celebrity jury

Celebrity Jury: Nicki Minaj

You even have a day that just feels like a Monday?

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But let’s chat.  As you all may remember, when the blog first started, we would take a look at some celebrities and judge them.  You know like these:

Justin Timberlake
Justin Bieber
Ray J
Bow Wow Shad Moss D-Pimpin

Well since we haven’t had a lady be judged, it’s time to rectify that.  Step on down Nicki!

tre

 

Oh…that’s not you. Hi Tré!

actually nicki

 

There you are!  Let’s get this show on the road.

Pro: Nicki is a capable rapper.

Let’s flashback to 2009, when Nicki burst on the scene with a bunch of star-making features.  I remember thinking that she was nothing special.  Clever, but not that interesting.  This was the first verse that really made me sit up and take notice from a signed artist standpoint (more on the mixtapes later).

This is FANTASTIC.  Witty, interesting, lyrically sound.  There’s not a forced rhyme in the entire verse.  Effective use of her accents.  There is not a single flaw here.  It’s the best part of the song.

But what it showed me was that I had been too harsh in my initial judgment.  I may not have been a huge fan, but the lady can rap and rap well.

Con: These singles.

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Short Version: I don’t like these songs.

Long Version: These songs aren’t interesting.  Nicki doesn’t have a terrible singing voice, but it’s not one that we need to hear when she’s capable of Monster style verses.  The rapping here defaults to L’il Wayne style broken similes and metaphors that feel lazy to me.  I just don’t get excited about Nicki Minaj music 90% of the time.  I feel like I’m going to get something dull and plodding (Your Love, Pills and Potions) or something zany yet bland (Starships, Super Bass).

Pro: Nicki’s Makeunder

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For the first few years, Nicki ran around looking a clown’s ass and we just let it happen.  Her wigs were always bright and colorful but sat too low on her forehead or were plagued by tragic wig glue.  Her make-up…was frightening.  In the wake of Lady Gaga’s “style,” Nicki’s felt try-hard and uninspiring.  no

Like this?  This is dumb.  This isn’t interesting.  There is no message.  It’s just stupid.

However in 2013, Nicki Minaj started looking like a human and dressing in a more toned-down manner.  I hate to seem like I’m discouraging her creativity, but she looks amazing.

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Like look at this person.  Look at this woman.  How stunning is she?

Not only did it let us see what she looks like, but it had the effect of pressing “Reset” for those of us who were non-fans and others who loved mixtape Nicki.  It’s one of the most effective image makeovers in history.  I’m reminded of Dorothy Dandridge.  Some of you may or may not know, but Dorothy Dandridge had a very sweet and “apple pie” appeal when she first broke in Hollywood with the Nicolas Brothers.

She’s obviously a dynamic performer and talent, but she’s miles away from becoming Carmen Jones.

SO. HOT. RIGHT. NOW.  She’s like sex personified in the role.  It was this role that would infuse her nightclub acts with sensuality and become her lasting image rather than her earlier roles.

It’s my hope that this is the route Nicki is taking.  I’m open to liking her and her music more now because I think she looks amazing.  Had she started out this way, I would think that she had nothing more to offer, but now I feel like she deserves another shot, if that makes sense.

Con: Petty Betty is Petty.

Let’s flashback to the BET Awards.  I said this,

But back to Nicki coming for Iggy’s writing credits and authenticity.  Girl. Good. Bye. I don’t say that because I’m some huge Iggy fan or anything.  But to come for someone who is having career success when you’ve just beaten her for an award is petty.  It doesn’t make you look good.  It doesn’t speak well for your belief in YOUR career.  And to have Nicki Minaj come for anyone on the grounds of authenticity when she has run around for a good 5 years wearing multi-colored quick weaves, speaking in tragic accents, and calling herself a Barbie just reeks of a lack of self-awareness.  Writing all of those lyrics gave us Stupid Hoe and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  So good for you?

