Money Forever Young – Can Drake and Nicki Minaj Maintain their Momentum?
If you pay attention to anything hip hop, you cannot help but to hear about Young Money (YMCMB). Drake and Nicki Minaj are the main artists bringing in revenue for the label besides Lil Wayne. Drake has had meteoric rise due to his rhyming and singing chops; Nicki Minaj, on the other hand, has made waves due to her rambunctious lyrical flow and harajuku influenced costume play. Right now, they have a chokehold on the industry; but, just like many situations due to change and gravity, they are not destined to be on top forever.
Let’s be serious here: between the two of them, Drake has the better, profound artistry. Drake started out with his So Far Gone mixtape, which was so successful that it garnered him radio play, touring, and (deemed unnecessary) singing with Young Money. While many feel that he hasn’t touched his lyrical ability on his major albums, some are still faithful that he may take a turn and rhyme. And we aren’t talking about Swizz Beat rhyming (the construct of chorus like chants to hide any real lyrical ability) – we are talking about spitting rhymes like he did on Comeback Season. Between the two, Drake has the bigger possibility to maintain artistic integrity over time.
To be honest, as “soft” as his music may be, Drake has the ability to make great music. From his mixtapes, people should not be surprised to hear him do a lot of R&B sounding stuff. Yet, he can still get into lyrical shape over tracks, too (Lord Knows being an obvious example). Plus, he recognizes that he should get lyrically dynamic on future projects.
Nicki Minaj, however, may run short after her third or fourth album. When she first came on the scene, she was almost like a newer version of Lil Kim. She would spit hood glorious freestyles and dress like a “regular chick”. However, once being signed, she underwent a transformation. The “Harajuku Barbie” took on real form within her own entertaining “plastic doll persona”. She became more colorful, comical, and callously commercial.
How did this affect her music? Well, for starters, she became more of a “pop” oriented artist. This would not be such a bad thing if her talents were more organic and unintentional. She worked hard to be known as a pop artist, though. Auto-tuned singing, David Guetta productions, and endorsement deals got her closer to being a household name. Yet, publicly tragic performances only sealed the deal on her time being ultimately limited.
While their run at the top may become leprechaun short, Drake may have more fight in his career than the Irish of Notre Dame. Nicki is popular now and will have present/future riches to plunder. Still, her career isn’t based on “greatness” or “skill”. The basis of her popularity is characterization. While that is good for keeping people’s attention, this is music. Your character only carries you for so long. Just ask 50 Cent about that one.