twerkin' to reach every 'merkin. She first "twerked" at some smaller appearances and when I read about that I face palmed my soul.

I think for the most part black folks were happy to have a "black thing" left unexamined that we white folks don't have to understand.
posted by aydeejones at 6:39 PM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh, dang. I've been seeing the banana-tossing gif around the internet this week and now I know where it came from. Well done, Nicki.
posted by spitefulcrow at 6:44 PM on August 21, 2014


I find Nicki's vocal timbre grating, so I don't listen to her unless I'm around my nieces and nephews.

But I watched this, and when she made that face after tossing the banana, I thought, who is she reminding me of?

Boom. Millie Jackson, a black woman R&B performer in the 70s who also went on about whatever she felt like and didn't care what anyone thought of her, much less men. She's apparently a little more straitlaced these days, but when my aunt wasn't yet "saved" and still had her record store, customers had to ask the clerks specifically for Millie's records, and they were brought out from the behind the counter. Sample album title: "Back to the Shit!" with "Shit" spelt "S###!" and the cover features Millie in the bathroom. Let's put it that way.

Also, the way "Oh. My. God. Becky!" is syncopated reminds me of Dave Chappelle channeling Rick James screaming at Eddie Murphy: "F*** yo' couch, n*****, f*** yo' couch!"
posted by droplet at 6:49 PM on August 21, 2014


Oh my goodness! Lady Gaga took me off guard as I ignored her for years and got hooked right away for a long while after listening to "The Fame." I need to give Nikki more of a chance as Anaconda was the first I've heard and musically I find it barely tolerable.


If you, or anyone else, need an introduction to Nicki, her verse in Monster starts at 3:34 or so.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 7:04 PM on August 21, 2014 [8 favorites]


I'm not 100% sure but I think this tune is about butts.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:20 PM on August 21, 2014 [6 favorites]


There's a lot going on in that video to subvert the tropes. Nikki is dodging the male gaze for the majority of the video (all of the twerk shots are the entourage dancing). Where you'd traditionally get the cleavage or ass shot, Nikki is covered up by railing, by being flat on the ground, or by having her own hands in the way. The only shots in the first half of the video where you get a stereotypical male gaze is during the dancing on the chairs, and the camera is on the floor -- the man is gazing from his knees.

The entourage is even dodging the traditional gaze -- twerking is generally shot so you're seeing ass rather than crotch. The few shots that would be more of a crotch shot, there's either fog/smoke in the way, or the dancers' hands are in the way.

Nikki in the pool is probably the most traditionally "sexy" footage, but it's paired with the laughter and mocking tone.

I think a lot of the menace comes from the twerking and gyrations being at the camera and the lack of guys. This isn't male-lesbian-fantasy twerking; this is ass in your face and being impotent to even approach (viz. Drake trying to touch). And note that Drake is the one left in the spotlight at the end. Some blue ball imagery right there.
posted by bfranklin at 7:34 PM on August 21, 2014 [10 favorites]


This video is great if you watch it muted while listening to the Husker Du playlist up there ^.
posted by bukvich at 7:54 PM on August 21, 2014


I like all the people in this thread who are like 'But irony isn't a thing, if you say one thing and mean another you're still saying the one thing, therefore this is just male gaze empowerment marketing ass butt'
posted by shakespeherian at 8:05 PM on August 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


Nicki Minaj is one of the most important feminists (to me and my friends) not because she says or does or acts like a feminist, but because she does whatever the male rappers do and she does it better. In every way, shape, and form, Nicki Minaj is the best rapper in the business, and thank god for her.