And you know, I stand by this.  Most of Nicki’s first two years were plagued with dumb drama with L’il Kim over “not paying enough homage.”  It was petty and stupid then.  And Nicki’s reacting to Iggy’s success now is petty and stupid.  Nicki’s lane is secure and clear, despite any misgivings I may have about her.  Iggy being a part of two great summer songs has nothing to do with her.  She may not be a fan but just relax and know that you are and can do better.  People who are comfortable in their position don’t worry about what others are doing.

Pro: Lookin’ Ass N****

Yes.  Just yes.

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Con: Stupid Hoe

Now, I had to break this out separately.  What. The. Fuck.

Who approved this?

Who thought this would be a hit?

This is awful.

This is Nicki at her most indulgent and terrible.  Anybody who did not see it for her can point to this song & video and prove their point.

Pro: Nicki supports feminism.

Or at the very least, pays lip service to it.  I’m a big supporter of women standing up for themselves and their causes.  And I appreciate that Nicki does the same in her way.  Her response to Loyal at Super Jam was great.

And while I don’t care for the Anaconda cover, I don’t feel like there’s any reason for the uproar.  It’s just her ass cheeks.  This is Nicki Minaj we’re talking about. Her ass is her brand.

Con: Defensive, thy name is Onika.

Back to the point, I was making about the Anaconda cover and uproar.  Nicki went on a rant with images of other non-Black women with their booty butt cheeks out or half-dressed when people critiqued the cover.  While I agree that there is nothing particularly wrong with the cover, I feel like this is an Azealia Banks move.  It’s not that Nicki shouldn’t respond or that she can’t respond.  It’s that instead of managing her career in a way that an artist of her stature can, she’s still acting like a struggling artist whose record sales live and die by Twitter.

She’s more than that and I think that there’s two ways to respond.  Get you an interview with Jimmy Fallon or Chelsea Handler and state your case.  Or release a freestyle called “Unbothered” with several pictures of your ass in all of it’s glory.

Duh…

Going back a little bit, remember her “feud” with Mariah Carey?  Mariah Carey is a rude and shady bitch, but losing your cool isn’t how you fight someone operating at that level of mastery.  You do some digging

Pro: Parodies & Sophia Grace/Rosie

Without Nicki, these things wouldn’t be here to tickle me.

Those little girls are mega adorable.

 

Con: Her Live Performances Leave Much To Be Desired

 

I’ve said a couple of times that Pills And Potions is a boring song that really had no business coming out for the summer.  But the decision was made and Nicki performed it at the BET Awards with that cheap bunny costume, giant mushroom prop and one contemporary dancer.  It’s interesting that she pulled from Alice in Wonderland given Lewis Carroll’s thinly veiled drug references in the original, but there’s always something lacking in the execution.

I’ve never seen a Nicki performance that was “creative” that didn’t come across as juvenile.  To me, it feels like she has the idea first and does not think anything through until the day of the performance.  I’ve seen stans make the argument that she majored in Theatre in high school and that’s what I get from these performances.  High school spring musical.  At a struggling high school.

I’ve just sat through a few performances and I’m still bored.  It’s all lackluster booty popping (for the rap songs) or forced creativity.  Thanks but no thanks.

Pro: She gave Cassie a job!

You all know how I feel about the Original Queen of Music.

Overall: Meh…

You know, I was making this list and I was pretty sure that it would come out as a positive for Nicki.  While I can’t say I’m a huge fan or anything, I really do think there is something to be said for her career.  It had been years since we had any female rappers doing anything of note.  Remy Ma has the talent and flow, but went to jail.  Shawnna is also a great rapper, but her own singles never had much commercial appeal outside of hoodrat clubs and college parties.  Nicki was able to rise to the top with a slew of memorable verses and catchy songs.  She’s managed to keep control of her career in some ways and redirect it away from a sinking ship.  She’s got talent and spark.

But I’m still not convinced.  I’m just not moved by her own material enough to really be on her team.  For every triumph, there’s a complete flop.  For ever accurate point made, there’s something petty and insecure the next day.

I would like to see Nicki find a way to just truly own her star image and sound.  I think once she stops trying to “make hits” and relies on what got her signed in the first place, she’ll be golden.

But until then…

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What are your thoughts?  Let me know in the comments or over the twitter machine.

