This is what it’s like to be Nicki Minaj: you answer the call from Beyoncé to do a remix of “***Flawless,” and while you’re there, you ask Mrs. Carter to return the favor and appear on your upcoming album. We mere mortals, far from these queens, get to enjoy the spoils of this mutual-appreciation-fest. Today, Minaj released “Feeling Myself,” the track featuring Beyonce off Minaj’s next album, The Pinkprint, which slated for release on Dec. 15.
On the new track, she and Queen B cover all their usual bases: they are cocky as all get-out, they are unfathomably wealthy, they’re game-changers. But Minaj also gets into some relatively rare territory for women: she talks about masturbating.
You could make the case that the whole song is wrapped around a double-entendre (“feelin’ myself” basically speaks for itself). But the song gets even more direct than that already-obvious nod at self-pleasure: “Bitch, never left but I’m back at it, / And I’m feelin’ myself, jack rabbit / Feelin’ myself, back off, cause I’m feelin’ myself, jack off / Heard he thinks about me when he whacks off / Whacks on? Wax off.”
As the kind souls at Rap Genius pointed out, “The jack rabbit is one the most well known and loved vibrators on the market. It earned a special kind of meme status as a major plot point in an episode of Sex and the City’s first season.”
Her message is clear: guys need Minaj, but she doesn’t need guys. And guys who want her, as she describes in another recently-released Pinkprint track, need to beg for her. “Get On Your Knees,” featuring Ariana Grande — the cat-ear-wearing baby-Mariah who previously worked with Minaj on “Bang Bang” — demands of men what male rappers have been demanding of the usually nameless girls in their songs for decades: oral sex.
CREDIT: Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
Anyone who knows Grande best as a Nickelodeon star will probably feel scandalized by her insistence that she doesn’t want presents, flowers or poems from her man. Thanks but no thanks, boy: “I wanna see you looking up / Baby I’m a need you to beg for it.” The more explicit stuff is left for Minaj’s verses: “Gimmie brain, assume the position… Good head like a beautician, got me twitchin’, finish your mission.” I’ll just let you read the rest of it here, in case the kids are around.
It shouldn’t be such a rare thing, hearing a woman in music owning her sexuality in this specific way. Male artists talk about oral sex — always getting it, rarely giving it — all the damn time. But female artists, with limited exception, don’t go there in quite the same, direct, enthusiastic way.
Plenty of musicians, pop stars in particular, wink at the idea of being transgressive. They flirt with faux-taboo imagery — “I got that big booty,” “I just wanna break the rules,” “I won’t be no stick-figure, silicone Barbie doll” — all the while staying firmly inside the lines of accepted “good taste.” No one is trying to censor Iggy Azalea or Jennifer Lopez’s butts, and their single, “Booty,” instructs women to “give him what he asked for,” not the other way around. Meghan Trainor “ain’t no size two,” but she is a conventionally cute, blonde, young, white girl. Charli XCX can give high school the finger all she wants; she did, in fact, go to and graduate from high school, years ago, and she’s 22 years old.
But Minaj will actually talk about the things women aren’t supposed to talk about. Minaj is the feminist who doesn’t need Lena Dunham to tell her what feminism is. She will pose in all her hot-pink g-stringed you-looking-at-me?-faced glory on the cover art for “Anaconda.” She’ll call out the racist double-standard fueling the censorship that follows. She will be in the all-woman Amazonian wonderland she creates in the “Anaconda” video, a sultry NSFW jungle where she has achieved that tongue-in-cheek feminist aim of banning all men. She’ll break the banana in half.
She will out-think everyone; she’ll create well-thought-out provocative music and imagery, and then when she is asked what she thinks about the thinkpieces in response to her thoughtful art, she will deny having given the matter much thought at all. She projects a DGAF attitude and an “I work harder than everyone and I will be a billionaire” drive simultaneously. She isn’t so much the woman of 2014 as she is a woman of a not-too-distant future, benevolently gracing 2014 with her presence, impatiently tapping her foot at us, waiting for the world to catch up.