Nicki Minaj dropped a new single called “Lookin’ Ass Ni**a,” that had the internet in a frenzy over the song and the single image cover using Malcolm X.
The photograph of Malcolm X holding an M1 Carbine rifle while peering out of a window is thought to be published in Ebony and Life magazine in 1964 (its exact origin is debated). The picture was taken in his Queens home, after he left the Nation of Islam, and would be assassinated a year later. Hip-Hop heads with plenty of years under their belt will surely remember KRS-One using the same pose (hold an Uzi instead of a rifle) as the cover of the Boogie Down Productions album By All Means Necessary. Official Hip-Hop purists will also note that Jay Z’s The Blueprint (2001) album actually followed BDP’s Ghetto Musi The Blueprint of Hip Hop (1989) album, which with Nicki Minaj ti*ling her next album The Pink Print means extra irony.
But the issue at hand is the use of Brother Malcolm’s image. Juxtaposting the words “Lookin Ass Ni**a” anywhere near the likeness of a man who is an icon and hero to many African-Americans, and progressive people in general, is uncomfortable. Actually, plenty of people see it as utmost disrespect. Also, we haven’t discussed the song’s less than savory and wholly unrighteous content.