 

 

Celebrity Jury: Bow Wow

What’s up, what’s happening??

Now it’s been a while since we have had a court session.  You can catch up here, here, and here! Let’s talk about Shad Moss.  L’il Bow Wow.  Mr. 106 & Park!

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Get into those luxurious locks!  Let’s get started.

Fact: Bow Wow has some jams.

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaass!

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snoopdance

 

Don’t be mad!

Fact: This Bow Wow and Omarion thing happened…

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You know how Watch The Throne was like super successful?  This was the Dollar General version of that.  And it was trash.  The songs were trash.  The only quality thing we got from this was Bow Wow’s sass.

“We gone own the forff quarter!
And if you don’t jump on the bandwagon now…”

::neck roll:: ::finger wave::

This song was trash.  Even if you liked it, you were wrong.

Fact: Bow Wow is not ugly.

Short, yes.  Ugly, no.

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Fact: Remember him dating Ciara??

Ciara, girl those notes!

Fact: You didn’t think I forgot Marco Polo, did you????

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Fact: Roll Bounce is the worst.

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Nope.  Not even a little.  This movie was terrible in every way.

Fact: Bow Wow is realistic.

Currently, Bow Wow is a host on 106 & Park.  This was a show where he dominated the countdowns and was a featured guest at one point.  I remember people clowning him for taking the gig as it was acceptance that he was no longer famous anymore.  I might have even done it.

But let’s get real, times are hard for those stars who came up in the early 2000’s.  It was a different time and sound that is now considered dated by most. So instead of going hungry, Shad took a job that pays consistently and keeps him employed.  He’s not out here scooting across Queen Latifah’s floor or releasing videos with the World Star Hip Hop tag.

So I’m not going to dis finding a way to stay paid without resorting to super flop ass records.

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Fact: Azimiz???

Fact: Bow Wow led to the best Catfish episode ever.

D-Pimpin: My name is Bow Wow.

    Nev: Your name is not Bow Wow.  What’s your name.

D-Pimpin: Shad Moss.

Did you all watch this episode?  It was incredible.  Part-time model/McDonald’s cashier thinks that Bow Wow is in love with her after a Facebook message response.  She also receives $10,000 which is how she knows it’s real.

D-Pimpin is a struggle rapper/mooch who gets money from her “mixtape” and uses a lambskin dildo to trick unsuspecting straight women.

It is all so AMAZING!

Verdict: Why not?

You know, I went into this thinking that the Bow Wow verdict would be a huge no, but honestly, I like Bow Wow.

Sure he hasn’t had any chart success recently, but he’s managed to get himself attached to the Fast & Furious franchise, keep a steady pay check, and he has some tunes that I jam to.  He hit some financial troubles but so did everyone associated with Jermaine Dupri.  Even Jermaine Dupri.  I just hope Dem Franchise Boyz are set.

So you know, team Bow Wow.  Let’s end with another sassy video clip from the Bow Wow/Omarion days.

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Celebrity Jury: Ray J

It’s Saturday and it’s time to decide the fate of another “celebrity.”

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Oh wait a minute, ain’t that Brandy’s brother?!

So Ray J, step on down!  It’s time to decide you fate.

Fact:  Ray J has been around a LONG time!

When Brandy burst onto the scene in the early 90’s with her box braids, hits on hits, and slayage; she dragged our dear friend Ray J in our conscious.  But Ray had bigger dreams than bodyrolling and doing the Bankhead Bounce with the catering staff.

Fact: Ray J can’t sing.

Yeah, while Brandy snatched on the final chorus on “I Wanna Be Down,” Ray J does not have said ability.  This is the video that led to the alleged fight between him and Fabolous.  And we all know how this ended.

Thanks Kid Fury! (@KidFury on Twitter)  If you don’t already know, love, and follow him, you LATE!

Fact: Ray  J has bops! Well, been a part of bops.  

Listen.  This is legit a flawless jam.  Trash’s favorite line: “Sexy, can I visit you at work while you slidin’ down the pole, no pannies no shirt!”

