Ever since Nicki Minaj popped up on rap blogs over a decade ago, she’s drawn comparisons to her predecessor Lil Kim. However, over time, she’s built her own formidable legacy, as well as a zealous fanbase of Barbz who will often go way out of their way to defend it. Combined with her much-publicized feud with Kim as Nicki came into her own and Nicki’s tendency to rewrite her own history on the fly, it’s reached the point that even the insinuation that Nicki could have been influenced or inspired by Kim draws vigorous attacks from the Barbz — even in the face of facts and evidence to the contrary.
The latest example is the Barbz’s reactions to R&B star Usher’s recent interview with Swizz Beats, the founder and the curator of the ongoing Verzuz Instagram series of “hits battles.” When Swizz asked for Usher’s impression of a fan push to feature Nicki and Kim on Verzuz, Usher seemed skeptical that it would be a fair battle, considering Kim’s impact on so much of Nicki’s music and style. “Nicki is a product of Lil Kim,” Usher said. That was all it took to spark a backlash from Nicki Minaj fans, who immediately set about comparing Nicki’s accomplishments to Kim’s — free of historical context, naturally.
They mad at Usher for saying NM is a product of Lil Kim. Lil Kim's influence can be found all over female rap. KIM took heat for sexually explicit lyrics, music videos & all just so yall favs could be comfortable doing it YEARS LATER. Denying it on Stan Twitter wont change that. pic.twitter.com/q45199yKsd
— 💛✳🎀🇧𝗥𝗘𝗘𝗭𝗬'𝗦 🇦𝗨𝗥𝗔 🎀✳💛 (@pettypremy) May 17, 2020
Usher only had 2 bops in the last 10 years and that’s because of NICKI MINAJ, SUMMER WALKER‼️
— BITCH ITs KING DOLL‼️ (@THEKINGDADOLLL) May 17, 2020
USHER: LIL KIM PAVED THE WAY FOR NICKI MINAJ
LIL FREAK FT NICKI MINAJ
— Ally 🦄 (@Allyisamajesty) May 18, 2020
Usher wanna claim Nicki is a product of Kim…but who was he paying for features again? That’s wtf I thought pic.twitter.com/TRluBQm8ok
— S A L E M (@KamsRagnarok) May 17, 2020
Nicki fans were quick to point out Usher’s connection to Nicki over the course of the past few years, as Nicki had featured on some of Usher’s own hits. They also lashed out at Lil Kim for not having a major hit in recent years. However, some fans readily defended both Kim and Usher’s comments, pointing out the many ways Nicki has paid homage to Kim in the past, despite their differences.
usher paid 250k TWICE for a nicki feature just to get on here and say Nicki is product of Kim……he just had to ruin the excitement! pic.twitter.com/C6kuLbGOjF
— ny papi 〽️ (@trey_forde) May 17, 2020
Usher told no lies about Lil Kim pic.twitter.com/dEaXx5qhMX
— THE MAFIA (@Infaredkillabee) May 17, 2020
Look Nicki Minaj already acknowledged that Lil Kim was one of her inspirations a while ago BUT when will y’all realize that Nicki surpassed lil Kim In all ways?! Rapping. Fashion. BRANDING. AND usher got some nerve lol that’s why Chris brown better than him all around 😂
— ✨Alexis✨ (@Blumostwanted) May 17, 2020
@Usher Bro why didn’t you get lil kim to feature on your shit instead of Nicki Minaj? Since she’s a product of kim?
— VisaChecks 💳 (@PhuckDeeBrown) May 17, 2020
why y'all bringing up lil' kim, leave her 9 stans alone. the real gag is that nicki would eat up usher on a hits battle. pic.twitter.com/UnoQM6a4hQ
— unbroken spearit (@kneeaddiction) May 17, 2020
Usher didn't lie, Nicki Minaj's entire career was designed with Lil Kim as the blueprint FROM THE START. That's just the FACTS. That woman owes everything to Lil Kim & has always been obsessed with "replacing" her. pic.twitter.com/ggHJcfdV53
— iamrogerb (@iamrogerb_) May 17, 2020
As a barb I understand what usher was saying. The barbs are just taking what Usher said out of context. All Usher is saying was that Lil Kim did pave the way for female rappers like Nicki. I don’t see anything wrong🤷🏾♀️
— tati❤️🇭🇹🦄 (@tatiblanco__) May 17, 2020
I can’t believe Usher’s comment about Nicki Minaj being a product of Lil’ Kim has y’all carrying on like this on a Sunday.
When’s the last time you changed your shower curtain liner? Don’t let today go to waste.
— ᴅᴏʟʟᴀʀ (@callmedollar) May 17, 2020
One thing is for sure: If the two women ever were to agree to a hits battle, the results wouldn’t be as cut-and-dried as fans of either seem to think — and would seemingly depend most on which side of their generational gap an observer stood upon.
Check out some of the Barbz’s reactions to Usher’s comparison above.