What's Beef? A Rational Look At Why Lil' Kim Is Mad At Nicki Minaj - GangStarr Girl : GangStarr Girl

What’s Beef? A Rational Look At Why Lil’ Kim Is Mad At Nicki Minaj

[ 15 ] November 27, 2010 |

A battle on wax mp3 between Lil’ Kim and Nicki Minaj could be epic but Lil’ Kim started on the wrong path when she started blustering in various interviews about Nicki Minaj being a swagger jacker. But anyway, here’s “Black Friday,” the highly anticipated official Nicki Minaj diss:

“It’ll be a murder scene/ I’ll turn pink Friday to Friday the 13th.” That was probably the best line in the whole song. I will refrain from ghostwriter jokes but…all that hoopla for this? Smh.

Diss tracks aren’t Kim’s strong suit…

That just sounded like an extended rant by a bitter rapper trying to convince everyone that she still has it ie an extension of her radio interviews. A real diss would be more along the lines of Common’s “The Bitch in You,” Jay-Z’s “Take Over,” KRS One’s “The Bridge Is Over,” Roxanne Shante’s “Roxanne’s Revenge,” or Nas’ “Ether”–for those who don’t know, go school yourself on the difference between flexing bravado and being desperate and insecure. For those that know, remember the feeling you got when you first heard each of these songs? Didn’t you get the chills or go, “ooooooooooooh” like you were on a school yard back when “snapping” on people was cool?

I was a Kim fan back in the Hardcore days all the way up to The Naked Truth and even defended her when people criticized her. But I can’t cosign her behavior lately because it’s irrational. No one is denying the fact that Lil’ Kim was a trailblazer in hip-hop and opened doors for new jacks like Nicki Minaj but she’s making herself look like a fool. Her major grievance is that Nicki Minaj took covert shots at her in rhymes.

“For the last year she’s been  subliminally taking shots at me, subliminally taking shots at the other girls,” said Lil’ Kim in a June 2010 interview with Thisis50.com. “I mean come on, we read that interview where she said ‘Oh being that the other rap chicks in the game ain’t got shit to do right now, when I’m by the pool they can feed me grapes.’ I remember that shit, I keep my ear to the streets at all times.” (Source)

There was no real name attached to Nicki’s insults but that happens in hip-hop. You claim you’re the best and if someone gets upset then they have to come for your title on a track. However, none of the other veterans like Eve, Trina, and Remy took offense. They all recognized that this is a new era in the game and that their prime time is over. That doesn’t mean they can’t still put out music and enjoy the lime light and their fans but in general, they understand that any contemptuous remarks from a new jack are probably geared toward said newbie’s direct competition (ie other new jacks or girls trying to get put on) unless names are named or lyrics are blatantly directed toward someone specific. But in Kim’s world Nicki is a swagger jacker who needs to pay homage and that deserves this much attention.

“At the end of the day it’s just about respect, when you come in the game it’s about paying homage to those who paved the way for you. When I came in the game I had Salt N Pepa, MC Lyte–all of them was in my videos so at the end of the day that’s what it’s all about we gotta kinda support each other and bring each other up,” she said in a June 2010 web cam video that she recorded with another Nicki Minaj nemesis, Keys (an internet rapper who made a name for herself by releasing Nicki Minaj disses). “And even when you just coming in the game and somebody else been in the game for a while and you like they style it’s OK to say, ‘I love you, I love your style, you inspire me.'” (Source)

Getting respect as a pioneer is nice but Nicki paid her dues and that crotch shot on the Sucker Free mixtape was a nod. Nicki Minaj has said several times that she was influenced by Lil’ Kim. Most female emcees from New York who grew up in the 90s were probably influenced by Kim, Lauryn Hill, Biggie, Jay Z, Foxy and Nas. Nicki embodied some aspect of each of those influences in her rhymes more so when she first came out on the hood dvd circuit. No one of sound mind would blatantly bite just for the hell of it. It’s career suicide, especially in hip-hop. Every artist goes through different phases until they figure out where they want to be.

For Nicki Minaj, she revealed later down the line that she felt it was a mistake to pose the way she did on the cover of Sucker Free because she wasn’t comfortable portraying that level of raunchiness and that it wasn’t really her. Take a look at Nicki’s interviews from 2007 to now. She’s a different, more mature woman with less of a potty mouth and less salacious lyrics and imagery. All artists evolve, Nicki admitted that at one point she thought she had to be like other people but these days she’s taking elements of her influences and making them her own. She paid homage, now it’s time to move on and focus on herself.