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143! AAAAAAAAAAYE WHAT IT DO!

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Obviously, the source of our opening line!  Back when we watched Free & AJ countdown the hottest videos, all of the lesser known R&B sensations were slaying!  Remember Nivea!  We’ll pay tribute to her and her Laundromat soon!

Fact: Ray J is a Petty Betty.

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Bye Ashy!  While I am no fan of the Kardashian, we know you had sex with her.  We know that she got paid millions of dollars while you took home a Happy Meal toy.  We know that she’s gone on to be rich, famous, and inescapable.   We know that you…ummm?

Got that snazzy haircut? I guess.

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Girl what is that?

Fun Fact: I Hit It First is one of Class’s favorite songs and was on his 2013 Top Played from Spotify.

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Fact: Ray J ruins shows.

Ray J was a part of two great shows from the 90’s and early 2000’s, Moesha & One On One.  On both shows, he appeared mid-series and did his very best to ruin it.  We didn’t care about Dorian or how he almost ruined the relationship between Frank & Dee.  We definitely didn’t care about One on One when Flex Washington left to smile at Shanice.  It was trash and he was trash.

Verdict:  Go sit in the corner, sir.

We live in a world where we have enough psuedo-celebrities.  Who keeps letting Ray J make music?  Who keeps letting him act?  Ray J, you are not a thug. You’re not a good singer.  Stick to random appearances in flop rappers songs and find Cris Arroyo and bring back New York!  I know you have his number!

What’s your verdict?  I know that I ignored Family Business and For The Love of Ray J but they just weren’t that illuminating or trashy.  And that’s not what I’m trying to do.

Let us know in the comments or on the Twitter Machine!  Happy Saturday!

Celebrity Jury: Justin Beiber

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Greetings!  It’s everybody’s favorite day of the week and I hope that you are celebrating appropriately.  Let’s talk Beiber.

I know he’s not everyone’s favorite person right now, but we need to give him a fair trial before Congress sends him back to Canadia.  Let’s get it started.

Fact: Beiber has some measure of talent.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t seeing it for the Beib when she had that swoop bang and all manner of leather vests.  But I won’t sit here and lie.  The boy can genuinely sing and has real musical talent.  He may be releasing bubblegum pop and hip-pop but the boy got his record contract fair and square.

Fact: Baby was a bop!

And before you even try it, Baby was the jam.  You can sit here and try to deny it but it has the perfect blend of sugary pop goodness and dance beat.  He may not have hit puberty here, but if it came on at the roller skating rink?! You, me, Dupree, and Irene would get our lives!

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Go get your life and bop!

Fact: Every other single (less Boyfriend) has been trash.

What pray tell is an Eenie Meenie Miney Mo lover?

No for real Beiber.  We just saw you on the steps killing it with a guitar and a feathered bowl cut.  Why would you even record this?  And with Sean Kingston??  This man??

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That’s just not the answer.  I won’t even start on Favorite Girl or any of those other bland songs he’s threatened us with.

Fact: Justin is, in fact, a giant douchebag. 

With all of the recent news of your arrest, the egging, and the drag racing foolery, you would think that would be all the evidence I need.  But for serious, let’s talk about that.

This 19-year old is spending all of his money and youth on drugs and shit.  Where are his parents?  Where is Usher?  WHERE IS JUDGE JOE BROWN?!

This young queen just let all his black friends take the heat.  This young queen was racing those cars like he was on the world’s slowest Hot Wheels track high and drunk.  That’s like 7 crimes, not including the fact that now we have to endure the Beliebers starting up a movement for you.

Fact: The Beleibers are annoying as all the fucks.

Now Class is an active Beyonce stan and I will cut someone if they come for Craig David the wrong way, but there’s no reason these prepubescent trollops should be on Twitter, Facebook, or even Oovoo.  (Whatever that is)

It’s wrong to hate a celebrity because of a group of people’s actions, but damn if it isn’t hard.

Fact: Beiber has been hitting the gym.

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(Source: Just Jared)

I’m not saying I’m into it.  I’m just saying I could see how someone else could be.