Also, it's Nicki.
posted by special agent conrad uno at 8:16 PM on August 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


Everything about Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda" is brilliant. What a fascinatingly deconstructive song/video.
I particularly love the way it uses Drake to skewer the general languishment of sexualized media, by reducing him to as passive an actor within a sexual dynamic as it's possible to be. Minaj moves through a series of overdone objectified tropes and reclaims them as active and intentional poses. In these she is not a passive figure for viewing or taking; the agency lies entirely with her. Then we see poor Drake, who is literally playing the part of a male gazer, but the nature of his gaze reduces him to a virtual bodilessness due to Minaj's comparative vitality. It's not a role reversal — Minaj plays the part expected of women, and Drake is playing a consummate "dominant" male — but the meaning is entirely reversed, and furthermore suggests that this reversal of meaning has been the true state of things all along.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:16 PM on August 21, 2014 [8 favorites]


Additionally, her ass is impossible.

Look at any pre-fame picture of her and you'll find that yes, her ass, is, in fact impossible. Definitely implants.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 8:21 PM on August 21, 2014


The world will end when the Oculus Rift meets the Gluteal Cleft.
posted by Chitownfats at 8:30 PM on August 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


She never really tried hard to convince us it was real. Most guys I see talking about it know its fake and don't care.

Best rapper in the business? Not right now she isnt.
posted by cashman at 8:36 PM on August 21, 2014


Look at any pre-fame picture of her and you'll find that yes, her ass, is, in fact impossible. Definitely implants.

Hey, thanks for that really creepy, body-policing piece of bullshit! We really would've been worse off, as a planet, if we didn't have one more jackass on the internet implying weird inhumanity about some woman's body parts! Who gives a shit about the dance style, the required agility and confidence required to twerk, her intelligence as a lyricist and excellent delivery! Let's try to insert some body-policing patriarchal bullshit into this conversation! The feminist value of this didn't go completely over your head, really!
posted by NoraReed at 8:36 PM on August 21, 2014 [16 favorites]


Little in the middle but she's clearly read Laura Mulvey's "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema"
posted by naju at 8:42 PM on August 21, 2014 [15 favorites]


I was really hoping at first that the Sir Mix-a-Lot sample would always end at "don't," and was so disappointed the tension of the phrase was allowed to resolve.

Just think of it: she could have created the actual feeling of frustration of unfulfilled expectation in the mind of the listener.

I mean, I can't even write about it without using the language of dominance and submission.
posted by univac at 9:27 PM on August 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


the camera is on the floor -- the man is gazing from his knees

I'll happily 'fess up to being so utterly outside the discursive world this video's operating in that I'm willing to believe it is in fact the feminist masterpiece* everyone here seems to be seeing, but this, right here, is some special-pleading bullshit. Low-angle shots of sexy women have been a staple of the male gaze for a very, very, very long time. That's the basic angle of the striptease club for one thing.

(*That "I'm very stereotypically sexy in a way that pleases men, and therefore I can get men to buy me expensive fashion stuff by having sex with them, but HA! I don't really care about the men I have sex with" is considered a cutting-edge feminist position is something I'm definitely having a hard time wrapping my head around, though.)
posted by yoink at 9:44 PM on August 21, 2014 [12 favorites]


Maybe it’s a coincidence that we don’t see the faces of the black female dancers, that they are reduced to just a vibrating ass. Or maybe nothing’s a coincidence, and everything is culturally conditioned., from the Grantlandpiece.

I'm reminded of Goldfinger: "Once is an accident. Twice is coincidence. Three times is an enemy action."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:46 PM on August 21, 2014


but because she does whatever the male rappers do and she does it better. In every way, shape, and form, Nicki Minaj is the best rapper in the business, and thank god for her.

Yeah I was, oddly enough talking about this at the Guggenheim Futurist show. Nicki is all why can't I be as vain, violent, and sexual as guy rappers? I'll do it and be more glamorous, scary, and in your face then all of them.

The look she's throwing in the video? It's not "come hither" it's "Yeah you want this? I will fuck you up."
posted by The Whelk at 9:53 PM on August 21, 2014 [7 favorites]


In that, I'm pretty sure in the media persona landscape playground she's working in, it's a "I will eat you alive and discard you once I get my fill and move on" kind of thing. And no it's not a new thing but it's a refreshing thing.
posted by The Whelk at 9:55 PM on August 21, 2014


"there's been discussion if it re-claims the twerk or refuses the male gaze"

There's also been discussion about how deconstruction and critical theory are dead ends. This post is one more nail in that coffin. The only thing this video "re-claims", is a several more inches of (name your favorite chair) by Minaj' bum.
posted by Vibrissae at 10:00 PM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Hey, I liked that part where she took back the twerk and pulled a reversal on the male gaze maneuver!
posted by P.o.B. at 10:27 PM on August 21, 2014


There's also been discussion about how deconstruction and critical theory are dead ends.