Other than the crotch shot and the colorful wigs, Nicki Minaj now seems to have found who she is. She does crazy voices and facial expressions and whether people like them or not it was a smart thing to do because it’s hers. The drastic change shifted chatter about whether her butt was fake or not to why she raps like a schizo and makes goofy faces. No other pretty femcees would dare contort their faces or alter their voice inflections out of fear of failing to meet the required visual aesthetic that exists for most women in music but Nicki took a chance and manages to be sexy and goofy at the same time. The last time I checked, Lil’ Kim always tried to sound like a female Biggie (down to the adlibs) and her main focus was being a down a$$ mafia chick/Black Pam Anderson sexpot with an insatiable appetite (also keep in mind how much of her stuff you would want a teenage girl to rap out loud vs Nicki’s). That hasn’t changed. The closest Kim came to doing characters was “Aunt Dot.” Stylewise, Kim channels blond white sex pot while Nicki opts more for the anime cartoon thing. There are more traces of Missy, Busta Rhymes and Ol’ Dirty Bastard in what Nicki Minaj is doing. Yes they both call themselves “Barbie” but so does Diamond and tons of other glam Black girls who fancy themselves some sort of modern day Marilyn Monroe. Hence, Kim’s argument (and the people who agree with her) is null in void so stop dwelling on the one picture and wigs.

The Bridge Wars beef started over a dispute between the original birth place of hip-hop, Nas and Jay got into it over a woman, Roxanne Shante wanted to show UTFO that it wasn’t cool to objectify women and Lil’ Kim is mad about someone not paying what she feels is an adequate amount of homage. One of these things is not like the other, super side eye.

An amazing woman named Julia Cameron–who specializes in fostering productivity in artists–once told me that if I felt the compulsion to think and/or say negative things about other artists then I’m probably not doing the right thing with my own skills (which is creating and focusing on myself as opposed to being a Cancer to the universe). Why focus so much energy on someone else to the point where not only do their moves control you, but you look like a sucker? Lil’ Kim should focus less on Nicki Minaj and try to re-energize her own career. Her fans are still there and she had potential to gain new ones. But at this point, she’s more on her way to looking like Ja Rule post 50 Cent.

Nicki summed this up in her recent interview with Angie Martinez where she broke down the fact that Kim is extremely insecure–which as always been obvious–and also cited that Kim has a history of petty beef with a lot of other women (and some men) in the game. Nicki Minaj’s response was well thought out, rational and mature as opposed to Kim’s redundant whining.

“She just really jumped out of the window and you got to be careful when you pick fights. That’s what I learned in this business. You just never know. I think people get me mistaken with like a real Barbie, they forget where I’m from. If I have to revert back I can…. and I will… It’s not Nicki Minaj, it’s any girl that’s popping. She picked a fight with Foxy, then she picked a fight with Eve, then it was Miss Wallace, now it’s Nicki Minaj. 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!”

A lot of women copy Lil’ Kim and of all the women that do, the parallels between Nicki Minaj and Kim aren’t as strong as some of the women trying to get on who upload videos to YouTube or WorldStarHipHop but because they’re not popping’ like Nicki, the jealousy doesn’t exist for them. Nicki, in a short amount of time is poised to achieve Queen Latifah levels of success if she stays on the right track. With a MAC Cosmetics endorsement, Billboard success as having the first single by a femcee to top the Rap Songs category in over seven years, several top notch collabos under her belt even before dropping an album and various magazine cover features, she’s not going the be the 15 minute famer that some people think.

I probably sound like a Nicki Minaj Stan but I’m not. I’m not a fan of any of her radio singles (but I like her cameos). I don’t dislike her but I get the appeal (admittedly, I like her more as a person than I like her music) and I want her to win. I want every woman to win no matter what she’s doing, especially in hip-hop. I never realized how much of a positive impact women like MC Lyte, YoYo, Lauryn Hill and Queen Latifah had on my development as a woman until my adult years so I appreciate Nicki and pray that people find their way to more balance when it comes to women in hip-hop. The women aren’t gone (and it’s not just Nicki Minaj making waves), they’re just not on MTV but I digress.

I’m speaking from an objective place on one hand but also from a place of disappointment in Lil’ Kim. Jealousy is unbecoming, especially when it’s a veteran against a newcomer. Just like it’s not a veteran’s obligation to look out for newbies, newbies don’t have to bow down to veterans. Respect and acknowledgment on both ends is nice but life doesn’t always work that way. (Cue The Rolling Stones)

At this point, it would be nice if Nicki responded because I miss that feeling that I once had when it was Ice Cube vs. Common (even though I was in elementary school lol) or Nas vs. Jay (back in the college days). Women need to be the focus in hip-hop right now because it would break up some of the monotony. While I want to preach that we should all get along and that we should support each other, I also understand that sometimes dissension is necessary in life, it’s one of the 48 laws of power. A healthy serving of beef could help propel Kim and Nicki’s careers forward.

