Censored rap videos are now cool … at least for hip-hop’s most stupendous stars. Debuting earlier today on MTV, Jay-Z and Kanye West‘s flick for their Watch the Throne calling card “N***** In Paris” has been transformed into the curse-free “Paris,” while mischievous rap mistress Nicki Minaj‘s “Stupid Hoe” has clocked up controversy after being banned by BET and flipped into the friendlier “Stupid Stupid.” What goes into editing down a mega-budget rap video? There’s no agreed science as to what gets stripped away, but in looking at both videos side-by-side, we can start to see some clear patterns emerge. And some caged beasts.
Song Title: For its video version, “N***** in Paris” has become the curt “Paris” — which not only saves TV presenters the dilemma of fudging their way through references to it, but brings to mind a classy, upscale designer fragrance. “Stupid Hoe,” however, has been flipped into the playground-patter of “Stupid Stupid” for its edit. We suspect there may be an age difference at play here.
The N-Word vs. The H-Word: Both songs are hooked around a taboo term. In line with scaling down the title to “Paris,” Jay and ‘Ye’s edit simply blanks out the word “n****.” In Minaj’s cartoonish world though, “ho” is censored by replacing it with a comic sound effect — which actually ends up better fitting the video’s bright vibe.
Rampant Cursing: Another score for Nicki, with her many “ass” and “bitch” references being transformed into quirky spot effects; the song’s edited ending, which has Minaj repeatedly spitting, “I said fuck a stupid ho and fuck a stupid ho” now sounds like gibberish. “Paris,” on the other hand, becomes a little too jittery thanks to the litter of blank pauses in the raps.
Lady Ass-ets: Much has been made of the disembodied butt that plays a recurring role in “Stupid Hoe.” But despite claims that it might objectify women, it still makes the edited version, most prominently flashing up on screen during Minaj’s extended implore, “I wish a bitch would…” ‘Ye and Jay seem to have no qualms about the female form though, with “Paris” packed with liberal footage of a crowd that seems sourced from an Elite Model casting call. Director-for-the-day West never hesitates to linger on the array of breasts, most intensely as the two-minute mark in the flick approaches.
Caged Beasts: Clad in cougar-chic leopard print, Nicki writhes around in a cage and possibly compares her middle-aged nemesis Lil Kim to Michael Jackson’s monkey Bubbles. (A chimpanzee also quickly flashes up on screen.) Provocative or offensive as its inferences may be, it still made it in through the editing process. Well-known animal welfare advocates Mr. Carter and Mr. West face no such ethical dilemma, letting lions and panthers flagrantly roam around the fantasy set of “Paris.” Please let wild animal cameos become this year’s hot new rap video trend.
Epilepsy Warning: Ms. Minaj’s flick features a rave-styled array of flashing colored backgrounds, often superimposed with the rapstresses’ face; the concert footage in “Paris” is overlaid with what seems to be images from a giant laser-powered kaleidoscope. (Hey, what else do you get the rappers who have everything for Christmas?). Only “Paris” is tagged with an introductory epilepsy warning — but both flicks are colorfully bat-shit cray.
See for yourself! Watch the video for the Throne’s “Paris” below.
And Nicki Minaj’s “Stupid Stupid” here: