They say the mark of intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in your head at the same time and not flip the freak out, but it seems a lot of people can’t fathom the idea that two women rappers could be both good at their jobs. Cardi B is great, and Nicki Minaj is also great, and the persistent rumor that they’re feuding is one which they’ve both denied. Perhaps you’re unconvinced—so hey, let’s let the music speak for itself.
“Oh I get it, they paintin’ me out to be the bad guy,” she raps on “Chun-Li,” later adding, “They need rappers like me/So they can get on their fucking keyboards and make me the bad guy.” People who get on their keyboards could be bloggers who traffic in clickbait or people on Twitter who indulge rumors—it might also refer to Zane Lowe (interview audio below), who recently asked Minaj about the leaked snippet of a song of hers that seems to diss Cardi. “That particular song, I wrote in Paris a year and a half ago,” she says. Boom! Case closed. (I mean, if you believe her.)
Nicki does admit that there was some tension between her and Cardi around the time their single with Quavo, “Motorsport,” came out. “With Cardi B, she’s done exactly what she should’ve done. She’s just gone full steam ahead and, you know, congratulations to her,” Minaj told Lowe during her interview. “The only thing with Cardi that really, really, really hurt my feelings was the first interview she did after ‘Motorsport’ came out—I remember when I first came in the game, if a female of that stature had done a feature with me on it, I would only be, you know, singing their praises and saying thank you.”
Minaj added, “The first interview she did after ‘Motorsport’ came out, it just really hurt me. ’Cause she looked so aggravated and angry. And the only thing she kept saying was, ‘Oh, I didn’t hear that, I didn’t hear that verse...’ I was like, ‘What?’” Obviously, Nicki is well within her rights to feel snubbed—but in the spotlight, every little comment is made to represent something bigger. There’s no room for her to express her feelings or be a human without it being tied up into misogynist industry expectations that women will be beefing.
Whether or not Cardi and Nicki are currently mad at each other, the way media and fans keep harping on a so-called beef is starting to feel like an elaborate scheme to make one or the other say something stupid. Every time one of them is submitted to questions about it, they risk making a misstep and causing controversy. In the Zane Lowe interview, you get the sense Nicki wants to stop talking, but then can’t help herself—she goes on to list all the women rappers who’ve shown her “genuine love,” adding that she didn’t feel like Cardi ever did that until recently, in an interview with Beats 1's Ebro Darden. “I felt good, I finally felt like she said something genuinely nice about me,” Nicki says. She sounds tired. I would be, too. Listen to both of her new songs below.