By Chris Yuscavage
Oh, it's on!
Unless you took in a tad too much tryptophan from your turkey over Thanksgiving weekend, you've no doubt heard by now that the war of words between Nicki Minaj and Lil Kim escalated to new heights late last week. It all started when Nicki took her first real jab at Kim during an interview with Angie Martinez on Hot 97 while on a press run for her Pink Friday album. "I respect you and I love you," she said about the Queen Bee. "And if that's not good enough for you, mama, then it's something deep rooted in you ... Every time you're in the news, you are getting at somebody. Put your music out and when I see your name on Billboard, that's when I'll respond to you. Other than that, goodbye!"
Never one to bite her tongue, Kim shot back on Thanksgiving weekend by borrowing Pharoahe Monch's "Simon Says" beat to create "Black Friday," a scathing dis track directed at Nicki that revealed the Queen successfully bringing her claws out for the first time in a few years. "It'll be a murder scene," Kim rapped. "I'm turnin' Pink Friday into 'Friday the 13th.' "
And now? Well, now Nicki and Kim are stuck in a beef that most folks saw coming back when Nicki first arrived on the rap scene. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. While we've certainly seen our fair share of corny, manufactured rap beefs (Fabolous vs. Soulja Boy anyone?), Nicki and Kim carry a certain cache that could actually be good for hip-hop. To help you understand, RapFix came up with a list of 10 reasons the Nicki Minaj/Lil' Kim beef is good for the rap game. Let's go, ladies.
1. People Still Care About Female MCs
Be honest: If we told you three years ago that a beef between two female rappers would have the whole Internet buzzing — on Thanksgiving Day, no less — you would have called us crazy. Kim's career was all but over. Nicki was a blip on the New York City rap scene. Foxy Brown was wilding out on the cover of the New York Post every other day (at least, it felt like every other day). Female MCs were done. Finished. Over. So the fact that Nicki and Kim have this rivalry going on right now says something about how far female MCs have come in a short period of time. Now they've got everyone's attention and if they use it right, they could do some big things.
2. Lil' Kim's Hardcore 2?
Before "Black Friday," was anyone out there checking for Kim's next project? Not likely. It's been more than five years since she dropped The Naked Truth. And honestly? That ship had sailed. Now that we've been reminded of what she's still capable of, we're interested. Whether she wants to believe it or not, that wouldn't have been possible without Nicki Minaj.
3. Nicki Minaj Must Stand Alone
To her credit, Nicki's already done everything she could to move out of the shadow of Lil Wayne and Drake. Weezy's prison bid had a lot to do with that, but she's also used her multiple guest appearances this year to show her independence. This latest beef will only reinforce the fact that she can more than hold her own when someone tests her.
4. Nicki Gets Some Much-Needed Competition
Nicki Minaj has absolutely no competition right now. Outside of trying to outshine fellow male MCs on the mic (like Ludacris on "My Chick Bad" — sorry, Luda, but she got you there!) there really isn't anyone like Nicki in the game today. As a result, she's likely to stay at the same skill level. In the spirit of competition, Kim throwing her hat back into the ring will only help Nicki grow as an MC.
5. Nicki Will Stay An MC
If you haven't heard Pink Friday yet, know this: It's a decidedly pop effort featuring a lot — a lot — of singing. And while we can't hate on Nicki for trying to turn her songs into radio smashes, we also still enjoy hearing Nicki spit. This beef with Kim will keep her writing rhymes religiously. For now, at least.
6. Nicki Should Be Able To Move Beyond Kim Comparisons
Ever since she entered the game, Nicki's been compared to the Queen. It's only natural. But it's also gotten a little bit annoying hearing Nicki try to sweep the comparisons under the rug and play nice. Now that everything is out in the open, Nicki can face Kim head-on and then move on. It's best for everyone involved.
7. New Femcees Will Step Up Their Game
You think there's not a young female MC watching Kim and Nicki do their thing right now in the hopes that she can one day be a part of the rap game? Like a great sports rivalry, this battle makes others want to play. And if Nicki and Kim force a couple of other female MCs to step their games up and get involved, then they've done their part.
8. Nicki Minaj Gets New Fans
Nicki is a polarizing rapper, no doubt about it. As a result, her rabid fans love her and watch her every move and her haters hate her and ignore her as much as they can. But those haters are now in the midst of the Nicki Minaj discussion and that will make her whole reign that much more interesting.
9. Pink Friday Gains More Sales
Let's face it: Any rapper selling records in today's economy with the way the music industry is doing should be applauded. Sales don't count for everything, but Nicki representing rap on the Billboard charts is definitely a good look for anyone who supports hip-hop music.
10. It could cause Nicki and Kim to work together sometime in the future
Yeah, yeah, we know. But, hey, we never thought Jay-Z and Nas would work together after their beef either, right? The truth is, without this Nicki/Kim beef, these two would have been asked about one another for the next decade. Better to get this out of the way now so that maybe — just maybe — they can work together and make history later. And if that happens? This has all been good for hip-hop.
Do you think Nicki Minaj and LIl' Kim's beef is good for hip-hop? Tweet us at @MTVRapFix or tell us in a comment below!