If there’s one thing rap fans (or fans of every artistic medium for that matter) enjoy, it’s the act of ranking. Be it albums in a discography, albums within the cultural canon, or the game’s most enduring voices, hip-hop and those within it have been dissected to an archeological degree. And while definitive rankings serve as A) a benchmark for expressing one’s own personal tastes and B) a means of engaging critical thinking and discussion, it’s not uncommon to see those spurned express annoyance toward their placement or lack thereof.
Only yesterday, Gucci Mane found himself displeased at his placement on an Atlanta Top 50 list, in which he landed at 13 (behind newcomer J.I.D, Offset, and his old rival Jeezy). And while that certainly spurred debate, it was nothing compared to the fallout from T.I’s official Top 50 list, as premiered on ExpediTIously. While his list was lined with respectable picks, some were left pondering the omission of Nicki Minaj. Tip actually explained his rationale, claiming that both Nicki Minaj and Lil Kim could not occupy a position within the Top 50, as they were essentially mirror-images. Yet given the frequently divisive climate surrounding Ms. Onika’s position in the rap pantheon, it was hard not to take notice.
Perhaps her heel turn into a more overtly villainous role left her vulnerable, having burned an industry bridge or two during her jaunt down the warpath. And yet, her accomplishments continue to speak for themselves. Not only where sales are concerned, but insofar as her mastery of the craft. It seems as if people are forgetting that Nicki Minaj clawed her way up from mixtape sensation to bonafide A-lister, capable of hanging on tracks alongside some of the greats. Lest we forget, Nicki has worked with Wayne, Em, Jay, Nas and more, having never been left in the dust.
Occasionally, you’ll hear her detractors speak extra loud out of necessity; it’s not easy to silence the cacophonous chorus of Barbz. And yet, for some reason, the intensity with which her detractors preach feels oddly personal. Could it truly be a result of the off-mic antics bleeding into her art? Perhaps, but if that is the case, what about objectivity? In a definitive Top 50 list such as Tip’s, in which the lone female presence is represented by Lauryn Hill, does it not feel curious to see Nicki’s name omitted? Of course, given the sheer volume of talented rappers out there, it’s certainly possible to find many-a credible list without her cracking the Top 50.
So we’re curious, where does the HNHH community stand on Nicki Minaj? Were you handed the Herculean task of penning a definitive Top 50 ranking, would Nicki Minaj land a position? To keep it simple, we’ll provide a Yes or No option, but feel free to chime in with your ballpark placement and/or songs that helped seal the deal.