Every once in awhile a work comes along that is so ground-breaking, so earth-shattering, so mind-altering that our collective consciousness is changed for all time. Sometimes it's for the better. Sometimes the worse. Sometimes it changes the very definitions of those two words that they no longer mean the same thing as they once did. Such works of art herald in a new age.
And today Nicki Minaj enters the pantheon of artists who've left an indelible skid mark on humanity. Today she joins the likes of goatse, 2 Girls 1 Cup, and Nickelback.
Behold, the cover art of Minaj's forthcoming single "Anaconda."
At first glance, it's a work of stark minimalism, but upon closer inspection the image is a complex exploitation of our very expectations about exploitation, transforming the vulgar and crude into the heavenly and the divine.
In "Anaconda," Minaj floats like a angel about to relieve herself into the holy ether, the nirvanic void of the Buddha, the very belly of the Porcelain God. It's an image that is as bare-bones blasphemous as "Piss Christ" and as erudite as Salman Rushdie's "The Satanic Verses."
It is Hieronymus Bosch's "Garden of Earthly Delights" as seen through the eyes of a strip-club Charon, who collects his paychecks from working-class stiffs who nightly drown their sorrows in the foul waters of the River Styx while Rob Zombie's "Dragula" pulsates in the background like the speed-freak heartbeat of Satan himself. It is an inescapable vortex of baby powder, desperation, and paternity tests. Norman Rockwell's long cherished portraits from the non-defunct Saturday Evening Post cower in fear — and failure.
Make no mistake, Minaj's "Anaconda" is a triumph, a herculean effort that answers the age-old question: Do girls toot? The answer is yes. And it smells like a brand new pair of Air Jordans.