Popscreen: Nicki Minaj's "Stupid Hoe" is a Confused Mess

The mind of Nicki Minaj must be a confused and frightening place. Mostly confused, but still very frightening. I picture a basic brain stem, a cerebellum, and an amalgam of fake eyelashes, eye shadow, and ass.

That’s not to say that she doesn’t have talent. Minaj can spit some fire, and she shows off her talent on “Stupid Hoe” with lines like “‘Cause I pull up and I’m stuntin’ but I ain’t a stuntman / Yes I’m rockin’ Jordans but I ain’t a jumpman.” However, the profound weirdness of the video distracts from the track itself. “Stupid Hoe” isn’t strange in a “Oh-look-at-how-much-personality-she-has-hahaha” kind of way—just in the good old-fashioned, “Good-Lord-what-am-I-watching” kind of way.

It is hard to evaluate the thematic elements of the video for “Stupid Hoe” because it is hard to identify any thematic elements at all. The video feels like Minaj strolled through the FAO Schwarz of hip-hop music video tropes and grabbed whatever toys were the loudest and most immediately indicative of her aggressive and vibrantly colorful style. As a result, “Stupid Hoe” is filled with pink sports cars, war-paint application of neon makeup, and wild beehive hair.

Buried amongst the liberal and boisterous displays of Minaj’s persona are several obvious references to other female pop artists. She morphs into a leopard while cavorting about inside a cage, à la Shakira in “She Wolf.” There are also a few frames in which Minaj possesses grotesquely enlarged eyes, like Lady Gaga in “Bad Romance.” Unfortunately, both references serve only to highlight deficiencies of “Stupid Hoe.” Shakira is alarmingly sexy in her video, whereas Minaj is just plain alarming. “Bad Romance” was a triumph of choreography and artistic vision; “Stupid Hoe” is a mess of jump cuts and misguided attempts to be edgy.

While Minaj’s image is largely based on quirkiness, she overextends herself in this latest video. The track itself is a throwback to her earlier work, with snappy one-liners and disses whizzing about every which way. Unfortunately, in trying to emulate that high energy, the video ends up feeling disjointed and a bit disturbing. To Minaj’s credit, however, it takes real talent to make so much ass look so un-sexy.

—Staff writer Alexander Tang can be reached at tang@college.harvard.edu.

Tags