Oh, well, if there's been discussion
posted by NoraReed at 11:02 PM on August 21, 2014 [10 favorites]


Can someone deconstruct "skinny bitches" for me. It's that empowering?
posted by zoo at 12:32 AM on August 22, 2014


Nicki is all why can't I be as vain, violent, and sexual as guy rappers? I'll do it and be more glamorous, scary, and in your face then all of them.

Exactly. She's David Bowie meets Bauhaus meets Iggy Pop, with the actual rap chops of Eminem. I'm entirely convinced that people who don't take her seriously are doing it for one of two reasons: either they don't appreciate (or understand) rap, or because she's a woman. And women aren't supposed to be aggressive, and women aren't supposed to start shit (especially not with other women, gasp), and women aren't supposed to have fluid personalities.

I think that people who don't understand rap music are missing out on an incredible art form and culture, but people who do like rap but don't like Nicki? What the hell. Idiots.
posted by special agent conrad uno at 12:53 AM on August 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


Can someone deconstruct "skinny bitches" for me. It's that empowering?

No. It's not. Why would that be considered empowering? It's Nicki talking shit. That's what rappers do, and as she is a rapper, that is what she does.

However, as my activist big-booty'd friend just posted this on her fbook wall, I would imagine that she feels empowered by it.
posted by special agent conrad uno at 1:15 AM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Regarding "skinny bitches": while there are several ways in which Nicki fits the mainstream standard of beauty, I think it is fair to say that her body (and booty) expands the definition of acceptable body shapes. We still only have a couple of celebrities who truly have a donk.
posted by youarenothere at 2:00 AM on August 22, 2014


How about how the beat deconstructs traditional heuristics of "funk" and "originality" by essentially taking a mediocre booty rap tune and ruining it.

Sorry y'all, this is a lot of fun and has a few interesting tweaks on the tropes of the genre but as a song it is not particularly good in any sense of that word. Missy & Timbo would have done it more better imo.

Also funny to me how identical this is to one of those Major Laser videos with the butts etc directed by Eric of Tim and Eric that a lot of people here found horrible. Can someone explain the difference?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:48 AM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


(*That "I'm very stereotypically sexy in a way that pleases men, and therefore I can get men to buy me expensive fashion stuff by having sex with them, but HA! I don't really care about the men I have sex with" is considered a cutting-edge feminist position is something I'm definitely having a hard time wrapping my head around, though.)

It is a feminist position only among a certain type of feminist, i.e. "choice feminists". Where the only important question is "did she choose this? Then yes it's feminist."

Other issues like collective vs personal empowerment and choices that are good for one woman or even a group of women can have negative effects on other women, don't really matter.

E.g. my complete fake conversation with a choice feminist:
What affect does this choice have on woman as a class?
That's not as important as the fact that she choose it.

What were the constraints on her choice? What were her other options?
Who gives a fuck, she choose it.

Is this reinforcing sexist beliefs about women?
See answer above.

Feminism is about freeing women to make choices that the patriarchy didn't want them to make. Objectifying yourself and other women for money as always been fine by it. Why-- Hold up. Let me ask you a question. Why are such a buzzkill?

And...scene
posted by nooneyouknow at 5:57 AM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


a mediocre booty rap tune

Hey man, I liked mix-a-lot a-lot back in the day. Looks from his Twitter like he likes the new Anaconda video. He also did the als challenge and among the 3 people he turned around and challenged, Nicki is one. Lets see if she does it!
posted by cashman at 6:03 AM on August 22, 2014


He also did the als challenge and among the 3 people he turned around and challenged, Nicki is one. Lets see if she does it!

