“I know there’s some chicks here waiting to sing ‘Starships’ later…I’m not talking to y’all right now. F*ck that bullsh*t. I’m here to talk about real hip-hop shit.”
Hot 97 Peter Rosenberg ruffled some industry feathers Sunday at Summer Jam when he made the above comments about Nicki Minaj’ “Starships” song. In response, Minaj’s label boss Li’l Wayne declared that Young Money would not be involved with Summer Jam and sure enough, Minaj did not appear.
Rosenberg Will NEVER Apologize
Granted, Summer Jam was neither the time nor the place to address an issue with Nicki Minaj’s music. On the professional tip, you could also say that Rosenberg was out of line for speaking negatively of one of the biggest acts on the ticket. However, if Minaj is upset at her music not being considered hip-hop, she should have taken a hip-hop approach to the very hip-hop diss. Instead, Li’l Wayne pulls Nicki from the show altogether, leaving her fans high and dry.
HOT97 Program Director Ebro Speaks On The Issue
Sidebar: You support Nicki Minaj’ career “because she’s from Queens”?!? Forget keeping any integrity in the music if you’re openly admitting to doing favors for artists based on where they’re from, how can anyone on the HOT97 staff talk about “real” anything? But anyway, I think it was clear that there’s some underlying BS going on between Young Money and HOT97 that has some history to it.
Funkmaster Flex vs. Nicki Minaj
This is where Nicki becomes less of a victim and more of a person who needs to get the hell out of here. First, Nicki goes on and on about her fans who were at the show or watching the show on live-stream and how Rosenberg’s comments offended them. If you go so hard for your fans and they’re who you care about and you want to drop “my fans” every other sentence, you have to know that the biggest thing you can do for those precious fans is to show up to the show they paid their hard-earned money for. Anyone that has heard “Starships” knows that anyone who likes that particular song probably isn’t watching the show for the other featured artists. Chances are Kendrick Lamar fans aren’t also checking for that. That being said, if Nicki is as about the fans as she says here, she should have honored those who made the effort to see her by fulfilling her duties.
The second problem with Nicki’s response here is that she brought sexism into the issue, which does not make sense. “I’m holding it down for women“? You feel singled out as the only female on the bill? Nicki is actually doing female MCs a disservice by acting as if this is an issue of gender as opposed to someone calling her to task about her crossing over into areas that are everything but hip-hop. Nicki is thinking she is a martyr and I don’t think HOT97 or anyone should allow her to play that card.
Overall, I find it laughable that a DJ at a major radio station is calling an artist to task about not making “real hip-hop” when they work within an industry that makes it harder and harder for hip-hop to exist without being watered down for mass appeal. Granted, Rosenberg is his own man and doesn’t 100% represent his station, but for Flex to come out and say at the show that he’s not supporting commercial artists anymore is pure showmanship and no one is convinced. I don’t listen to radio, but I’m sure it was business as usual come Monday.
I am glad that this came up. Hopefully, this will get some dialogue going about the relationship between radio and hip-hop. At what point does an artist “sell out” and at that point, do we still consider them hip-hop because they started out that way or call them something else? “Starships”, like more and more of Nicki Minaj’s recent material, is unadulterated schlock geared for international club money. There’s nothing about it that’s hip-hop, no matter how you slice it, and I don’t think I’m being a puritan for saying so. It’s the epitome of selling out, which is fine if Minaj would own up to that, which she doesn’t seem to be willing to do. She screams at Flex “Nicki Minaj is not a joke”, yet her public persona screams otherwise. Don’t get me wrong…when Minaj first popped up on the mixtape scene, I liked her stuff to a degree…she was also rapping. I’m not saying all artists must remain married to the same style they got on with, but I like my singers to be singers, not just playing at it. And you can’t put out Night At The Roxbury soundtrack songs and expect me to call it hip-hop simply because you started your career as a rapper.
In terms of the event, the only person really hurt by Nicki Minaj not showing up was her fans. Her absence probably hurt them more than Rosenberg’s comment. Nicki’s set was scheduled to feature a guest appearance by Nas as a tribute to Queens, Nicki’s hometown. Hell, Nicki even said she was excited to perform in New York again. Notice, however, in her conversation with Flex, she seemed more focused on her international fans and people watching via stream. And then her label head from New Orleans cancels her appearance and attributes it to “knowing her worth”. What of the people who paid good money to see you perform and showed up physically to see you? This is what Flex was ranting about at the show. Nicki’s gone Hollywood and there’s too much of that in commercial rap. It’s not hip-hop. Will Flex stop “f*cking with commercial rappers”? Hell no…not if they want to keep the lights on at HOT97, but it gets a dope dialogue going.
If the argument is what is or isn’t hip-hop, Rosenberg going off the head and speaking his mind about the pop music Nicki Minaj makes is hip-hop as hell. Canceling a show via tweet (Wayne) is NOT hip-hop. It would have been very hip-hop of Nicki Minaj to take to the stage, say “F*ck Peter Rosenberg”, kick a few bars to prove herself to any doubters and then from that point perform whatever song she wanted, be it hip-hop, pop, or polka. Clutching your pearls and getting all in your feelings isn’t hip-hop and we need to get back to the time when MCs had to prove themselves beyond sales and mass appeal. There was a time when Peter Rosenberg would have got punched in his face for making a comment about an MC and, though I’m glad we’re not going to such extremes here, the expectation for rappers to be true to the culture even to the smallest degree has evaporated.
Video of the song in question….
Starships x Nicki Minaj
Gentlemen…father your sons.