Here are Nicki Minaj’s latest and hopefully last words on being compared to Lady Gaga, as told to ABC’s Nightline. They’re rather emphatic:
“[Do the comparisons] offend me? No. Irks me? Yeah. First of all, I’m a rapper. First of all, I’m from southside Jamaica, Queens. What are the similarities? … Every female in this game wears wigs. Over the top costumes? Nah. Try again. It’s getting tired now to me. At first I was like, okay, it’s cool. Ha ha, when they get to know me, they’ll understand me. Gaga’s a fantastic artist. You know, she’s paved her way. She’s opened her own lane. But I feel like I have my own lane. And we never cross, ever!
Ever? Never ever? Strong words, those. On the one hand, Nicki’s point is one that always deserves making–arbitrary comparisons between female artists are rampant and annoying, Nicki and Gaga really aren’t all that much alike, and everyone does indeed wear at least three wigs per year and enough over-the-top costumes to stock a Halloween store. But this specific comparison holds up a little more than your standard, lazy name squish–particularly lately, and particularly for Roman Reloaded. Below, three parallels with substance:
RedOne. The pop portion of Roman Reloaded–the Reloaded portion, one could say–was largely produced by RedOne, including both single “Starships” and almost-certainly-a-future-single “Pound the Alarm.” RedOne had plenty of production credits before Lady Gaga, of course, but The Fame was his breakthrough. (Sorry, Kat DeLuna, Darin and every A*Teen and Cheetah Girl; you all know it’s true.) RedOne’s also a very distinctive producer, in the sense that lots of his songs sound a lot alike. In this case, “Automatic” sounds a bit, as we’ve pointed out, like Born This Way‘s RedOne-produced “Highway Unicorn (Road 2 Love),” especially the verses.
Her Grammys performance. Provocative stunts about Catholicism? Habitual habit-wearing? Showing up in a weird costume that dominated all the pre-show chatter? Choreography by Laurieann Gibson? Being one of the most exciting, or at least one of the most flashily staged, performances at its respective show? We’re not the only ones to make the comparison.
Alter egos who are tough guys. There’s not much else to say on this, so we’ll ask a question instead: would you prefer a Nicki/Gaga teamup or a Roman/Jo teamup? Or all four, even? If we’re not turning this into a feud (and let’s not), let’s instead turn it into a collaboration. Much nicer that way.