Trinidadian-born singer, songwriter, television personality, and actress who was known for her flowing quick-spoken rap style and for her provocative lyrics Nicki Minaj fired off at YouTube on Monday afternoon after the platform age-restricted her “Likkle Miss Remix” music video with dancehall artist Skeng, alleging that the company is “in bed” with rival artists’ camps.
Nicki Minaj is not one to shy away from sexually explicit lyrics and representations of sensuality in her music and visuals. But shortly after the release of the music video for her song “Likkle Miss Remix,” Minaj found that the video had been age-restricted on YouTube. The rapper subsequently voiced her discontent over the matter with two separate posts on Instagram, both of which contain a screenshot of the email Minaj received from YouTube. While the grounds for this restriction would make any artist frustrated, Minaj claims that the move was an intentional one by YouTube and her label Republic Records to sabotage the video from receiving views.
Nicki Minaj wrote in an Instagram caption for a screenshot of a YouTube community guidelines violation notice, “Imagine this. They restricted my fucking video but have things a million fucking times worse on their bogus fking platform.”
“This is what they do to keep you from winning while doing ads for other ppl and posting fake fking stats. Because the same ppl who run YouTube are in bed with a certain record label and mngmnt company.”
After publishing this story, YouTube did get back to Gizmodo’s request for comment, telling us that they have since “removed the age-restriction after determining the video didn’t violate our Community Guidelines.”
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It’s not immediately clear what specifically about the video generated the age-restriction in the first place. We asked YouTube for a follow-up on that and we’ll let you know what we hear back. But reading YouTube’s guidelines on age-restricted content points to two potential culprits. YouTube says that “A video that invites sexual activity, such as provocative dancing or fondling,” which is definitely present in “Likkle Miss Remix” could result in restriction. While that might be the case, it’s worth noting that Minaj’s other videos that feature “provocative dancing” like the recent “Super Freaky Girl” and record-breaking “Anaconda” have no age-restrictions. YouTube also points to “harmful or dangerous activities, including regulated substances and drugs,” as grounds for restriction, and Skeng can be seen smoking what appears to be marijuana towards the end of the video. Republic Records did not immediately return Gizmodo’s request for comment, according to Gizmodo.
According to the screenshot, the “Likkle Miss Remix” video was deemed “not suitable for viewers under the age of 18.” The video features a group of partygoers drinking and dancing, with a cast of female dancers joining Minaj in twerking throughout the clip, occasionally joining the male extras in quick, suggestive poses.
The age restriction was removed Monday by YouTube, which issued a statement to Complex saying it had “removed the age-restriction after determining the video didn’t violate our Community Guidelines.” Minaj deleted her two fiery Instagram posts Monday night, after this story was first published. Variety has reached out to YouTube for further comment.
The rapper accused YouTube of favoring certain artists and “being in bed with a whole record label and management company,” without naming any label or agency. Minaj’s own camp did not escape completely unscathed, as she claimed her label has declined to “buy promo for my videos.”
The only person or company called out by name in Minaj’s broadsides was Lyor Cohen, the global head of music for Google and YouTube. After issuing a general epithet suggesting that anyone who stands in her way should go commit a sexual act with their mothers, Minaj added: “Lyor it better not be you.”
Minaj wrote in another post on the matter, “This was done to stop us from getting a lot of views in the first 24 hours. The duds at my label allow ppl to use my videos all the time to promote weak shit but said we can’t buy promo for my videos.”
Addressing YouTube, Minaj wrote, “It’s time y’all tell ppl that you’re in bed with a whole record label & mngmnt company!!!!! How long have yall been playing the numbers game to lie & pretend ppl r doing ‘good’ when they r not?!?!!” she wrote in another post with the same screenshot attached. “How much ad space did these duds purchase to be promoted on my channel in the last 5 years?!??!!!!”
Minaj and Skeng’s music video arrived on the platform Sunday, following its appearance as a part of her new 29-track greatest hits compilation album, “Queen Radio: Volume 1,” released via Young Money/Republic Records.
Even with under-18s being officially restricted from watching, the video racked roughly 800,000 views in about a day’s time.
Republic Records is owned by Universal Music Group, more commonly known as UMG. UMG does, in fact, have a relationship with YouTube—UMG reportedly rules over YouTube content with an iron first. YouTube is known to have a strict copyright policy, in which record labels can flag content that features copyrighted music and some of these flags even come directly from UMG. While Minaj’s accusation has nothing to do with UMG’s copyright presence on YouTube, she is correct in stating that YouTube and UMG (and subsequently Republic Records) have a relationship.
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Sources: Variety, Gizmodo
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