It's going to riff on this, isn't it?
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:20 AM on August 22, 2014


> Sorry y'all, this is a lot of fun and has a few interesting tweaks on the tropes of the genre but as a song it is not particularly good in any sense of that word. Missy & Timbo would have done it more better imo.

In addition to that, I will say Missy was a lot more straightforward than Nicki is. With Missy, male confusion was like "is she talking about spitting rap game back at me or my own semen?" while Nicki is more like "is she attacking obsessions with body image or just using them to empower herself?" And of course people like Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu leave even less room for misinterpretation.

As far as the cinematography and how this isn't as exploitative as Major Lazer (for example) goes, it is kind of hard to explain. The video is highly sexualized, almost comically. Maybe compare and contrast to J-Lo's "Booty" video?
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 6:35 AM on August 22, 2014


all these comparisons to pop miss the point, nicki is doing this from inside rap (even though she has crossover appeal). as the tweet i quoted up thread mentions, she is (and has been) shitting on hyper masculinity. i feel like this is a good companion to lookin' ass.

personally, i love nicki as a feminist choice in music...from her bossed up rant to her repeatedly telling girls to go to school, don't depend on a man, don't fall back on just looking cute, and with hard work they can attain anything, to keeping her (rumored) fiance basically behind the scenes, to the middle finger she keeps up against all the slut shaming and anti-blackness that comes her way...i'll take that feminism any day of the week.
posted by nadawi at 6:38 AM on August 22, 2014 [4 favorites]


Points off, Whelk, for not calling this thread "Shaking the Habuttual."
posted by octobersurprise at 6:54 AM on August 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


For those in the camp that say she has the skill of an eminem, what do you feel are her best songs and verses? I know and can rap the Monster verse by heart, that's a classic in my opinion. (And before someone points out that Kanye helped with her verse, yes I know. But I feel like most of that performance has her prints on it.) Pink Friday was such a disappointment for me and I never picked it back up after the initial listen. But I'm open to revisit a verse or a song because I've done that with other songs and later come back to realize I slept. So what songs or verses does Nicki have that I may have slept on, that are her best work in terms of rapping, flowing, delivery and performance, flipping words, signifying or riding the beat? I did this same thing with Phonte a few years ago after sleeping on most of Little Brother's catalog.
posted by cashman at 7:11 AM on August 22, 2014 [3 favorites]




men masturbate to inflatable pool toys and corvettes, surely we can imagine another bar to clear.
posted by nadawi at 7:34 AM on August 22, 2014 [7 favorites]


Not All Men.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 7:38 AM on August 22, 2014


Sorry. I meant Not Ass Men.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 7:39 AM on August 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


Why does Nicki have to be compared to Missy? Can't she be a thing all by herself?
posted by shakespeherian at 8:05 AM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


It is human nature to compare and contrast things of similar types or genres. The Beatles and the Rolling Stones are certainly things all by themselves, but that hasn't stopped people from endlessly debating their respective merits for 50 years.

Nicki Minaj makes me uncomfortable, but then, I expect that is her intention, so well done.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 8:10 AM on August 22, 2014


sure, people compare similar artists all the time - but there's this other thing that happens where it's suggested that only one woman can be in any particular lane - and even more infuriatingly, sometimes that seems to apply for any woman past or present. i love missy, but lets be real, her last album came out in 2005. surely 9 years on there is room for another woman to step up to the mic to clown on hypermasculinity.
posted by nadawi at 8:31 AM on August 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah it seems like Nicki gets compared a lot to Missy and even Lady Gaga and Madonna because I guess Woman Who Makes Pop Music Of Substance? Which is distressing.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:40 AM on August 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


sure, people compare similar artists all the time - but there's this other thing that happens where it's suggested that only one woman can be in any particular lane - and even more infuriatingly, sometimes that seems to apply for any woman past or present. i love missy, but lets be real, her last album came out in 2005. surely 9 years on there is room for another woman to step up to the mic to clown on hypermasculinity.

