BY: VINCE LACEY
With the rise of artists like SZA, H.E.R, Jhene Aiko, Syd, Kelani and others over recent years, it’s arguable that we have entered a new era in Hip-Hop and R&B of women’s empowerment. While these women have continued to prove that there is room in the industry for more than just one face, there seems to be a lingering debate of who is the cream of the crop. Specifically in the rap genre, where for years, Nicki Minaj has been recognized as the undisputed ‘Queen’. That is until recently, where Cardi B. has seemingly usurped Nicki’s queen status.
Nicki, the trinidadian born artist, hailing from Queens, New York began her career in the early 2000’s, making a surprising impact on the rap game with her extravagant use of character, vocal inflection and rhyming. She arrived during a time that had been particularly quiet for women in Hip-Hop.
Cardi, born and raised in the Bronx, began her career as a stripper who quickly moved on to internet stardom, and eventually television while being featured on VH1’s Love and Hip-Hop: New York. This allowed her to then move on to other aspirations involved in music, to which now she has earned three number 1 singles on the Billboard Top 100.
Now, with her meteoric rise, a figurative wedge has been placed between these two fellow New York icons, that will prevent these women from working together, at least within the foreseeable future. Not only has this created an interesting rivalry in Hip-Hop (that which the medium tends to thrive on), but it has also sparked the debate of whether or not there could EVER be two prominent female rap artists in today’s musical climate. Especially between two artists who once held a great degree of respect for each other. Did this issue arise out of jealousy on Nicki’s behalf, or is there actually an argument to be made that Cardi stole her spotlight?
Earlier this week, Cardi B took to Instagram and made a series of video posts (10 of them, spanning over 8 minutes to be exact) that elaborated on her dispute with Nicki. The videos have since been deleted but have been compiled and summarized here by XXL. In the video, Cardi claims that Nicki has done a number of despicable things, including leaking her sister Hennessy’s number, to which she received hundreds of unwarranted texts threatening the safety of her and her three month-old daughter, Kulture. Cardi adds onto her argument by calling Nicki a liar and even threatening to sue Nicki for defamation of character.
This conflict all started when Cardi opened up about Nicki changing her verse multiple times for the song “MotorSport” during an interview with The Norte Show on Capital XTRA. Nicki took offense to this, and since then this battle has been a petty back and forth argument about album sales, denials and accusations that eventually led to fists being thrown at New York Fashion Week.
Many people are calling Nicki jealous for the fact that she seems to be losing relevance while Cardi is on the up. There is no denying that for the entirety of Nicki’s career, competition has been pretty much unprecedented. Her most recent album, Queen, debuted at #2 on Billboard, while Cardi’s remained #1 in the United States for some time and broke records while doing it. So I propose the question, can you blame Nicki for being a tad bit bitter at losing her spotlight? Or should she have never been placed on such a high pedestal to begin with? Many fans and artists alike would agree that there’s enough room in today’s music to feature multiple female artists in prominence.