By now everyone is familiar with the drama surrounding Nicki Minaj’s sophomore album Roman Reloaded and its validity as a “hip-hop” album. The most recent person to weigh in on her and the album is Rapper turned actor Ice T.
Following the release of his documentary Something From Nothing: The Art Of Rap, he sat down with Rolling Stone to share his opinions on some of hip-hop’s hottest topics, including the debates surrounding Nicki Minaj’s album and her recent Summer Jam no-show.
‘There’s also been a marked change in the last few years, with artists like Drake and Nicki Minaj singing as much as they are rapping. Do you feel like that dilutes the art of rap or broadens it?
A good emcee will rhyme a lot of different ways. Don’t limit yourself. Maybe on this record, you’re on something a little bit different, a little house-y, and then for this one you go to DJ Premier for some real hardcore beats, or then you have that big, super, grand DJ Khaled production that’s so incredible. You gotta learn how to change your flow so you’re not doing the same thing over and over again.
Just last week, Hot 97’s Peter Rosenberg dissed Nicki Minaj by implying that her song “Starships” isn’t “real hip-hop,” and she responded by pulling out of her headlining slot at Summer Jam. Some have applauded him, while others say his point of view is outdated. What do you think “real hip-hop” is?
I think it’s all “real hip-hop.” You have the core hip-hop, which would just be beats and breaks, more something like what you hear with DJ Premier. Then you get into the more highly produced hip-hop, which is something like what DJ Khaled does. But at some point, it starts to get kind of pop. It goes into this other realm.
Nicki went on tour with Britney Spears, so she’s on another channel. But to me, it all comes from hip-hop; it’s like a growth of hip-hop, whether you agree with that growth or not. Like me, I’m not the biggest Nicki Minaj fan but I think she can rhyme. She does her thing. She has her own way of doing it. She has an ill vocal delivery. She kind of reminds me of a female Busta Rhymes, like how she throws her voice in different directions – but she’s no Lil Kim. I think when people say “real hip-hop,” they want it more buried in the streets. They want it more connected to the streets and the grime and the roughness of the streets. They don’t want the fluff.’
Check out the full interview at Rollingstone.com