I don't think anyone is saying that "only one woman" is allowed to do this sort of thing, in the sense that Nicki Minaj should be prohibited from infringing upon Missy's tropes.

Rather, I think the comments you reference are a reaction to the suggestion that Nicki Minaj's tropes are entirely new and groundbreaking, that Minaj is the first female rapper to "clown on hypermasculinity" or challenge the male gaze.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 8:46 AM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Is anything being reclaimed when most men don't really care about the lyrics and just watch it for the titillation factor? I think, Dave Chappelle grew extremely uncomfortable during the laughs at his act for similar reasons.
posted by asra at 8:52 AM on August 22, 2014


who the fuck cares what men are going to do? what about the women who watch this and see how she mocks those men? isn't that valuable? the system is going to be sexist no matter what - trying to find a way for (notall) men to not react in a problematic way to something, anything, a woman does is a rigged game.
posted by nadawi at 8:56 AM on August 22, 2014 [5 favorites]


In the same way that reappropriating racist language is still sometimes met with racists saying 'Well if they can say it, so can I,' reappropriating sexist tropes will still sometimes be met with sexists going 'heh, tits.' That doesn't mean it's a worthless endeavor.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:57 AM on August 22, 2014


In the same way that reappropriating racist language is still sometimes met with racists saying 'Well if they can say it, so can I,' reappropriating sexist tropes will still sometimes be met with sexists going 'heh, tits.' That doesn't mean it's a worthless endeavor.

But this defense seems to be accepting that she is preaching solely to the choir. In other words, there's absolutely no question at all of "refuting the male gaze" here. The male gaze is encouraged, rewarded and goes its merry way thinking "ayup, chalk up another victory for my worldview" but the super special sekrit club of people who know that Nicki Minaj is actually doing all of this ironically and that nobody is forcing her to serve up a big dose of exactly what the male gaze wants to see get to say "you go girl!"

I mean, if there's simply nothing in this video or the lyrics to challenge or unsettle any utter neanderbro's view of women ("they're all gold digging hos who just want to use their sexual attractions as bait to get men to give them things--and the only possible interest I could have in them is if they're cute enough for me to want to pay to have sex with them" [crucial feminist insight, apparently]) how, exactly, is it "feminist"? Would Hustler become a "feminist" magazine overnight if its publisher and chief editor were women who "chose," utterly uncoerced, to publish it in exactly its current form and did so with a wink to some select group of people in the know?
posted by yoink at 9:08 AM on August 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


Interestingly, Mixalot's creation of Baby Got Back, with the woman he was dating at the time, Amy, started out as a serious song, to deliver the beauty message. [YouTube link]. They were watching the Spuds MacKenzie commercials that featured
"Four girls that were shaped like stop signs with big-ass hair, and we were like this is really not what black folks are digging... So we wrote this track - she came up with the Oh My God Becky part and we started going back and forth on that and building on it and she voiced that, and I just wrote the lyrics. Initially it was going to be a serious song, but I realized if it was serious, they wouldn't take it serious - it would just be dismissed."...."and before people knew what it was about, it had already sold 3 or 4 million copies."
So I look forward to Nicki really talking about and through the genesis of Anaconda sometime in the future.
posted by cashman at 9:15 AM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


But this defense seems to be accepting that she is preaching solely to the choir. In other words, there's absolutely no question at all of "refuting the male gaze" here. The male gaze is encouraged, rewarded and goes its merry way thinking "ayup, chalk up another victory for my worldview" but the super special sekrit club of people who know that Nicki Minaj is actually doing all of this ironically and that nobody is forcing her to serve up a big dose of exactly what the male gaze wants to see get to say "you go girl!"

