Hey, guys! This week’s song recommendation is “Leave The Door Open” by Bruno Mars, Anderson Paak and Silk Sonic! A lot of artists released new music last week, and out of everything I listened to, this song was one of my favorites. I also love the cover art for it because it feels like a throwback. Bruno rarely misses. Now, onto Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar and Onika Tanya Maraj-Petty.
Not too long ago I was reflecting on the Cardi B and Nicki Minaj beef when “Motorsport,” the only song in which both rappers are featured, came on randomly in my Spotify Repeat Rewind. Now as I looked back to when people started pitting the two rappers against each other, it hit me that it didn’t even make sense to compare the two artists in the first place.
At the height of Nicki Minaj’s career, she was the most prominent female rapper in the game. No other female rappers had been taking the major strides she had been making around the mid-2010s. Nicki’s predecessors include the ever so powerful Lauryn Hill and Lil’ Kim, but at the time, Nicki was the only powerful female voice, surrounded by men. Cardi B hadn’t even come into the picture yet and, to be quite frank, was nowhere near it.
Nicki also paved the way to make room for other female rappers to have a platform in mainstream rap. Rap has traditionally been a heavily male-dominated genre, and it is extremely hard for women to even break into the mainstream rap game. And even when they do manage to make it into the spotlight, they are met with a mountain of sexism and misogyny. Female rappers used to be a rare occurrence, but now they’re more popular than ever, creating anthems to which female rap fans can relate.
Anyway, for some context, the Nicki vs. Cardi B debate peaked around fall 2018 and got significantly worse when Cardi B threw a shoe (and missed) at Nicki Minaj at New York Fashion Week. After that, each rapper’s fans went into a discourse on Twitter. The Barbs, Nicki Minaj’s fan base, are a dangerous group of stans to play with. Even today, they prove to be a dangerous front time and time again.
On the other hand, Cardi B gained major traction and quickly blew up in 2017 with the release of “Bodak Yellow,” which skyrocketed to the top of the Billboard charts. It felt like she arose out of nowhere, even though she had been brewing behind the scenes. She was the second female rapper to ever achieve this feat since Lauryn Hill in 1988, and since Nicki and Cardi were the only major female rappers at the time, naturally, people pitted them against each other. And when both of the artists themselves had a falling out, that fact gave way for fans to join the conversation.
My main issue with this debacle and fans putting each rapper against each other is that this argument was truly comparing apples to oranges. When the beef broke out, Nicki Minaj had a hefty, thick discography with three-hour long albums, several singles, features and plenty of awards that contributed to her fame. Cardi B had “Bodak Yellow,” her only recognizable single. Not to mention, Cardi B had no album out at all. Looking back, it never made any sense to pit a very seasoned rapper against one that had just gotten on the block, and I feel like many forgot that Cardi B was fresh out.
All in all, I’m so happy there are much more mainstream female rappers right now giving us music to listen to and appreciate! Megan Thee Stallion, Doja Cat, The City Girls and Chika have all produced gems recently. However, we must make comparisons between rappers that are already on the same level and ability. The beef between Nicki and Cardi felt unnecessary and extra, especially due to the fact that Cardi was at the beginning of her mainstream career.