If you Google image search—Nicki Minaj, what will you find? The offspring of Lil Kim, Lady Gaga, Gwen Stafani and Hello Kitty? Perhaps. But you will also discover with a quick thumbnail scan, that she is one of the most unique marketers in a sea of assembly line musicians.
When I first heard Nicki Minaj rap on a song, I seriously thought it was an angry hip hop version of TLC. There was the sexy one, the proper English one and then the angry over the top aggressive one—ALL IN ONE SONG. Although it is all a little vague in her interviews, Minaj has identified at least three ‘alter egos’ she uses in her music: Roman Zolanski, Martha Zolanski and Onika.
So does having three alter egos in one song make Nicki Nicki a creative genius or just #WTF pop culture nut job?
I believe Nicki Minaj is a creative genius. Many artists are afraid to introduce multiple versions of who they are because they are unwilling to taint the static brand they present to the world. But to do that is an injustice to your art or whatever creative endeavor you are doing. As humans, we are complex. We don’t have to be bipolar to have many different personalities. We have dark sides, playful sides, loving sides, fearful and fearless sides. Confronting the complexity of our minds can be scary.
The truth is if we embrace our alter egos (like Nicki) our projects will take on a new life of their own… and they will be better for it. Nicki Minaj is a creative genius because she, like many other artists, embraces the fact that we have a wide range of emotions that don’t always fit into the confines of a single Facebook profile, website or business card. And no, changing your status from “I’m happy” to “I’m sad” doesn’t count as embracing the full scale of emotions.