IS THERE ROOM FOR MORE THAN ONE QUEEN OF HIP-HOP?

JANUARY 3RD, 2018 | BY MICHAELA P. SHELTON

Female rappers rapidly evolved in 2017. Just when we thought the only current popping female rapper was Nicki Minaj, Cardi B blew up seemingly out of nowhere and Lil’ Kim and Remy Ma made comebacks. There are a lot of people who have opinions about female rappers and the rap industry overall. However, in order to have this conversation I feel like it is imperative that I provide some background information on each artist, their alliances, and their beefs.

Cardi B

Belcalis Almanzar is a hip hop artist from The Bronx, New York. She became an internet celebrity via Instagram and rose to fame after appearing on the popular VH1 reality show Love and Hip Hop New York. In February of this year, Cardi signed her first major record label deal with Atlantic records and her debut single “Bodak Yellow”, was deemed the summer rap anthem by the New York Times.

 

Although there were predictions that Cardi would be a “one hit wonder” she has proved her haters wrong by the success of the second single of her debut album, “Bartier Cardi” featuring 21 Savage. In addition, Cardi B has only been on the scene for a short period of time and is already out here breaking records hunty!

 

On the Billboard 100, Cardi B claimed the top spot with "Bodak Yellow", becoming the first solo female rapper to do so since Lauryn Hill in 1998! In addition, the song was certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. She has been nominated for two 2018 Grammy awards for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song. All that plus getting engaged to Offset from the Migos, talk about a good year!

Nicki Minaj

Onika Maraj is a Trinidadian-American rapper, singer, songwriter, and actress who was raised in Queens, New York. She gained recognition by releasing three mixtapes and then Lil Wayne discovered her and signed her to Young Money in 2009. All three of her studio albums charted on the Billboard Hot 100 and in 2010 Minaj became the first female solo artist to have seven singles simultaneously chart. 

 

In 2016 she was named as one of the most influential people on the annual Times 100 list and her list of previous endorsements include Pepsi, MAC, Adidas and currently H&M. Over the years, Nicki has been a judge on American Idol, headlined world tours and won a ton of awards.

 

Until last year, Nicki Minaj won the BET award for BET Best Female Hip-Hop Artist Award for seven consecutive years. Recently, Nicki has been featured on songs such as “Rake it Up” “Motorsport,” “She for Keeps” and the “Plain Jane” Remix. She has been teasing her highly anticipated fourth studio album, so hopefully she drops it real soon!

Remy Ma

Reminisce Mackie is an American rapper from The Bronx, New York. The late Big Pun became her mentor after word spread of her talents and after his death she was signed to Fat Joe’s label where she was made a member of the Terror Squad. Following the success of the hit single “Lean Back” which got Remy a Grammy nomination, she released her debut studio album “There's Something About Remy”.

 

One of her singles “I’m Conceited” was pretty popular, but besides that the album didn’t do that great on the charts. Remy’s career took a hiatus when she was sent to jail for six years. Remy was released in 2014 and upon her release she joined the cast of Love and Hip Hop New York alongside her husband Papoose to promote her new music and upcoming business ventures. In 2016 her song “All the Way Up” with Fat Joe and French Montana went platinum and she released Plata O Plomo, a joint album with Fat Joe that barely sold 12,000 units.

 

Despite that album’s failure, Remy managed to win the BET Award for Best Female Hip- Hop Artist Award that Nicki won for seven consecutive years! She is currently promoting her sophomore album 7 Winters and 6 Summers which will be released this year.

Lil' Kim

Kimberly Denise Jones is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer, model, and actress from Brooklyn New York. She lived most of her childhood on the street after being kicked out of her house and in 1994 The Notorious B.I.G. discovered her and invited her to join his rap group, Junior Mafia. In 1996 she released her debut album Hard Core and since then she has followed up with three more albums, The Notorious K.I.M (2000), La Bella Mafia (2003) and The Naked Truth (2005). Kim has earned numerous honors and award and her debut album Hard Core was certified Double platinum by the RIAA. She has been called a fashion icon and is considered one of the most influential female rappers. In 2016, Kim was honored at the VH1 Hip Hop Awards with the Icon Award because of her contribution to Hip-Hop. Right now Kim is working on her fifth studio album set to be released this year.

Now that we have given everyone a proper introduction let’s address the beefs….

Lil Kim VS. Nicki Minaj

Kimberly Denise Jones is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer, model, and actress from Brooklyn New York. She lived most of her childhood on the street after being kicked out of her house and in 1994 The Notorious B.I.G. discovered her and invited her to join his rap group, Junior Mafia.

 

In 1996 she released her debut album Hard Core and since then she has followed up with three more albums, The Notorious K.I.M (2000), La Bella Mafia (2003) and The Naked Truth (2005). Kim has earned numerous honors and award and her debut album Hard Core was certified Double platinum by the RIAA.

 

She has been called a fashion icon and is considered one of the most influential female rappers. In 2016, Kim was honored at the VH1 Hip Hop Awards with the Icon Award because of her contribution to Hip-Hop. Right now Kim is working on her fifth studio album set to be released this year.

