In the latest Nicki Minaj AI controversy, fans known as ‘Barbz’ were praised last year for getting creative with AI-generated art to boost the rapper’s Pink Friday 2 album. However, the charm of AI art wore off for the general public, leading to social media users now playfully teasing Nicki Minaj herself. She shared what seems to be an AI-created artwork to heighten her upcoming single, ‘Press Play,’ on Instagram.
The AI-generated image showcased a hand holding a pink button with a play symbol on it, set against a pink background. Yet, there is a significant blunder that Nicki may have overlooked, triggering substantial debate and criticism. Find out more about the Nicki Minaj AI controversy and why fans are unhappy below.
Nicki Minaj AI Controversy
If you cruised the internet toward the end of last year, you might have caught wind of Gag City. Essentially, Barbz (Nicki’s fans) and the lively gay stan Twitter crew made the viral Gag City—an artificial intelligence wonderland with pink buildings, planes, and people, all under the rule of Nicki Minaj. The online universe went into overdrive, crafting AI images of Gag City to promote Nicki’s album for free.
Nicki cleverly used the idea of Gag City to announce the studio album’s release date, urging everyone to “prepare for landing.” Fans responded by making more AI images of people touching down in her pink utopia, making it nearly impossible to avoid Gag City’s charm.
As we begin to prepare for landing, please make sure your tray tables are put back up & your seat belts are tightly fastened. The captain has activated the “no bathroom” sign. If you look out the window, you’ll begin to see the beauty…clear waters, pink dolphins…#GagCity #PF2
— Nicki Minaj (@NICKIMINAJ) December 6, 2023
As always, brands hopped on the hype train, conjuring their Gag City visuals using image generators. Even the Empire State Building got in on it. Yes, the official Twitter account of that iconic structure whipped up an AI image to boost Nicki Minaj’s latest album. Even Dunkin Donuts and Chilis jumped on the bandwagon.
— Empire State Building (@EmpireStateBldg) December 8, 2023
Nicki Minaj relied heavily on this strategy, making it uncertain whether Pink Friday 2 would have succeeded similarly without her fans’ viral marketing campaign. Upon its launch, the album swiftly claimed the pinnacle of the Billboard 200 chart, marking her third album to secure the top spot—an accomplishment for which she released an AI video.
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While the hype surrounding Gag City has decreased since the album’s release, Nicki continues using AI art.
Nicki Minaj’s AI Picture With Six Fingers
One picture grabbed fans’ attention because the AI-made hand had six fingers. This made people question how much Nicki Minaj spent promoting Pink Friday 2.
6 fingers. pic.twitter.com/nwM0Y2MvkM
— queertin (@quentinRIP) January 13, 2024
Fans were disappointed with the rapper’s choice to share this artwork. Many pointed out the contradiction in Minaj, an artist known in the music industry for spontaneously creating rap verses and original songs, endorsing AI art—a style criticized by traditional artists as a form of theft.
Others participated in the Nicki Minaj AI controversy debate by calling her “lazy” and accusing her of not using enough funds for marketing.
Del Walker, who works for Naughty Dog as a senior artist, also explained how this art form is bad for a brand’s image. He tweeted,
You know what I realized about Ai images in your marketing? It sends out the message that you’ve got no budget. It’s the digital equivalent of wearing an obviously fake Chanel bag. Your whole brand immediately appears feeble and impoverished https://t.co/StZh0xntcg
— Del Walker 🇵🇸 (@TheCartelDel) January 13, 2024
The Rap Star’s Response
When someone mentioned that the hand had six fingers, Nicki tweeted in response.
this is so… pic.twitter.com/nLTNgzv77B
— pop culture gal (@allurequinn) January 14, 2024
The Current Queen of Rap also accused those pointing out the flaws in her AI images of being a “paid mole.”