Over the years women in hip-hop have had a hard time proving themselves as being equal to their male counterparts.
Going back to the 1990s, the rise of Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown, Missy Elliott, Da Brat, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, Eve, Queen Latifah and MC Lite saw all of them being allowed to shine.
As we moved over to the early 2000s one by one they faded away until we were left with Eve, Missy and Lil’ Kim. Enter the mid-2000s and we are left with Missy who eventually moved out of the light due to Graves’ disease diagnosis.
Enter Nicki Minaj our current reigning queen of rap. Minaj came in at a time where we desperately needed a new female rapper and was the catalyst for women in hip-hop to flourish once again. But the women who paved the way for her rejected her during her come up and this was the genesis for the “there can only be one supreme” culture when it comes to female rappers.
With Minaj’s rise, Lil’ Kim continued to fade away, eventually coming across as an obsessive has-been who only ever made music in an attempt to diss Minaj and failed miserably.
Minaj’s throne was untouched and her empire solidified with the MC crossing over to pop music and becoming a superstar, with her name being mentioned in the same breath as Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.
You would think that with all the backlash Minaj faced in her early days that she would try to break the cycle. Alas, here we are with the never-ending Nicki Minaj vs Cardi B feud that reached new heights after a physical altercation, and Minaj going on her show Queen Radio where she addressed all the beef. And dragged Cardi across the coals.
Minaj and Cardi, for the most part, have been able to co-exist and at first, and for the first time in 10 years, it looked as if another female empire was being built within the kingdom of hip-hop.
Following 'Bodak Yellow' going No 1 on the Billboard 100 chart and Cardi’s subsequent album also making its way to the top of the charts in its first week and the subsequent single 'I Like It' also going No 1, Minaj started to feel that her throne and kingdom were under threat.
One would think this would be great news since both women stole the show with their verses on one of the biggest songs last year, 'Motorsport'.
However, as one supreme rises, another starts losing its power, with Minaj even speaking her own narrative into existence by referring to herself as the bad guy Chun Li.
And with Minaj’s Queen era the rapper has shown that she has become a product of the same “there can only be one” culture she fought so hard against.
This was shown with the rollout during the current Queen era. From the questionable song with that statutory rapist Tekashi69 to Ganja Burn leaking with Minaj never addressing this, and then releasing the video which received a lukewarm response. To the album date being moved all over the show, only to debut at No 2 with Minaj throwing a fit about it.
Which she then blamed Travis Scott for and once again going on Queen Radio to voice her anger.
There are two groups to blame for Minaj’s erratic behaviour: her team or lack thereof, and her superfans, the Barbz. It seems that none of them can critically engage with the Barbie Dreams rapper only getting praise for all her actions when in actual fact some self-actualisation is needed. Minaj proclaims to be the queen, but her behaviour is everything but that of royalty.
The beef between her and Cardi is not going to end well for Minaj. Beef in hip-hop is part of the culture and is entertaining and builds towards some good tracks.
But with the public’s acceptance of Cardi, Nicki is coming across as a bully.