Fame is a funny thing, especially when it comes to someone with such obvious talent as Nicki Minaj, whose stardom seemed assured from the start. It was only a few years ago that the superstar rapper earned her ubiquity with a string of explosive, immediately identifiable cameos.
With a whip-smart wit, fantastic verbal skills and a fluid, inventive flow, Minaj was — and remains — a game-changing talent in a very competitive field. She reminded women that rapping offers expressive and financial freedom, and she made talented rappers from the opposite sex sound like amateurs alongside her crazy, roller coaster rhymes and delivery.
Unfortunately, there’s little of that back story to be found in her new single, “Freedom.” A shockingly mediocre humblebrag track, the song finds Minaj recounting her ascent, her fame, her talent, her wealth and all that it affords. “It’s crazy in here,” Minaj raps after listing her many accomplishments, including a department store fragrance and international fame, seemingly unaware that said craziness lies within one of the most un-crazy tracks she’s ever released.
“I feel free,” she sings. “I feel freedom.” Bully for her.
At this point in the song, the hungry Nicki Minaj of yore would have thrown us for some sort of loop. She might have taken the voice of one of her alter egos to comment on her patronizing persona in “Freedom.” After so much boasting, a new character might have offered some kind of self-critique.
Even less appetizing than the track itself is the callous timing of its release. Minaj was raised in Queens, and it was a mere week ago that a big chunk of her turf was hit by a storm that killed dozens, ruined lives and destroyed thousands of homes. Parts of her city are still without basic services…
Read more: Randall Roberts, LA Times