Nicki Minaj aka Onika Maraj aka Young Money Mistress aka #yougetthegist released the video for “Moment 4 Life” yesterday, which is the third single from her debut album Pink Friday. The clip takes stage as a modern fairy tale, featuring Mr. Young Money himself, Sir Drake, as Minaj’s knight in sullen armor.
Once upon a time there lived a king named Nicki. One day, while sitting on her throne, she received an enchanting visit from her fairy Godmother. She would remember that moment for life.
The video is very Nicki Minaj, very “Moment 4 Life,” very Pink Friday, very Drake, very Young Money – very veneer.
We meet Nicki in the boudoir of her own castle, she is the everything – the King, the Queen, the fairy Princess, the Fairy Godmother, and her own favorite company even in a crowd of guests. Yet at the same time, she’s not entirely any of those things. What’s interesting is that Nicki’s fairy tale is void of struggle or hardship: there is only the eternal eleventh hour with no looming midnight fall. There is no fragile glass slipper, only an unbreakable diamond stiletto. There are no evil stepmothers or stepsisters, just the soft-spoken Aubrey Graham. There is no infernal blaze or funeral, only the fireworks overhead a royal matrimony.
Right now we meet Nicki at the helm of her career, she is her own everything – she is the King cover woman, she is Rolling Stone‘s Queen of Hip-Hop, she’s the Princess of Pink Friday, and the matriarch of the Barbz Army; from Roman, to Nicki Minaj, to Onika, to Martha, to Rosa, to Nicki Theresa she represents a million faces – but seemingly all facades. She has built an entire empire off the costume and caricature – the influence of which, though debatable, is not to be denied. She continues to build on the mystique here; and reiterate that she’s no longer just an empress, but that she is expanding an empire from behind the mirage.
Minaj’s perfect world, consists of no reality – it is an alternate universe; in reality she came from a broken home, but here everything is whole – even if it’s just a fleeting scene. Nicki’s moment is now; if she could stretch it forever, what would she capture? A place void of that hardship and struggle; where you can bypass the bitter life, and go straight sweet. There is no peaked career – or new-now-next hot hip-hop Queen Bee to Minaj her into a has-been, only an endless sea of Barbz. There is no iceberg to sink the Young Money ship, only Wayne’s troop and an ocean of possibilites. There is no competition in the realm of female emcess, just the boys – and she’s one of them. There is no fall of Roman’s empire, just a sky overhead from beneath the tiara, and behind the lenses of rose-color sunglasses.
Pop is just this: it’s a teenage dream, it is fantastical and false, it is narcissistic and naive, it is aspirational – even if it is illogical. This moment was necessary though; because what goes up must come down – and no matter how high the pilot, fly has yet to overcome Pop physics. Minaj remains on the brink of “it,” and with each passing single, feature, video, performance – anything – we seemingly edge closer to her core being, and peel away another layer of her artifice in pursuit of the artist’s identity. That journey is also becoming an endless rainbow ribbon from the pocket of a jester – but there’s only so much magic left to mask the matter. Eventually, the star will fade and another one will inevitably come to take Minaj’s place – but for this moment she’s captured “it,” and all of whatever “it” means to be on the cusp. Maybe that’s the key, to remain forever on that bubble – because you can only break it once you make it… so if Nicki can remain “almost made,” her forever can’t fade…
At the end of the day, this moment is still the nothing before you become a real made “something;” when you have nothing you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Once you become that somebody, all that’s left is to become a nobody. Perception versus reality is funny, because the perceived value can’t be depleted if it doesn’t exist – you can’t make something out of nothing, but you can make nothing out of something; and you can’t really perish if you never truly peaked… I’m really tryna make it more than what it is, cuz everybody dies but not everybody lives
Watch This Space: Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it… the moment isn’t always what it’s made out to be
She’s so Nicki… she’s a star… but she shines, shines, shines behind pillared bars thinking, “If Onika’s heartache’s missing in my life – then why do these fears come at night?”