Queens rapper Nicki Minaj marks her return from a short hiatus with the release of a visual for “Hard White,” a single from her Queen album. Directed by Mike Ho, the video brings Minaj’s Roman alter ego to the forefront with visuals sending a clear message to her once good friend, Drake.
In a shot referencing Drizzy, the video flashes an image of a black Scorpio that’s subsequently shown torn to pieces, reflecting the end of a relationship that’s been slowing falling apart ever since June 2018 when Drake released, you guessed it, Scorpion.
The credit for the Scorpio and dead crows visuals goes to Ho, who explained in an Instagram comment that he used the Scorpio to represent lyrics referencing a stun gun while the dead crows symbolize the end of relationships. On Instagram, Ho wrote, “had to match the lyrics ‘..no stun gun…’ scorpion sting you. ‘..don’t duck if don’t apply….’ He added, “the crow was a symbol of death. People who turned there back on her.'”
While Minaj and Drake’s relationship grew frosty during the time she was dating Meek Mill, they made amends once the relationship ended and Drake’s Scorpion album includes a Minaj feature. However, Drake never returned the favor on Queen and instead chose to partner on music with Mill. At the same time he toured with Migos and brought Minaj nemesis Cardi B on stage to perform in October of last year.
According to some, Scorpio marked the end of his legal obligations to Cash Money Records though it’s not clear if he’s still with Young Money, a label he’s shared with Minaj and Lil Wayne. If he’s cut ties with both labels, it might explain why he no longer feels an obligation to work with Minaj.
At the same time, while some have speculated Minaj’s lines in “Hard White” that reference stripping are a shot at Cardi, based on the timing she provided for recording the song, late February/early March 2017–the same period as “No Frauds,” the line was more likely a “shETHER”-related clap back at Remy Ma.
The video also flashes a visual of a Grammy award, a reference to her being frozen out from 2019 nominations, about which Minaj spits, “I’m the trophy of the game, everybody tryna win me.”
Styled by Brett Nelson, Minaj wears a black archival Gareth Pugh gown. Her dramatic headpiece was designed by Plumed Serpent that she paired with an equally eye-popping Eye of Iris necklace. For a third look, she wears a metallic Graham Cruz bodice and boots, an outfit finished with Chanel shades. Find additional style details at @onikaswardrobe.
Check out the visual below: