Why Nicki Minaj’s Age Isn’t Changing Her Music — But Fans Wish It Would
Nicki Minaj can’t change how old she is. But some of her fans think that the American-Trinidadian rapper isn’t acting her age. Especially when it comes to the kind of music she’s releasing. In fact, some say that she needs to mature as an artist. And others think that she has some growing up to do as a person, too.
Ahead, get the inside story on why Nicki Minaj’s age hasn’t affected her music yet. (Even though fans are starting to wish that it would.)
Nicki Minaj is 35 years old
Biography reports that Nicki Minaj was born Onika Tanya Maraj on December 8, 1982, in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago. She’s currently 35 years old. And she’ll turn 36 before 2018 is over. Fans have criticized her for getting close to 40 years old without releasing “mature” music. But as The New York Times reports, when a fan and cultural critic named Wanna Thompson tweeted, “She’s touching 40 soon, a new direction is needed,” Minaj and her superfans attacked.
Minaj’s fans sent Thompson thousands of messages across Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, email, and even her phone. They flooded her accounts with insults and even death wishes. Minaj even sent Thompson two direct messages, “much of it in unprintable language,” according to the Times. For those who agreed with Thompson’s assessment that Minaj needed to mature, either as a rapper or as a person, she couldn’t have done a better job of making their point.
Her latest album doesn’t reflect the passage of time
The New Yorker reports that Nicki Minaj’s latest album, Queen, arrived nearly four years after the release of her previous album, The Pinkprint. But “Queen does not reflect the passage of time,” the publication notes. “It uses the same template as her first three albums — a lengthy, base-covering mix of gymnastic, barbed rap verses and introspective lite pop, studded with playful winks and of-the-moment appearances by collaborators.”
The publication reports that Minaj seems to have fallen into a common trap. “History-making stars often fixate on the momentousness of their rise, which has the effect of paralyzing them in a backward-looking gaze. Minaj has fallen into this hole hard, perhaps because it connects to the self-mythologizing and braggadocio that have characterized so much of New York hip-hop.”
Nicki Minaj seems undecided on how she wants to mature
The Ringer points out that in a recent piece “linking the latest albums by rap ‘elders’ Jay-Z, Kanye West, J. Cole, and Drake (aged 48, 41, 33, and 31, respectively), the New York Times critic Jon Caramanica observed that hip-hop is experiencing some interesting and unprecedented growing pains.” Minaj seems to have some growing pains to deal with, too.
As The Ringer notes, “At 35, Minaj is nearly the median age of those aforementioned rappers. Both on Queen and in her public comments, she seems torn about how to go about that transition into maturity.” Her newest album “talks tough” about the work ethic of younger rappers. “And yet at other times, Minaj has had a troublingly negative reaction to suggestions that she take up a kind of elder position,” the publication points out. Perhaps’s Minaj’s struggles with the issue betray her anxiety about the fraught endeavor of “aging while female.”
She won’t let go of her social media following
The New Yorker reports that as Nicki Minaj named her fans the “Barbies” or “Barbz” a decade ago. And since then hasn’t stepped back from her close relationships with them on social media. “While many popular musicians have stepped away from social media — cultivating a strategic distance — Minaj has leaned into it, often to her detriment.”
On her social media profiles, Minaj has long seemed obsessed with being number one. She casts herself as a winner. And she dismisses critics as losers and liars. Plus, she fixates on her initial victory instead of focusing on continuing to do great work. In an earlier column, the same writer, Carrie Battan, had characterized Minaj as “uniquely obsessed with measuring and broadcasting her numerical accomplishments,” and remaining “laser-focused on a model of success based on fan adoration and chart rankings.”
As Battan wrote in 2018, “The divide between the Barbz and the rest of the world has provided a convenient distraction from the shape of Minaj’s career in recent years, which is characterized by a glaring lack of clarity or artistic vision in the face of online chaos.”
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