That depends entirely on whether Nicki Minaj's intention is to "Change The World", or simply to be an entertainer and sell albums. If her main goal is to empower women who are not already empowered, and to teach men a lesson, then there is something to be said for whether her message could be interpreted to mean the exact opposite of what she's trying to convey. If she's just trying to entertain people (through a feminist message, sure, but neutral on whether such a message makes a tangible difference to the person hearing it), then who cares? She'll sell albums whether you get it or not.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 9:17 AM on August 22, 2014


many men i've seen talk about being scared or grossed out or uncomfortable by this video - it seems like it's not just the choir that's getting it. some dudebros will miss it, maybe most. so?

re: hustler - yes, i think pink&white productions is inherently more feminist than bangbus because of the women & trans people at the helm and the way that changes the gaze.

and about selling records - she's following this all the way to the bank. she just surpassed the 24hr views record on vevo, which is something that impacts billboard and her bottom line.
posted by nadawi at 9:20 AM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


re: hustler - yes, i think pink&white productions is inherently more feminist than bangbus because of the women & trans people at the helm and the way that changes the gaze.

That's not an answer to my question. You're saying that pink&white productions puts out appreciably different product because of the "women & trans people at the helm." I'm asking if (to use your example) Bangbus's product would suddenly become "feminist" if the owner of the company was a woman (and, if you like, the directors of the videos etc.) but nothing else about their product changed.

and about selling records - she's following this all the way to the bank. she just surpassed the 24hr views record on vevo, which is something that impacts billboard and her bottom line.


So it's "feminist" if it makes money? I also think it's a dubious proposition that it would surpass the 24hr views record on vevo if it was in any way seriously "scaring" or "grossing out" a significant portion of its male viewership.
posted by yoink at 9:34 AM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think nadawi is suggesting that it can both be feminist and make money.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 9:37 AM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


i was making 3 separate points - not sure why you're combining them into one. i've already talked at length here and in the other thread (and probably any other thread about nicki) why i feel like she's an awesome feminist. women who show off their bodies can be feminist. women who play with their sexuality can be feminist. women who consistently have a message of how women can run their own shit are feminist.
posted by nadawi at 9:45 AM on August 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


Dudes apparently don't like the idea that media that superficially seems like it's for them might be making a joke at their expense.
posted by almostmanda at 9:50 AM on August 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm asking if (to use your example) Bangbus's product would suddenly become "feminist" if the owner of the company was a woman (and, if you like, the directors of the videos etc.) but nothing else about their product changed.

If this argument is relevant to the video under discussion, it necessarily assumes that it's indistinguishable from the videos it's referencing.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:51 AM on August 22, 2014


But this defense seems to be accepting that she is preaching solely to the choir.

I'm not really familiar with her, but it seems she's fine with preaching to the choir, having the choir ignore her and preaching to a bunch of different choirs, as long as she can make money. If she can laugh at men at the same time, she's down with that too.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:21 AM on August 22, 2014


I don't want to belabor the point, but I don't think it refutes the male gaze. I don't find fault with Nicki Minaj for this, I just think the idea is misguided. Sure, there's some high-brow insider winking going on, but to the outsider there is no visual distinction from what it is criticizing. To the average male if it looks like a butt and smells like a butt, it's a butt.

So I guess she got one over on us, except not really.
posted by GrapeApiary at 10:53 AM on August 22, 2014


This, and the rest of your comment are all interesting analysis, but as a commentary on rejection of the male gaze it falls short because the video is pure eye candy and a great many men are still going to masturbate to it.

The goal isn't to reject, though, it's to subvert. The traditional male gaze photography is done for the man's pleasure -- it's aspirational of sorts. Nicki is openly mocking the aspirational rap video here. She's sexy, and if you think that's going to end with anything more than your dick in your own hands... Well, the banana chopping scene pretty well covers that, doesn't it?

The video isn't designed to break the fantasy if you're oblivious. Men are going to spank it to whatever they want (and hey, we see a whole lot of bananas on the record in the video). Nicki is self-aware enough to know she's going to be looked at this way. As an attempt to subvert the trope, though, I think it hits the mark. She's in control. She's showing you what she wants to.

The word's loaded with all sorts of nasty baggage, but in a sense, she's reclaiming being a tease. And Nicki is just going to laugh at your frustration over her sexual agency.
posted by bfranklin at 10:56 AM on August 22, 2014 [9 favorites]


To the average male if it looks like a butt and smells like a butt, it's a butt.

