Friday, October 14, 2011

Nicki Minaj Images

Nicki Minaj is known for pushing the boundaries - muscially (well, perhaps - I'm yet to ascertain exactly what place she'll occupiy in hip hop history whilst there's such a maelstrom of opinion surrounding her looks, clothing, hair, collaborations, personality, booty etc, everything but her musical talent or lyricism - let's see what happens for album no. 2, hey?); fashion-wise (most certainly- reference? that hideous beige sequinned catsuit) and when it comes to the size of her (surely enhanced?) butt and from the preview of her latest photoshoot for V Magazine (quarterly US fashion publication), she's showing no signs of toning down her outrageously out-there image.

The 26 year old Trinidadian rapper was chosen to be the face of V's 'Discovery Issue', celebrating all that's new and supposedly cool for 2011. Ms Minaj was referred to on the front page in terms of 'the birth of a star' and 'the shock of the new'. One would question exactly how 'new' the concept of a black female rapper, stripping down and donning neon hair really is, given the fact most of us lived through the nineties and have heard of Lil Kim, but I can't deny Nicki her moment in the spotlight, as she is testament to the power of the internet, self-promotion and successful branding, if nothing else.

The editorial in V cotains a description of Minaj for those who mightn't have heard of her: "The tough-talking, one-upping, bodacious, curvaceous Nicki Minaj is taking music to places cooler and more colourful than ever. And in the boys' club of the 21st-century hip hop, she's stolen every scene to become the genre's Barbie-pink princess."

In the edgy shoot by photographers Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin, which Nicki claims has been her favourite to date, she poses with her famously curvy body painted with tribal designs. In some shots she is unrecognisable, daubed with face paint as she channels 'Voodoo Queen'. Some of the images depict her in with her white Calvin Klein underpants visible, whilst in others she models a variety of Versace dresses. One wonders why, in the pictures where she sports her neon pink pout, she didn't opt to promote her latest offering - her collaborative Pink Friday with MAC. The shade she wore instead was a deeper, cerise shade - equally suited to a Barbie wannabe - voodoo warpaint or otherwise.

In the accompanying interview, Nicki revealed her headstrong attitude towards fashion and styling, stating "Everything I do has been approved by me personally. My team is mostly made up of guys but none of them would ever think about telling me what to wear or what to do with my hair. They know that ultimately I'm gonna do what I'm gonna do." Nicki has revealed on previous occasions that she has several alter-egos who dominate different aspects of her artistic output, including 'Harajuku Barbie', 'Martha' and 'Roman Zolanski'. She has been quoted as saying: "I just always want to do "me", but "me" changes everyday. I would just crumple up and die if I had to wake up and be the same person everyday. I don't silence those voices anymore. I just let them speak."

This is not the first time Nicki has donned a bizarre outfit which verges on 'horror-core' haute-couture. At last year's American Music Awards, she was pictured on the red carpet wearing a dress by designer Manish Arora which bore a rather impractical, protruding, three-dimensional ribcage, rendering it impossible for to her sit comfortably. And earlier in 2010, making a high-profile feature on Ludacris' My Chick Bad single (which peaked at no. 11 in the US Hot 100 Billboard charts) which she co-wrote, the rapper adopted the iconic style of...Freddy Krueger (yes, the Nightmare on Elm Street dream-entering serial teen-killer!), pairing a candyfloss pink wig with a razor-blade adorned glove and referencing the film in her lyrics.

Speaking about her fun day at the photoshoot on social-networking site, Twitter, the rappper tweated: "It's safe to say my cover shoot in V Magazine is dedicated to my gays and fashionistas. My most bad ass shoot to date."

Judge for yourselves:

Nicki, a protege of Lil Wayne (he discovered her in New York and signed her to his Young Money Entertainment label), recently appeared on Ellen DeGeneres' chat show to promote her debut album, Pink Friday and single Moments of Life (which has an accompanying video featuring Drake) on 11th January 2011, wearing a pair of blingin' crystal-encrusted Louboutin heels which she had been given by hr mentor as a gift. She told her host; "I can't believe I'm sitting here talking to you. I wanted to do well, but I couldn't foresee all this happening." Nicki's album, released only two months ago has already gone platinum and still holds a position in the Top Ten album charts.

This quarter's V Magazine, running the Nicki Minaj photoshoot and interview is published tomorrow, Thursday 13th January 2011.

Nicki Minaj wearing her Freddy Krueger glove in the My Chick Bad video

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