Is Nicki Minaj The Hip-Hop Lady Gaga?

By Chris Yuscavage

For Nicki Minaj, there is no comparison.

When Billboard proclaimed her the “First Lady (Gaga) of Hip-Hop” last week, Nicki Minaj jumped on her Twitter account immediately to refute the comparison.

“I didn’t ‘borrow a page’ out of anyone’s book,” she tweeted, before adding “It’s ok 2 give everyone their individual props. No need to lump them all into 1. Undermines the work I’ve put in.”

That’s all well and good but, in a way, Nicki should have been flattered to be compared to one of the biggest pop stars in the world right now. With Lady Gaga recently nominated for the TIME Person of the Year award, it’s actually a good thing for Nicki to be in the same category as her, especially given that she’s a new artist and Pink Friday is her first project. She must be doing something right in the eyes of fans and critics.

We also happen to agree with the comparison. To show you why, RapFix gathered a list of the 10 reasons that Nicki Minaj is the second coming of Lady Gaga. No need to get your (pink leopard?) panties in a bunch, Barbies. This is one comparison Nicki can use to her advantage.

1. She has a rabid core fan base that are extremely loyal

It’s wrong to insinuate that Nicki used the same exact approach to gain fans—or “Barbz” as she calls them—as Gaga. But they’ve certainly gotten the same result. Miss Minaj has gained much of her popularity by getting a rabid fan base behind her and letting them do some of her promotional work for her. Like Gaga, she’s put her career into the fans’ hands and let them mold her into a superstar. Just like a real-life Barbie doll.

2. She also has a laundry list of haters

Any successful person needs a ton of fans—and a ton of haters. Why else do you think rappers talk about all the “hate” they get so often? When Gaga’s stock started to rise a couple of years ago, there were throngs of music fans who stood up and openly questioned everything from Gaga’s sexuality to her ability to sing in order to try and discredit her as an artist. But by doing it, they only made her core fans that much more die-hard. The same thing has effectively driven Nicki’s name to the top of the rap charts.

3. She has a unique sense of style that she sticks to religiously

People can clown Nicki for her colorful wigs and her sometimes—”Mad Max” stretch pants all they want. All she does is go back into the closet and pull out something even more outrageous. She hasn’t quite come around to the idea of wearing a “meat dress” yet, but if she did, would you really be surprised?

4. She has worked hard to build an identity

To some degree, every famous person on the planet has to put on an act in order to entertain the masses. It just so happens that Gaga and Minaj have found the act—or, in their cases, the acts (what up, Roman Zolanski?)—that have worked best for them. And once they found their identity, they kept it up and kept at it until the world was forced to pay attention.

5. When she makes a guest appearance on a song, you know it

When is the last time you heard a song featuring Lady Gaga and walked away from it talking about the main artist? When is the last time you heard a song featuring Nicki Minaj and walked away from it talking about the main artist? Never and never. These two both make the most out of a guest appearance and leave people talking. Talking about them, of course.

6. She knows how to move a crowd

No matter how dope you are on a record, it does you no good if you can’t perform it live. And both Nicki and Gaga have shown that, for as eccentric as they are on a song, they’re just as eccentric in person. Nicki has her funny faces, Gaga has her crazy outfits and they’ve both garnered a huge audience as a result.

7. She thinks outside the box when it comes to recording music videos

Male singers and rappers could learn a thing or two from watching music videos by these two. Gaga’s are usually ridiculously long and involve a whole lot of symbolism that we don’t always get. Likewise, Nicki’s usually try and follow some type of storyline that takes some deciphering to figure out exactly what she’s portraying. But in both cases, they get the blogs and the message boards popping with people spewing their opinions on them. Love them? Hate them? Doesn’t matter. You’re talking about them.

8. She used a male cosign to get on—but didn’t use it to stay there

At the beginning, Lady Gaga had Akon in her corner. Nicki had Lil Wayne cheering her on. Neither has moved away from her male mentor, but they’ve both made us forget that they were once so closely associated with them. They’re strong, viable and, most importantly, independent artists that don’t need a man to stand behind them to get things done.

9. She loves making music, but wants to do more

Nicki makes music … right now. In the future, she also wants to star in movies. And run a clothing line. And make makeup for girls. And  … well, she wants to do a little of just about everything. She wants to turn the Nicki Minaj brand into the Nicki Minaj empire, just as Lady Gaga has started to do.

10. She is the most polarizing female artist in her genre

In the rap world, people love her. People hate her. People want to see her succeed. People want to see her fail. But if you mention her, people will talk about her, just like Lady Gaga.

Do you think it’s fair to compare Nicki Minaj to Lady Gaga? Why or why not? Tweet us at @MTVRapFix or tell us in a comment below!

Don’t miss the documentary “Nicki Minaj: My Time Now,” premiering Sunday, November 28, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on MTV!