Nicki Minaj put a lot of folks jaws on the floor last week with her ‘it’s a single/no, wait, it’s not a single, it’s a conversation’ record “Looking Ass N*ggas,” which is kinda like the 2014 “No Scrubs,” just with the word “n*gga” being used 42 times (I counted.) Oh, and with the controversial choice of the iconic 1974 image of Malcolm X holding a rifle.
All the problems with the photo, and much of the song’s lyrics, aside, there’s something else really troubling that has happened. Nicki got a lot of men in their feelings. So much so that less than two days after the song hit the internet, R&B singer Trey Songz was compelled to make a reply. On “Looking Ass Bitches,” the man behind “LOL Smiley Face” felt compelled to do what the Sporty Thievez did on their tragic 1999 “No Pigeons.”
As Minaj’s track calls out fake ballers who stunt with Boost Mobile phones (I’m thinking of getting one myself; shit, why am I paying an extra $100 a month to prove something, when I know I got a job?), Songz goes after “hoes” who share clothes, sleep with too many men and “table hop” in nightclubs. One of the most ironic things about his track is that men like him—famous and otherwise—spend a lot of time either earning or faking the trappings that attract this breed of women…and they engage them. Who would these guys be if they didn’t have groupies? I wonder if some of them would even care about fame anymore. They buy these women gifts and champagne, go out of their way to impress them, but then shame them for how they behave. It’s like opening a fast food restaurant and then denouncing people who eat fast food for being gross and unhealthy.
But, let’s pretend that part isn’t relevant at all. What bothers me most about “Looking Ass Bitches” is the fact that at least 95% of all rap records (and an increasing number of R&B ones) feature straight up disses of women. The trifling groupie is one of the most common characters in our music. Furthermore, the way Nicki Minaj speaks about broke dudes is not so different from the way a Jay Z or Rick Ross would describe them. It’s the same hyper-capitalistic, “I’m better than you because I have more things” routine, except for the fact that a woman is doing the signifying. So, you mean to tell me that men can talk about women ALL DAY LONG, but the moment a woman makes one of these records…a response was required? Like, Trey Songz—because dudes just love him, right?—had to put on for the brothers? That’s corny.
I’m not defending “Looking Ass N*gga.” I find it mildly entertaining on some level, but I’m not a Nicki Minaj fan by far, nor do I worry myself over fake ballers, real ballers or any of that mess. But I think it’s really crazy that women can’t even have a song like that without there being some sense of outrage from men. It makes me think of the distaste and the jokes a lot of guys have about Beyoncé’s music; why is it that the things that make Black women so happy make some Black men so annoyed?