Op-Ed: Nicki Minaj Deserves A Pulitzer Prize
November 16, 2020 at 3:59 am
Structural racism has long negated the linguistic artistry of the rap genre. Rap has been — and continues to be — derided as an artistically useless and sonically ignorant cultural form born of the destitute sociopolitical conditions faced by Black Americans. These criticisms are typically rooted in a severe and racist misunderstanding of the linguistic life of Black Americans, which can lean on semantic and sonic schisms from conventional American English. These criticisms are heightened in the case of Black female rap artists, whose dual identities as Black women privies them to a separate, but overlapping, host of lingual smears. Denigrators of art made by women express gripes with its overt reclamation of female sexuality and “frivolous” subject matter. These protests are born of a deep-seated misapprehension of the inventively nuanced ways that women can use language when given a political or cultural platform.
We at Under the Button would like to be very clear on one thing: Nicki Minaj has the most secure grasp on the English language out of anyone, dead or alive. A stronger grasp than Shakespeare, Philip Roth, or any other of those comparatively talentless literary oligarchs. The fact that Bob Dylan has a Pulitzer Prize and Nicki Minaj does not is utterly reprehensible. To honor the poetic excellence continually performed by the queen of rap, we’ve compiled a list of the most hard-hitting and clever Nicki Minaj lyrics.
3. I am the president, where my podium?
And why these girls salty? Why they sodium?
Is it because my flow slicker than petroleum?
— “Womp Womp,” 2008
2. That's why I call you Buzz Lightyear
'Cause by the time you start buzzin', bitch
You gon' have white hair
— “Roman in Moscow,” 2011
- You know that I stay with them great lines
End bitches' careers, cut them brake lines
You gon' be an episode of Dateline
End-end up on the cover of L.A. Times
Fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck I just heard through the grapevine?
These little musty bitches thinkin' they can take mine
You bitches' chances lookin' slimmer than my waistline
Man, that shit been over since Playtime
Watch flooded, ho, I can't even face time
You bitches gotta face time for them hate crimes
Playboi, Playboi hit me on my FaceTime
For the best feature out the Big Apple since FaceTime
— “Poke it Out,” 2017
These examples demonstrate the incredible literary prowess that Minaj possesses. Nicki’s dominion over both the semantic and sonic conventions of the English language is unparalleled to even the most revered literary artists.