Nicki Minaj revives Mystery Science Theater 3000 in "Anaconda" video

Nicki Minaj: Big McLarge Huge
Nicki Minaj: Big McLarge Huge

Nicki Minaj has always been unpredictable, but this is possibly her most surprising surprise. Recently, the rapper took a break from her nonstop ode to her backside during the roll-out for new single "Anaconda" to celebrate a cult TV show with Minnesota ties. Yes, somehow Mystery Science Theater 3000 ended up in the new song's lyric video.

The Jeff Osbourne-directed clip seems loosely themed around the scattered neon-pixelated nature of '80s and '90s entertainment technology. In contrast to the hyperkinetic visuals during verses, the closing remarks from Nicki at 3:06 see her silhouette joining those of the trademark MST3K cast members/robot puppets. During her diatribe, the center human silhouette seems to sink lower, and following Minaj's departure, all three begin grooving to the beat through the video's remaining minute.

It's a move as shocking as the fact that Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back," which "Anaconda" samples, is being used for something other than an ironic joke in a kids' movie or an overzealous caucazoid on karaoke night.

The cameo was a surprise to even the cast members themselves. MST3K actor/writer Michael J. Nelson posted to his Facebook page as word spread "But, no pun intended, I don't know what to make of this MST reference. Reference? Homage? Dis? I'm not sure."

We spoke to MST3K creator/performer/writer Joel Hodgson to get his thoughts on the video. He told us "I thought it was funny in that context, especially Tom Servo's reaction, as he's always been a bot who could appreciate the female form. Obviously, it's a sly reference to the MST3K episode titled 'Eegah' where a character blurts the words 'watch out for snakes!'"

For a show with as ravenous a following as MST3K, there's been relatively few references to it in hip-hop. Prior to this, our favorite has to be Mac Lethal on the Lazerbeak-produced track "Luis Guzman" where he declares, "You'd probably bail out of here at mach turbo / or get carried back to your seat like Tom Servo."

There have been quite a few hip-hop references in MST3K however, in episodes like "Hamlet" and "Merlin's Mythical Shop of Wonders."

MST3K's Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett, (who played "Mike," "Tom Servo," and "Crow" respectively during the show's later years on the Sci-Fi Channel) will coincidentally be live-riffing the 1995 Ice Cube/Jennifer Lopez film Anaconda as part of their Rifftrax group through Fathom Events in theaters this October. They'll also be encoring their live riffing of the 1998 Matthew Broderick film Godzilla tonight in theaters nationwide.

The appearance in the Minaj clip is another major moment in an already big year for the cult franchise. Along with celebrating its 25th anniversary, MST3K in 2014 has seen its re-runs returning to television on RetroTV, as well as Shout! Factory announcing last month at San Diego Comic-Con a special Turkey Day-edition release for the show's 31st DVD collection this autumn.

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