It can be awfully frustrating to realize that the meaning of art is not dictated by the average male. It doesn't matter if they masturbate to it, if they think it's about them, if they think it's just about butts. Not just because they are wrong, but because the very presumption that their opinion is what counts is sexist.
posted by maxsparber at 11:18 AM on August 22, 2014 [13 favorites]


stop smelling butts you guys
posted by The Whelk at 11:43 AM on August 22, 2014


I saw this a couple days ago, loved it, and showed it to my husband last night, who basically said "Wow, I need to sit here a minute and figure out why that video made me feel so uncomfortable!" After we talked it through for a minute he came to the conclusion that it was because his feelings and expectations weren't really catered to by the video, and as a man, he found that unexpected and unsettling. I need to spend some more time with the lyrics, unpack some of the references a bit more, but the video was subversive as hell, I love it.
posted by KathrynT at 11:57 AM on August 22, 2014 [4 favorites]


Kinda like the Domino sugar sculpture ain't made porno by doofs taking pictures of her genitails
posted by angrycat at 11:58 AM on August 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


The dudes who would normally be the target audience for objectification of women HATE Nicki Minaj. I mean hate loathe cannot stand her. She'd totally flown under my radar until I saw how much some men hated her and I wanted to see why.

And here is my guess: She's performing the fuck out of femininity. She's so hyperfeminine and hypersexualized you can't pretend it's not happening. There's no humility square or polite fiction surrounding it. The extreme hourglass figure, the cartoon eyelashes and lips, the bright colors and aggressively cutesy voice. She's like a Pierre et Gilles come to life. And she's absolutely menacing to those who have a whole lot invested in that type of imagery because she owns it completely by taking it all the way over the top and then straight down into some kind of uncanny valley. She makes a lot of people uncomfortable because of that. Hell, she kind of makes me uncomfortable because of that. I like that discomfort, though.

I had a professor who said that Milton killed the pastoral elegy by doing it so flawlessly that nobody else bothered even trying anymore.

I'm not saying that, but I am kind of saying that.
posted by ernielundquist at 12:07 PM on August 22, 2014 [25 favorites]


She's performing the song on the MTV Video Music Awards this Sunday. I wonder if that will be the opener.
posted by cashman at 12:46 PM on August 22, 2014


The product placement was almost as conspicuous as the butts.
posted by banwa at 12:59 PM on August 22, 2014


i'm pretty sure the opener is "bang,bang" by nicki, jessie j, and ariana grande - i wonder if she'll perform anaconda at another time or if each of the women are going to take a solo moment before/during/after bang, bang.
posted by nadawi at 12:59 PM on August 22, 2014


I saw two things in the Osborne video: 1: at ~1:22, "I ain't talking about Eiffel's" why on earth does Eiffels have an apostrophe + s? Isn't there something where nouns get pluralized in AAVE? I thought is was more of an "I'm talking about those things"; 2: I wish the Osborne video didn't repeat the same sequence or montage for the chorus. It would have been more clever if it referenced more than the album cover as a punchline.
posted by Snowishberlin at 3:22 PM on August 22, 2014


I keep watching it and I think part of the menace comes from her expression and the fact the camera focuses on it in the video, and part of it is the weird retro dance sections display more of the power of the women's bodies rather than the sexuality of twerking. Their muscular thighs are doing work, and their expressions and poses are about that rather than simply 'sexy'. The jittery, abrupt placement of the samples and the way they are mixed also tends to be jarring aggression rather than simply sexual.
posted by winna at 7:10 PM on August 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think it is kind of hilarious that people find anything about this video menacing or causes some people to feel discomfort.

part of it is the weird retro dance sections

I actually started to comment on this earlier but I just let it go. But now that you mentioned it, I watched the video when it came out and a few places stood out to me as signifying older rap video dance sequences. I saw some steps the dancers did that reminded me of old school hip hop videos - JJ Fad, DC Scorpio (compare the 2-move sequences at 2:06 in Anaconda to 3:36 in Hustler Part II), 3,5,7. In fact, watching Juicy Gotcha Crazy was like a prelude to this video. I'm sure the move at 2:49 in Anaconda is from something I've seen. I thought it was maybe Lyte, or Latifah, or even the Living Single intro. It's something.
posted by cashman at 8:18 PM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


After watching and listening to this song several times, I have come to realize: although Anaconda samples heavily from Baby Got Back, there is one prominent piece missing:

"She looks like one of those rap guys girlfriends."

