For some reason, people really want to see Cardi B and Nicki Minaj go at it. For the past month, so many of their Instagram posts, tweets, and in-concert comments have been dissected and interpreted as subliminal disses toward the other by fans and media outlets alike. Both have come out publicly to say it’s all good between them, but what they say doesn’t seem to matter. Considering a beef hasn’t been pushed this hard for any pair of rappers in a long, long time, it’s safe to assume that the pressure may be due to the fact that they’re women rappers — oh, I mean “femcees” — in a male-dominated industry. And the sexist assumption that two women who are both fantastic at what they do should hate each other needs to stop.
Last month, Nicki Minaj posted a clip from Cardi B’s snapchat of the “Bodak Yellow” rapper vibing to Minaj and Yo Gotti’s “Rake It Up” in North Carolina. Cardi B called out Nicki Minaj’s “thirsty” stans who commented on the clip and wanted to see them beef. The other day, after footage of Cardi talking about an anonymous “b—-” she didn’t like at a show went viral, the tension was ratcheted up on social media. This week though, Cardi B seemingly quelled talk that she was dissing Nicki by tweeting out lyrics to Nicki’s “Win Again.” Nicki then retweeted them, telling people to “stop reaching.” Imagine if Drake and Kendrick Lamar did any of this for each other. There probably wouldn’t be any “I don’t believe it, they’re being calculated” type of commentary like the recent debate on Everyday Struggle, there would just be celebration that two talented people have decided to co-exist, because there’s no reason not to.
I’ve said this often in my recent posts, but that’s because it’s true: Hip-hop is the biggest genre in the world. The world. The idea that there can only be one prominent woman rapper at a time in a billion dollar genre says a lot about how our society views women. (It’s so absurd that I’m almost tempted to come back and finish this piece only after a good ten minutes of laughter-turned-disgust at people’s ignorance.) Nevertheless, that’s the prevailing idea behind every Cardi B vs. Nicki Youtube analysis, article, or tweet storm. Even after yesterday’s tweets, people are still analyzing their interactions with a critical eye. During Complex‘s (reductionist) “Can Cardi B become the next Nicki Minaj?” segment, Joe Budden is convinced Nicki is being calculated, implying that she’ll eventually take an opportunity to pounce on Cardi on record. A popular Youtube channel titled their video about the tweet, “Nicki Minaj Warns Cardi B Stop Reaching With The Rap Beef Before She Pulls Up–” which is not what she said.
Ravenous fans and irresponsible media outlets are putting the two women on a collision course. Either they’re going to do a collaboration and shut down the nonsense, or, if Cardi B continues her success after “Bodak Yellow,” media outlets and fans will continue to tug at reasons to pit the two against each other until one or the other lashes out and starts addressing the tension via record. It has historical precedence in hip-hop, most recently on display with Nicki and Remy Ma.
Though Nicki may have thrown a shot at “the b—h with the crown” Remy as a hungry up-and-comer in 2007, it never turned into anything, and they had nothing but positive things to say about each other personally, even after Remy came home from her six-year prison stint. Nevertheless a Google search of “Nicki Minaj Vs. Remy Ma” showcases “timeline of the beef” articles made by outlets probably oblivious to their complicity in engineering the conflict.
One outlet said what happened this spring was “a decade in the making,” when what really happened is no one left well enough alone when they both said there was no beef, and congratulated each other’s success countless times, including as late as last year when they shouted each other out for their respective 2016 success.