Fact: I thought we left these pants in the 90’s

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(Source: Go Fug Yourself)

Nope.  Absolutely not.

Fact: Justin Beiber ruined a flawless Craig David song.

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HOW DARE YOU!  As I mentioned earlier, I stan down for Craig David and may be the only one.  What you aren’t going to do is sample Fill Me In and ruin it with these croaky vocals and shitty lyrics.   THAT’S WHAT THE FUCK YOU ARE NOT GOING TO DO!

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::steps away to breathe::

Okay, now that I’ve calmed down.  What it boils down to is that the Beiber simply isn’t making quality music.  He seems to want to capture this R&B sound that most white pop stars dip into when they want to show that they’ve “matured.”

Final Verdict: It’s a no from me, sis. 

While Beiber may have had some cute bops and talent, all of his antics, fuckery, and “music” has turned off pretty much everyone.  That movie he released over the holidays flipped and flopped, he finally got arrested and delivered that mediocre beauty shot, and that petition has way more signatures than it probably should.

Hopefully, he and Lispy Brown find a prayer circle and work out those demons.  Meanwhile, let’s listen to Craig David and feel better about our lives.

Celebrity Jury – Justin Timberlake

Until Beyonce released her album in December and stormed the remaining days of 2013, the year really seemed to be about Justin, his hot comb, and his 20/20 vision.

But to be honest, I can’t seem to decide how I feel about him, so I’m going to take your Saturday and walk through this.

Argument: Justin is a fantastic singer and makes great music.

I remember in high school when “Like I Love You” came out.  Justin had just trimmed his ramen noodles and slept with his first chocolate lady.  He paid Pharrell in vampire tears, dragged Chris Kirkpatrick out of the studio by his yarn braids, and watched Michael Jackson’s Motown 20th anniversary performance.

I. LOVED. IT.

I remember buying his first album and wearing it out.  Senorita!  Rock Your Body! The album had hits!

And he kept the streak going, Sexy Back, My Love, and Until the End of Time.  Timberlake and his eye bags kept my body rocking.  But then…

Argument: I don’t like the 20/20 Experience.

I love R&B almost to a fault.  To sum it up, I found it boring.  I thought a lot of the romantic lyrics fell flat.  I felt that the songs dragged.  The production didn’t excite me.  And yes, I’m talking about Part 1.

Part 2…was trash.  We can agree to disagree with Part 1, but those Part 1 rejects were unacceptable.  I won’t stand for it.

Just no.

Argument: Jessica Biel is so boring, that she inspired hatred.

Far be it from me to tell Justin who to marry.  But speaking specifically from a celebrity perspective, what does Jessica do?  Being in terrible movies seems to have run out.  Justin doesn’t seem to bring her to awards shows (squats as slavery??).  All the seasons of 7th Heaven have already been released to DVD.

That Maxim cover from a time when Bow Wow was still L’il just isn’t enough to keep her relevant.

I’ll leave this here as the conclusion to this argument.

http://www.eonline.com/news/500982/jessica-biel-toying-with-idea-for-kids-restaurant-but-not-happening-anytime-soon-despite-reports

Argument: Justin Timerberlake is funny and acts well.

Lonely Island is funny.  Dick In a Box is still being used by the bros to get a cheap laugh.  That’s when you know that you have made it!

And I actually want to acknowledge his participation in Bad Teacher.  That movie was amazing for Cameron Diaz and Justin was good in it.  I’ve not seen that Facebook movie but he was praised there as well.

His movies may not do well but he is not the worst part of his feature films.

Argument: That hair.

File:Justin Timberlake Cannes 2013.jpg

Nope.

Argument: Justin in boxers.

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Yes.

Argument: This exists and is flawless.

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Conclusion

I’m still meh on Justin Timberlake but this has been a great way to talk about my feelings towards Justin. He has talent but I didn’t like his latest project.  He’s funny and decent actor, but has picked mostly blah material.  His wife is dull but he seems to be in love with her.

Now release some good music and seriously stop pressing your hair.  It’s weird and it ages you.

How do you feel about Justin?  Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter at @ClassNTrashShow.