Nicki vs. Mariah: Hip Hop Beef on a Pop Diva Diet

Hip hop already doesn’t have that great of a rep in the public eye as of late, what with it being blamed for so much of what’s wrong with society. But hey, that’s really nothing new. However, recent events that have been taken hold of by mainstream media outlets don’t do the genre, the culture or the music any justice, to be as frank as possible. And the beef factor has recently come to a head again, with an altercation between southern Hip Hop power houses Young Jeezy and Rick Ross at the 2012 BET Hip Hop awards securing the attention of fans and foes alike.

But it’s another feud between competing divas Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey that’s started to grab much more attention in just the past few days. As many are aware, Minaj and Carey are both new judges for the uber successful FOX music competition reality show American Idol, replacing Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez on the show which premieres next January. At first, Ms. Mariah denied wholeheartedly that any feud between herself and Nicki even existed. But recent tape has surfaced, from none other that scandal-hungry media outlet TMZ, in which the Pop/Hip Hop megastar and the R&B songstress trade barbs back and forth, with poor Keith Urban, also a new AI judge, caught in the middle.

This supposed war of words between Minaj and Carey is the main thing that many Pop culture fans have been salivating over the thought of for some time now. Both Nicki and Mariah have their respective histories of being considered “Divas” that are demanding, dramatic and difficult to work with. But some have begun to question whether this battle has been staged on the part of the creators of the show and the head honchos at FOX to court fans into watching with sparked anticipation if there will be more fuel added to the fire of this feud. One thing we should ask ourselves is this: In all honesty, would it be that far-fetched to think a staged fight between the two most popular judges on the show would be a possibility? Probably not.

Then again, American Idol also has its own history in terms of feuding judges. For a long time, Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul were pretty much at each others’ throats over pretty much everything: who could sing and who couldn’t, the respect that each showed towards the other on the show, and a lot more. And this, of course, eventually led to Paula being let go from the show, only to resurface as a judge of Cowell’s Idol Spin-off The X Factor, and being dumped again. So, in all honesty, it may be hard to say whether this new war is one that’s born out of pure dislike and misunderstandings, or just one that’s been cooked up for the purpose of ratings.

One thing is for certain: Whether the Nicki/Mariah feud has been put together for ratings or if it’s real, American Idol will definitely get the ratings that it’s seeking as it enters its new season. The judges this year are an interesting stew of the new and the now, as well as the legendary and the familiar. Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban and Mariah Carey as part of the show cross all kinds of cultural, age and and generational boundaries. So the strategy of the creators of AI and the FOX heads seems to be in line with the direction that the music industry as a whole is taking, with the lines between favorite artists, songs, albums, genres and singles being blurred every single day. We can possibly say that American Idol is trying its best to succeed in being an all-music show.

At first, this looked like it could be a bad bunch of publicity for FOX and for AI, with the newly crowned Pop Princess/Hip Hop Queen and the 90s mega mainstream music diva clashing over the tiniest things. But in all actuality, it looks like this is turning out to be an instance that’s working in the favor of the show and the network. Don’t be surprised if there are a record number of viewers tuning into see American Idol when it premieres in January.

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