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Nicki Minaj plays Barbie on the cover of her new album

Nicki Minaj, love her or hate her, is definitely on top of the hip-hop game these days.

It seems like every time you turn on the radio, you can’t get away from her quirky, flirty, or downright scary voice.

The self-professed “Black Barbie” drops her debut album, Pink Friday, November 23rd, but her album art has already shown up all over the Internet.

The cover is striking, depicting Ms. Minaj as a vacant, mutilated, and disproportional broken doll. From her super-stretched legs to her obviously inflated bust, Nicki’s image is both fun and grotesque.

What I like most about the cover is that it’s obvious that Nicki is in on the irony. Even the font is a send-up of the Barbie brand. It is a visual reminder of how the media treats women, especially women in the male-dominated field of hip hop. She is dressed up, there to be played with, but also harshly used and bent to other people’s will. 


In mainstream hip hop, women often have to trade on their looks, or their role in a male fantasy. The cover seems to be a wink at her female audience, in a way saying, “I know.”

While it can definitely be argued that Nicki’s not the best role model for girls, or that her lyrical content is questionable, no one can deny how popular she has become in the last year. And I for one, am happy to have another lady in the game who supports her female audience, her GLBTQ fans, and seems to have a little bit more to say than the last few “femcees” in the mainstream.

Miriam Traore

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