Rapper Eminem’s surprise new ‘horrorcore’ album, Music to Be Murdered By, is supposedly influenced by Alfred Hitchcock, but its violent, misogynistic themes are nothing new. In a post cataloguing the album’s cinematic references, Screen Rant‘s Q.V. Hough notes that among the new tracks, ‘Little Engine‘ includes a sampled intro from Hitch himself, plus a nod to murdered actress Sharon Tate and a drug-fuelled allusion to Marilyn (‘I’m losin’ control / Heroin and blow, Marilyn Monroe …’) Neither is very accurate, as Tate was stabbed to death, not shot as Eminem claims; and Marilyn never used heroin or cocaine (blow.) Both women deserve better.
Rappers Megan Thee Stallion & Normani collaborate on ‘Diamonds’, taken from the soundtrack to Birds of Prey, the new Harley Quinn movie due out in February. We have already seen Margot Robbie recreate Marilyn’s signature number from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in the upcoming film’s trailer.
Normani goes one step further in her video, though, reworking lyrics from the original song, ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’, with a hip-hop twist, and vamping it up in pink. As Brooke Marine reports for W, this is the first time the song has been sampled – and we even hear Marilyn cooing ‘Tiffany … Cartier …’ at the fade-out.
Keyon Christ produced records for Kanye West and Rihanna before launching his own career as a solo artist. His latest effort, ‘Marilyn Monroe’, is aptly described by HYPEBEAST as “a whirlwind of R&B experimentation.” Unfortunately, the lyrics leave a lot to be desired, drawing on tired sexist tropes: “When you told me your idol was Marilyn Monroe/I thought to myself, ‘Oh, God, another one, here we go’/ Don’t make assumptions, I never called you a hoe/But I’ve got a feeling that you’ve done this before…”
Rapper Frank Ocean stars in a mysterious new commercial for Calvin Klein mens’ underwear – with a brief appearance by a Marilyn lookalike, as Dee Lockett reports for Vulture. (Interestingly, Frank recorded an unreleased demo, ‘Marilyn Monroe‘, back in 2014.)
“Ocean starts off dressed casually in an all-black tee and pants while appearing as the ‘special guest’ on Talk Calvin. But in the room, he watches himself on TV while wearing a black-and-white suit and no shoes.
Suddenly, he’s escaped! To the hallway! With … a Marilyn Monroe impersonator? We must be in Vegas:
‘You sort of, like, romanticize something that’s in the past, which is fantasy because it’s not exactly how it went down. Fantasy plays, like, the role of, uh, almost like a supplement. Draw on fantasy to make things hyperreal, I guess … saturate the colors.’
We see Ocean end up with a Marilyn Monroe look-alike, waxing poetic about romanticizing the past. In a flashback, he’s all alone in that TV studio. Flash forward and he sees Monroe on the blue couch where he once sat. A separate ad reads: ‘I feel loved in #mycalvins’ underneath a still of Ocean and Monroe.”
Marilyn has inspired many musical tributes, including recent hits from Nicki Minaj and Pharrell Williams. A more sensual, melancholy take from the Dutch-based Iranian artist, Sevdaliza, is simply entitled ‘Marilyn Monroe’.
While Sevdaliza’s lyrics don’t reference Marilyn directly, they seem to evoke her poetic soul.
In this life
I’ve never been the one
In your eyes
I’ve never been the truth
All you saw
Was a broken mirror…”
“Sevdaliza’s new single ‘Marilyn Monroe’ moves like a marionette. Even with its fluidity, there’s something sad and distant about it. It is cold, empty, and gorgeous at the same time. Using space to her advantage, the 27-year-old Netherlands-based singer/producer delivers one of her most moving songs yet. ‘This song is part of a series that represent some kind of womanhood,’ she explains … ‘A portrait in shimmering polyrhythms of a single tear floating down the cheek of a disappointed woman.'” – Pigeons and Planes
“Sevdaliza (who does not reveal her given name) co-produced ‘Marilyn Monroe’ with her collaborator, the Dutch producer Mucky … This version of womanhood extends beyond the veil of Marilyn’s quintessential blonde bombshell pop image, suggesting instead the Norma Jeane Mortenson version of Ms. Monroe that teems beneath the icon’s superficial surface. Sevdaliza vulnerably inhabits Marilyn’s personality through the song’s woeful lyrics … and when paired with the song’s steady bass line, it’s difficult to distinguish Marilyn’s identity from Sevdaliza’s. ‘Marilyn channels her fragility because it makes her strong,’ Sevdaliza explains. ‘When she sings, she breaks and there’s nothing left to hide.'” – Interview
“Sevdaliza isn’t afraid to explore the complex facets of the human condition. While honing a sound that is distinctly her own, she’s started creating experimental lo-fi that is harmonic, spacious and deeply emotive … ‘Marilyn Monroe’ moves forward with a fluid melody and hypnotic repetition that engrosses you. Reverated harmonies soar over the top of a simple, steady beat – making this track minimalist, lullaby of sorts. With her opaque tones and emotionally palpable lyrics Sevdaliza’s takes on the lo-fi genre with style and nuance.” – Purple Sneakers
“There were already clear signs of her talent in her previous releases, but with this latest single ‘Marilyn Monroe’ the girl has decided to go all the way by significantly raising the quality bar. With a production that closely resembles the early James Blake and reminiscences of FKA twigs vocalizations, Sevdaliza stuns you by mixing a glacial futuristic r’n’b with poignant lyrics reminding you that ‘There’s nothing left to break when it’s already broken.'” – Some Candy Talkin’
“I mean Marilyn Monroe, she’s quite nice/ But why all the pretty icons always all white?” – Jay Z
MTV Hive looks at references to MM in Hip Hop: while Nicki Minaj and Brianna pay tribute to her glamour, male rappers aren’t always so complimentary. (But then, sexism has always played its part in Hip Hop…)
‘”I released my record ‘Marilyn Monroe,’ first independently without Atlantic, and it debuted on Billboard Music Charts at No. 94, which felt amazing,” said Brianna. “I worked on a film in Philly, ‘Must Be the Music’ with Charles Dutton, and that was fun. So in 2011, I got to do a lot of new things to further my career, so I am very excited about 2012.”
As for her single “Marilyn Monroe,” named after the iconic “Some Like it Hot” actress from the ’60s, Brianna said she recognized the ongoing visual motif of the blonde bombshell’s image in her work, but the icon doesn’t serve as her alter ego.
Much in the vein of Beyonce’s alter ego Sasha Fierce or “Super Bass” artist Nicki Minaj’s many alternate personalities from Roman to Martha, Brianna has one she can call all her own.
“My alter ego wouldn’t be Marilyn Monroe, it would be this other character I created named Britalia,” said Brianna. “She’s totally different from me, because I’m very laid-back, but when I’m performing she takes over and I am totally different. I go crazy on stage.”‘
Upcoming rapper Lil Brianna has released a new track, ‘Marilyn Monroe’. “Brianna comes through with a new ‘figure-tribute’ type of track that have been popular nowadays,” says The305.com. “But the beat on this is not too shabby. It knocks. And Brianna definitely flows on it.” Listen now on Youtube.
There’s obviously a lot of love for Marilyn in the hip-hop community. Last week, Nicki Minaj told Glamour magazine, “I’ve always adored Marilyn Monroe ― mostly for her facial expressions in her pictures.” (In the accompanying photo shoot, Nicki dons a blonde wig.)