Nicki is not the girlfriend. Nicki is the rapper. This, combined with the repetition (and repetition!) of the phrase that precedes it - "Look at her butt." We are exhorted, commanded, compelled. LOOK AT IT. You cannot look away.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:27 PM on August 22, 2014


Eh. In my opinion that was never really that prominent in Baby got Back. If anything, the "Becky" part is the prominent part that is missing. Keep in mind the whole "it's like, round, it's just out there" part didn't get interpolated either.

And now we wait for someone to cite the becky/head thing and make it seem like that's a statement.
posted by cashman at 8:38 PM on August 22, 2014


I saw two things in the Osborne video: 1: at ~1:22, "I ain't talking about Eiffel's" why on earth does Eiffels have an apostrophe + s? Isn't there something where nouns get pluralized in AAVE?

Because the dude's tower isn't Eiffel's tower. It's a possessive apostrophe and used correctly.

The song itself doesn't totally grab me musically (though the lyrics are great), but the video is amazing.

It goes behind a sample, it's almost a song from the POV of one of the babes with backs.

This.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:20 AM on August 23, 2014


RiFF RAFF gets in on the Anaconda action. Key phrase: “Ass cheeks like two volleyballs/neon spandex turning heads in the damn mall.”.
posted by MikeMc at 7:29 AM on August 23, 2014


ah man i was hoping that riff raff nonsense was a bad late night headache induced dream.
posted by nadawi at 8:18 AM on August 23, 2014


"A 6-foot long snake -- believed to be an anaconda -- just bit a dancer during a VMA run-through for Sunday's show ... Nicki Minaj was on stage performing her hit, "Anaconda" when a female dancer was bit by the reptile in front of everyone. We're told the dancer has just been taken to the hospital where she's being treated."

Link
posted by cashman at 4:06 PM on August 23, 2014


I'm not 100% sure but I think this tune is about butts.

Actually, it's about dicks. Also, choice, because the song and video is basically about expressing sexuality.

Interesting that I just reread Mulvey's essay the other day. It's a really good, and short, read. I would suggest googling it up and give it a go if you haven't. Personally, I would have to agree with those that say there is not any kind of male gaze refutation happening. Unless we're not actually talking about Mulvey's ideas regarding the male gaze. The song is notable as perhaps being the first rap song I've heard completely recontextualize another rap song, although the very premise of both Mix's, and Minaj's, videos do indeed fulfill the desire of the male gaze. Sir Mix A lot states his raison d'être is a big backside, somewhat ironically an objet petit a. Nicki Minaj subsumes her identity into the idea of rendering herself as said partial object. Minaj states her raison d'être is of course the phallus. Thus completing the fulfillment of both pleasure by using another as an object of sexual stimulation through sight, and also the identification of the viewer with the subject of desire.

Although, I don't think she's much like Missy Elliot at all, but I do think she pretty much took Lil' Kim's playbook and ran with it. That said, I think Minaj is definitely maturing as an artist. She has fairly well assimilated the styles she used to use as crutches, and her flow is a lot better.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:02 PM on August 25, 2014


The song is notable as perhaps being the first rap song I've heard completely recontextualize another rap song

You may need to listen to more rap then.

But also people did not do the whole entire-song thing for a while because it was looked down upon for a good amount of time, as it was considered essentially riding off someone else's coattails. Anyway, Anaconda is up to around 76 million views. It'll be interesting to see where she decides to go from here.
posted by cashman at 9:15 AM on August 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


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