"It's about getting through the tough times, through the fire, and always evolving. Whether it's in relationships, personal, in your work, etc.," Big Sean says of the "Fire" video. "Miley's character in the visual represents a metaphor for people who may have changed and evolved into something beautiful, who have evolved past certain relationships—the picture of me burning symbolizes an old romance and coming out victorious and beautiful as a flower."
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Rappers have been referencing Miley Cyrus for years, as a euphemism for cocaine (Future, Meek Mill, Lil Wayne), nodding to the singer's 2010 TMZ exploits (when she was caught on camera smoking "salvia") and, still, pulling at the strings of rap's long-lasting infatuation with white girls. But not until recently did Miley Cyrus' notoriety within rap turn from object of discussion to object of affection.
A video in which Miley Cyrus twerks to J. Dash's "WOP" while wearing a unicorn suit went viral earlier this year, connecting her with a hip-hop dance rapped about since 2003.
When Jay Z shouted out the singer in the "Magna Carta Holy Grail" song, "Somewhereinamerica" (“Cause somewhere in America, Miley Cyrus is still twerking/ "Twerk, twerk, twerk, twerk, Miley, Miley, twerk… Only in America"), a lighthearted joke turned Miley into a peg to a conversation about race and an artists' evolution. (Also, who can forget Miley Cyrus' shout out to Jay Z in "Party In the U.S.A.")
"She is an old world's worst nightmare," Jay Z tweeted, when someone asked "Do you really think Miley is still twerking somewhere in America?" "The real story is about racism. The whole song is, 'somewhereinamerica,' you can't teach racism when your child is connected to the culture. It's very hard to…" Jay Z told Elliott Wilson during his Life + Times interview.
"I like what she’s doing right now. She’s fearless," he told Angie Martinez weeks before. "Just watching the situation, people want her to be something and she’s like, ‘I’m not that. I was six years old. You want me to be six years old forever?’ And this is her reaction to it. Maybe it’s loud, but it’s understandable."
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Miley is emphasizing on hip-hop and her sexuality to re-invent her image, broaden her audience and propel her into adult stardom. She demonstrates the influence hip-hop has over her, from twerking, accessories (grills), apparel (Diamond Supply Co. "Sex, Drugs & Rap" gear) to her own music. Her No. 2 hit "We Can't Stop" was produced by Mike WiLL Made-It, best known for helming Juicy J's "Bandz a Make Her Dance" and 2 Chainz's "No Lie," among other hits.
I don't doubt the authenticity of Miley's favor towards hip-hop. Abrupt (compared to Justin Bieber's friendliness with rappers since the birth of his career) and exaggerated (gold grills, middle finger in the air)? Yes, but it's mostly due to the inevitable reference and transition from child star in which anything edgy, cool or dangerous (all synonyms for hip-hop to a broader, older audience) are out of the question.
Whether contrived or true, Miley Cyrus' relationship with rap is mutually beneficial for both parties involved. While she's evolving on her terms, rappers, like Juicy J, J. Dash and Big Sean, two of which have upcoming 2013 releases, want to broaden their audience. Crossing over wouldn't hurt. What better way than to align themselves with a pop artist with mainstream success?
Rappers have welcomed her with open arms, aside from appearing as the star in Big Sean's video and having Ying Yang Twins title an "Ass in Session" track after her, she's currently working alongside talented rappers’ and predominately rap producers such as Pharrell Williams, Mike Will Made It and Tyler, the Creator. Miley Cyrus' budding relationship with rap seems to lack an expiration date.