You can’t look at the rap scene in 2015 and not give Nicki Minaj her due for changing the landscape. She no doubt owes a debt of gratitude to her predecessors – sexually empowered rappers like Lil’ Kim, tough as nails lyricists like MC Lyte, and badass b#%@$es like Lady of Rage, but Nicki took elements from all of them and mixed in her own Trinidadian style to create a force of nature in hip-hop that quickly crossed over to the mainstream. Critics are quick to dismiss her based on the provocative nature of her singles and videos, yet if you listen to the total package (including her interviews) she focuses on carving a lane for women to succeed as who and whatever they want to be, encouraging others to follow in her footsteps.
Nina Macc definitely follows in those footsteps of “Memoirs of a Boss B@%!$” with frank language that could make Khia or Kreayshawn blush, bringing a California attitude and swagger more familiar to the latter. She’s a discovery of Shade Sheist, who some readers will remember for the hit single “Where I Wanna Be” with a hook sung by the late great Nate Dogg. Shade seems to be transitioning to a more behind-the-scenes role of late, functioning as producer or co-producer for all fifteen of Nina Macc’s tracks. He’s helped throughout by DJ Sicc (nine tracks), Ben Rosen (four joints), and xXx Productions (one song).
There’s a familiar and consistent level of Southern California boom and bump to the beats, such as the heavy hitting bass of “Factory Sealed,” the whining synthesized funk of “Money on the Weekend” and the experimental electronic minimalism on “Business of Breakin.” It wouldn’t be a surprise to hear Lil B or Keak Da Sneak on any of these cuts, but the blonde-haired Macc holds down tracks like these by herself.
“Damn I’m so demanding, hope you understanding
cause I ain’t got time if you ain’t got ends
cause I don’t need romancing, I’m into cash advances
So nigga pay me up, no I ain’t got friends
Talk is cheap, and you soundin really stingy
Like a small dick, doin s#%@ for free just ain’t in me
Poppin dollars off the clip just like a semi
And I’ll show you exactly what I do in your city”
Macc is clearly schooled in the artists who came before her regardless of gender, as she throws out a Snoop Dogg shout with a “back to the lecture at hand” and appropriate length pause after it during the song. You can hear her influences throughout though – “Hustler’s Inspiration” has the syrupy sound of a Lil Wayne or Juicy J cut, “Where Was These Hoes” the fat bottom of E-40, and “2 G Wit It” an unapologetic throwback to “Boyz N Tha Hood” in style, delivery and chorus. One thing that doesn’t change about Macc though is that she’s unapologetically frank in her lyrics about whatever her topic is – whether it’s her hustle or her sexual escapades between them.
As noted previously we want to applaud today’s generation of female emcees for taking the game laid down by their predecessors and feeling completely liberated to talk about whatever they want. It’s not like Too $hort didn’t talk about how much he used his dick on album after album, so if Nina Macc or any other woman wants to pop that P it’s her world and in fact long overdue to level that playing field between the genders. That being said it helps with artists like Nicki Minaj to hear the personality along with the P, how she emasculates men and cuts down female haters, how she injects a sense of humor into her flow and uses wordplay that shows her tongue is clever in MANY ways. Nina Macc is empowered, well schooled and well produced – but there are times her persona feels forced. “Niggaz talkin sh#%, but they ain’t sayin nuttin/puttin out mixtapes that ain’t doin nuttin/my name in they mouth like my p#%@$ when it’s comin” raps Nina Macc on “F@%cboys,” as she calls men tricks who were only good for a quick lay. It could be funny, it could be sexy, or it could even be raunchy like a porno – but it sounds like she’s reading off a teleprompter.
I’ll give Shade Sheist and his protege Nina Macc this much – “Memoirs of a Boss B@%!$” is a slickly produced project from start to finish. It’s not unpleasant to listen to, and many of the tracks are trunk rattlers that are perfect for a summertime drive, but the one thing I think all of Macc’s female peers have that she doesn’t is an overwhelming and (especially to sucker ass marks of any gender) intimidating presence. Neither Lady of Rage nor Queen Latifah sounded like a woman you could mess with, while Nina Macc lacks that swagger – the same swagger that made women like Trina “Da Baddest.” It’s almost like she’s trying too hard to get the men listening too hard. It doesn’t come across as fake – it just comes across as overdone.