Until this past week I knew Nicki Minaj before I even heard of Jasmine Mans. My inbox was being flooded with subject lines, "Poet Slams Nicki", "Poet Puts Nicki in Her Place", and "This Girl Is Hating on Minaj or Schooling Her? What You Think?"
I started to ignore it as some more built up "beef game" between the two people. Plus I've never listened to a Nicki Minaj song--only heard one verse from one song. Can't even think of the song let alone tell you what she said. I just mostly know her from the images I've seen of her circulated on the Internet. I heard comparisons to Lil Kim, Drake's so-called obsessions with her and I even have a few of my former students who love her to death--even rock their hair like her.
My point? I wouldn't know if Jasmine Mans was dissing her or not, because I don't know much about Nicki Minaj. However, I'm sure my assumptions about her presentation is on point. She's selling sex and giving the consumers what they want. It's not anything new but a change is needed.
Soooooo, I decided to go to AllHipHop.com to see what all of the Jasmine Mans hype is all about. She performed an original poem titled “The Mis-Education of a Barbie” during the 2010 Stomp Da Madness competition at the University of Wisconsin. I admit the first time I watched it, I was caught up in her delivery style more than the words.
I pressed rewind and read the lyrics along with her delivery the second time. I was impressed with the content, and I didn't see it as a diss. I saw it as encouragement from another sistah. Watch it for yourself, and please read the words before you judge.
My thoughts? Below the video.
Jasmine Mans was on point.
I think Nicki Minaj isn't the only one in the rap game selling sex, degrading self, spitting un-cultivating content (I could be wrong) and riding the wave of their moment. That includes the men.
The problem I think is that the power and presence of the female MC is so extinct right now that Nicki Minaj is an easy target. She's the only thing hot right now--from the people's perspective. Who is her contender? What about the ones who spit conscious lyrics and represent high civilization? Do you even know who they are? Do they have a PR machine, major sponsors and labels behind them like Nicki Minaj? Uhm, nope!
Matter of fact I hate that it took all of this hype for me to hear of Jasmine Mans. She's brilliant!
Hip Hop Needs The Balance of the Feminine Power", "Something I have been telling people in the past 7 years I have been rapping professionally is that Hip Hop isn't dead it just needs a balance it needs a queen.. but not just one "queen" it needs the balance of the feminine power." (Note: I support her. Please read the entire editorial)
The lyrics by Jasmine go beyond Nicki Minaj. I don't know how long she will be around, but I know somewhere in every inner city in America another "Nicki Minaj" is being groomed in the club, the projects, the video shoot, and even in the schools. Somewhere there is a mother yelling to her baby girl "shake it baby" as she's mimicking the latest dance moves. It's a systemic problem rooted in a mindset that has to be destroyed. That's what I saw Jasmine addressing--a culture of degradation.
But of course including Nicki Minaj in your piece adds to the hype—even if the hype wasn’t Jasmine’s aim. You know what, maybe people should have asked Jasmine what did she set out to accomplish with this piece? In a recent post on her blog she said, "My piece is not a “diss,” it is a dare....I dare Nicki Minaj to be a PHENOMENAL WOMAN and not a phenomenal "Barbie."
I chose to look past the hype and extract the message. And since this video has exceeded 100,000 views, maybe Nicki Minaj had a chance to view it. Her crew may have chalked it up as "hatin" like most did. I didn't. I saw it as sincere advice.
Two hip hop artists I've had on my blog, Jasiri X and Dee-1, were accused of hating on certain popular rappers when they only spoke truth about them in their videos “Just A Minstrel” and “Jay, 50 and Weezy”, respectively.
Personally, I rarely buy hip hop music anymore and I’m not into 99% of the magazines on the shelf right now because it’s more sex ads than intellectually stimulating content. I prefer reading print and online publications like The Final Call Newspaper and Hurt 2 Healing Magazine.
Critique is not hatin’. Grow up, already!
Jasmine Mans came with truth. She said in the poem, "You are being traded paper in exchange for you to be plastic/All Dolls will evidentially mal-function."
The message I got from this is: How about YOU be the next real you and stop living a fake life. That's not just for Nicki Minaj....because alot of us living like malfunctioning dolls in our daily lives impersonating someone else. So we hide behind masks the other 364 days outside of Halloween.
The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad says, "Accept Your Own and Be Yourself."
P.S.--Once you have calmed down from the hype (smile), check out Jasmine's piece "Michelle Obama"...now let's see if this one gets 100,000 views....uhm. Probably won't.