By Kate Ebeling, Staff Writer
As Nicki Minaj so gracefully put it on Monster, “You could be the king, but watch the queen conquer.” And to put it bluntly, that’s what Minaj has done since her guest spot on Ye’s track: claimed her place as queen in the hip-hop world with songs like “Your Love,” “Pound the Alarm” and the ever catchy “Starships.”
Minaj differentiates herself from other female rappers in “the game” with her distinct voice, multiple personalities and the claim that she is fully able and frequently contributes lyrics and music to her own songs. Minaj quickly rose to fame with her tropical beats and infectiously raunchy lyrics. But with a pending lawsuit on the horizon, is Queen Nicki’s career hitting the brakes after only a few years in the spotlight?
Minaj is no stranger to controversy. In recent years, Brooklyn-based rapper Lil’ Kim shot vicious claims at Minaj that her entire personality – including her look and sound – was a complete rip-off of Kim’s earlier career. Minaj took the criticism and allegedly responded with “Roman’s Revenge,” although she denies the claims.
More recently, according to the Daily Mail article, the recent lawsuit says Minaj ‘s “Starships” was ripped off a reclusive electronic musican Clive Tanaka’s song “Neu Chicago.” The track was released on his album “Jet Set Siempre 1º,” which debuted in 2010, two full years before Starships hit the airways. Tanaka posted a mash up of the two songs on his Soundcloud, with comments agreeing that the two sound “almost identical.”
The question at this point is not money, but musical integrity. For a musician who claims to frequently contribute to the writing and production of her songs, the accusation of literally stealing the entire melody for a track that sat at number one for 21 weeks is a little questionable, if not entirely suspicious. Minaj and her team have stayed uncharacteristically mum, leaving the listeners to question what really happened in the studio.
Take a listen for yourself, but it’s clear there was some ‘creative overlap,’ to put it nicely.