Remy Ma Vs. Nicki Minaj

Beef between female rapper Remy Ma and Minaj originated in 2007, when Remy took note of Minaj's freestyle record, nicknamed "Dirty Money", from her mixtape Playtime Is Over (2007). In the record, Minaj raps: "Tell that bitch with the crown to run it like Chris Brown/she won three rounds, I'ma need a hundred thou/like 'Chinatown' — bitches better bow down/oh you ain't know, betcha bitches know now/fuck I got a gun — let her know that I'm the one". When the two encountered each other at an industry party, Remy confronted Nicki and asked who she was dissing in the song. Although Nicki Minaj never confirmed or denied that the song was about Remy, in a 2010 interview Remy said "To this day I still feel like the song is a stab at me; I'm gonna diss Minaj back for that one.” Following this interview, Remy served six years in Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, missing much of Minaj's rise to success. Since 2011, Remy Ma has said that she supports Nicki Minaj and her success, but that she would be "a problem" to Minaj once she is released from prison.

Since her release from prison in 2014, Remy decided to take shots at Nicki while restarting her rap career. She freestyled over Minaj's "Truffle Butter" beat and also imitated Minaj's "Monster" verse during a cypher. Nicki responded by referencing her beef with Remy on the tracks Gucci Mane's "Make Love,"Jason Derulo's "Swalla" and 2 Chainz’s “Realize.” Then Remy Ma released "Shether," a blatant diss track filled with many personal attacks. Nicki comes back at Remy with the party anthem "No Frauds" which features Drake and Lil' Wayne.This year when Remy won the BET Awards Best Female Hip-Hop Artist award she took a moment in her acceptance speech to fired more shots at Minaj's career; "Y'all bitches got fat while we starved/Shots in your ass, pads in your bras. Y'all some liars it ain't no facts in your songs/And yeah, that crown is coming back to the Bronx." Post Remy winning this award, her and Lil Kim teamed up for the lead single off her upcoming album “Wake Up.” Everyone thinks it is a diss track, but Lil Kim and Remy swear up and down that it isn't.

Remy Ma and Lil Kim

So Remy Ma and Lil Kim are besties apparently. Lil Kim was on stage performing earlier this year and said “Remy, b*tch, I f*cking love your ass. That’s my baby. Let me tell y’all”. Weren’t they beefing once upon a time? I’m just going to sip my tea. I guess they came together, because of their common enemy Nicki. Check out their track "Wake Up." I'm personally not a fan of it!

Cardi B and Nicki Minaj?
 

As Cardi B has risen to fame this year, there has been speculation that her and Nicki are beefing. Is there any truth to this? Both rappers deny beef on numerous occasions but of course fans and critics like to pick apart lyrics and allege that the two have taken subliminal shots at one another, regardless of a tweet from Nicki showing her apparent support for Cardi.

Although there has been no direct evidence of the two having beef, fans continued to reach when Motorsport by the Migos was released which features Nicki Minaj AND Cardi B. The allegations are that they used the song to “once again” throw shots at each other. However, Nicki Minaj shut those rumors down QUICK by posting a series of tweets.

Once again, people try to create something that isn’t there.

My Take

After analyzing all these female rappers, the beefs and the alliances, my question is why can’t they all just get along? Each one of these women is talented in their own way and has a different style and gimmick. Lil Kim is gangsta with an ol’ school flow, Remy Ma is sophisticated and hood, Nicki Minaj is the singer/rapper who can cross over and Cardi B is the ghetto-fabulous one. When I hear people debate, I don’t feel like Remy Ma and Cardi B can even be compared to Lil’ Kim and Nicki Minaj at all. They are icons that have left a legacy and will continue to be remembered even if they stop making music. Remy Ma and Cardi B? I don’t consider them great. Now, Cardi B is new to the game so she just might continue to make an impact and become an icon on the same level as Kim and Nicki, but Remy Ma? I just don’t see it happening. Her only slaps are the ones she is on with Fat Joe… alone I just don’t think Remy has it in her to be great. Now I might eat my words after her sophomore album is released, but as of right now it’s a no for me dawg. In 2018 all four of these queens will be releasing albums and how these albums perform will determine who the world deems is “the best.”

In regards to Cardi B and Nicki Minaj who are the most compared of all, I think Nicki Minaj is way more talented than Cardi B. I feel like Cardi B has risen to fame more so because of her marketability not because of her talent. When I first heard Bodak Yellow I honestly thought it was a joke, but somehow it managed to blow up and dominate the airwaves. When I hear artists like Remy Ma and Nicki Minaj I hear nothing but bars, but for Cardi B I feel like her realness and personality is what has gained her widespread attention. I just don’t think it's even logical to compare someone who has been around for a season to someone who has been around for more than a decade. Let’s have this conversation in 2028, k?

Even though I am a huge Nicki stan, I want all these women to succeed. I just hate that Nicki gets the most shade, because she has been the only successful female rapper for damn near a decade. While Remy was locked up, Lil’ Kim was doing whatever she was doing and Cardi was stripping, Nicki has been dominating the rap game and holding it down as the only female. Eve, Trina, Diamond and hell even Iggy haven’t released anything impressive so they should be proud of Nicki for not falling off.

But like I said earlier critics and fans add fuel to the fire. They try to create problems by claiming so and so is copying so and so and dissing so and so, which to me is irrelevant as hell in this debate. Who is talented without having to diss? Who is marketable? Who is a good writer? These are the real factors to consider when you want to deem someone "the queen of rap".


Moving forward I hope that these rappers will put aside their differences and bury the hatchet. It is a new year and there are bigger issues than who is the best and who is selling more records. Respect those who came before you and mentor those who come after you, simple as that. If everyone can come together and unite, females will really be able to take the rap industry by storm. But right now there is too much focus on who’s beefing with who, what is a diss and what is just a general lyric. They all have their own fan base and people who support them tough so why don’t we continue to let them flourish and stop trying to compare and contrast who’s the best?

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