"Only" ain't a love song, but you might not have expected the video to veer nearly as dark as horrorcore, with director Hannah Lux Davis overshadowing her pop/beauty side with something more akin to old-school Floria Sigismondi, with a little S&M and even Hostel thrown into the mix.
Noted music video critic and head of the Anti Defamation League Abraham Foxman is not happy with the lyric video for Nicki Minaj:
Nicki Minaj’s new video disturbingly evokes Third Reich propaganda and constitutes a new low for pop culture’s exploitation of Nazi symbolism. The irony should be lost on no one that this video debuted on the 76th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the “night of broken glass” pogrom that signaled the beginning of the Final Solution and the Holocaust.
It is troubling that no one among Minaj’s group of producers, publicists and managers raised a red flag about the use of such imagery before ushering the video into public release.
This video is insensitive to Holocaust survivors and a trivialization of the history of that era. The abuse of Nazi imagery is deeply disturbing and offensive to Jews and all those who can recall the sacrifices Americans and many others had to make as a result of Hitler’s Nazi juggernaut.
No comment, however, on lyrics like:
Yo, I never fucked Wayne, I never fucked Drake
On my life, man, fuck's sake
If I did I menage with 'em and let 'em eat my ass like a cupcake
The "Only" lyric video is styled like an old comic book or cartoon — the intro should remind you of Looney Tunes — and is generally a jumble of references to power: Fascism, totalitarianism, religion, militarism and other 'isms. Being offended by the Young Money logo styled as red armbands, but not being offended by Drake as a priest who boasts of getting great oral from thick women, or Nicki's invitation to eat her ass like a cupcake seems odd. But both the ADL and Nicki Minaj have reasons to stay in the media, so you don't need to be a total cynic to chalk this up as an example of the symbiotic online churn. The attention here works well on all levels: Nicki's lyric video gets millions of views and press attention, and the ADL gets to focus attention their noble cause.
PS: Nicki responded to the criticism on Twitter, with a sensible "I'm very sorry & take full responsibility if it has offended anyone. I'd never condone Nazism in my art" (although most crisis PR experts would have advised she left out the "I didn't come up with the idea" and "my best friend is Jewish" parts):
The artist who made the lyric video for “Only” was influenced by a cartoon on Cartoon Network called "Metalocalypse" & Sin City.
Is it the apex of female empowerment for Nicki Minaj to take a term Sir Mix-A-Lot used to refer to his manhood and coil it into a reference to her own powerful assets? Or, are we just looking at an excuse to watch booty shake like rattlesnake tails?
Welcome to the insane territory of no-holds-barred postmodern music video, where you don't need to just stop at putting em on the glass; Now you can shatter that glass with ferocious ass-rattling power. In a set-up similar to Katy Perry "Roar" — think of "Anaconda" as the Hard R version — MInaj unleashes the booty and likely renders you speechless (or in the case of lap dance recipient, Drake, painfully immobile).
Can Nicki Minaj co-opt Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Anaconda" and make it a powerfully threatening nickname for her derriere? The answer, of course, is yes — especially saying no to Ms. Minaj is not something I'd recommend.