Miley Cyrus has a nice cover story in the upcoming issue of Billboard, a somewhat awkwardly timed look into the 20-year-old's musical evolution.
The singer and starlet says she feels like she's been typecast as a "white Nicki Minaj." "That's not what I'm trying to do. I love 'hood' music, but my talent is as a singer," she adds.
Let's leave aside the fact that it's uncomfortable for Miley Cyrus to refer to Minaj's repetoire, which has as many pure pop hits, if not more, than Cyrus', as "hood music," and assume she's just bumblingly referring to "urban" music, or even just "hip-hop and rap." Even if we bridge those gaps for Cyrus, however, it's still an oddly aggressive claim. Her lead single, "We Can't Stop," is a Mike WiLL-produced track originally made for Rihanna and features her slurring over syrupy trap beats. WiLL, who is most famous for making strip club anthems like Juicy J's "Bands a Make Her Dance" and Rihanna's "Pour It Up" (which is essentially a rework of "Bands"), produced two more songs for Cyrus' album, one of which features Future, a rapper.
But, sure, let's play along! Let's also gloss over the fact that Cyrus' album will feature a healthy amount of undeniably urban music (Miley says she's trying to be the female version of "what [R&B standouts] Miguel and Frank Ocean are doing, though WiLL says he told her to "keep your country twang"). Cyrus has made headlines in recent months for "twerking," or dancing suggestively in a manner predominantly associated with hip-hop. Of course, Miley has done it her way (dressed as a unicorn) and in a way that she might describe as "hood" (on stage at a Juicy J concert while the rapper rained cash on her).
It seems like what's happening here is that Cyrus "loves" "hood" culture, thinks it's amusing and has no problem co-opting it for singles and/or viral videos, but doesn't love the idea of herself being seen as part of it. And that's gross.