Yet Kim may be teetering around a hidden landmind waiting to explode because she started off on the wrong foot. Nicki Minaj has more to lose so if she decides to go in (which I doubt is going to happen) this could be a doozy. Plus, Kim doesn’t have many allies left. The heavy hitting men who used to mess with Kim like Diddy and Jay-Z now cosign Nicki. Women who left their marks on the game like Eve, Remy, Foxy and Trina seem to want to stay out of it but the bottom line is the odds seem more in favor of Minaj.

The one thing Kim failed to realize is that no Queen reigns forever and there are two ways to hand over the crown–gracefully while still maintaining a regal legacy or shamefully by force. Kim, instead of having dignity, is letting her frustrations with herself get the best of her actions which has resulted in a loss of footing. Even if Minaj never responds Kim is probably going to keep ranting and making songs thus allowing Nicki Minaj to have control of the situation (there’s an adage that says, he who angers you controls you). My suggestion is that Kim lay low for a while, meditate and gain some clear focus on what she needs to do whether she keeps fighting or bows out. If she’s going to continue the beef route then the only way to get the best of Nicki Minaj is to either come up with some real diss lyrics or by doing something that’s Summer Jam Screen status. The mafia days are over but Kim did claim that she’d erase Nicki’s social security number so the least she can do is really show and prove because right now, Kim, we don’t believe you, you need more people.


P.S. If you still don’t see what I mean about Kim then click here for an interview she did with This is 50 addressing the “real reasons” why she’s mad (smh in advance).

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Category: Emcees, Hip-Hop

About the Author ()

Starrene Rhett Rocque is a recovering journalist who often fantasizes about becoming a shotgun-toting B-movie heroine.
  • http://jayfingers.becoolent.com Jay Fingers

    I agree with everything—and I mean EVERYTHING—in this post. I’ve had this same discussion at the bar, on Facebook, at Tksgvg dinner, and once I’ve presented the facts (just as you’ve done) no one’s been able to dispute that Kim looks bitter, childish, and just wrong. And I’m glad you recognize that aside from colored wigs and having a sexpot vibe, Nicki hasn’t “swagger jacked” Kim at all. There really aren’t that many similarities between them.

    Yesterday I told people that “Black Friday” is a piss-poor diss, not because of its lame (ghostwritten?) lyrics, but more so because there’s no energy, no venom in Kim’s delivery. It’s lazy, lethargic, lame.

    Ah, I could go on and on. It’s refreshing to know there’s someone else out there that’s looked at this situation from a logical point of view.

    (Forgive me if this posted twice.)

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  • cw

    #teamkim

    Nikki is on top by default, there is no competition out for her. We’ll see what next year this time brings and whether Nicki will sustain, lol.

  • http://omgtre.com OMGTré! – Blog

    Nicki is all gimmick and although I thought Kim lyrics were better, Nicki’s delivery on RR was better but the lyrics were utter shite as is her ‘album’.

  • tuttifrutti

    A very intelligent discourse on two ladies separated by a decade in the hip-hop arena. One is riding the crest of popularity; the other is resisting the necessary ritual of “passing” the proverbial baton gracefully. By contrast, Cher seems able to embrace younger “divas” as evidenced by her participation in the movie “Burlesque” by costarring with Xtina. Lil’ Kim should position herself as mentor as opposed to adversary. An old classic movie entitled “All About Eve” explores this age old dilemma of the “has been” vs the younger ingenue” deliciously.

  • http://www.twitter.com/GenoBaby GenoBaby

    I co-sign this post. What I find interesting is this whole swagger jacking issue; not even from the Nicki vs Kim debate but swagger jacking in general. The wigs was not the reason why Kim was hot and the wigs is not the reason why Nicki is hot. It was their skills. Kim (and her fans) are making it seem that all you have to do is rock a wig and BOOM you’re hot. The fact still remains that Nicki is nice with the pen; whether she’s telling a story in her rhymes or just freestyling on a song (i’m not talking about off the top of the head spitting but those rap songs that are not on specific topic; just to show off lyrical skills). You don’t see Jordan getting at Kobe because Kobe likes to stick his tongue out when he dunks. It’s sad that you see this whole thing in hip-hop, especially amongst female MCs… and two good MCs at that.

  • KB

    *slow claps*
    Thank you for this, Starr. I can’t take Kim seriously anymore…I heard “Black Friday” and I thought it was the most lazy, nonsensical, half-assed attempt at a diss track that I have EVER heard. There was no venom at all to it…and part of the reason is that there is no real beef here. Kim, as you have pointed out, is just being an insecure, whiny brat! It’s the same thing when a pretty new girl starts working in the office– all the old hater beetches wanna talk trash for no reason, just because they feel threatened. Am I really supposed to sympathize with that?????

    I really hope Nicki goes in on her…I am by no means a huge fan of the girl’s but I think part of my general sense of affection” for her comes from a place of– I recognize her. Same age, same neighborhood, same background. She could easily be someone I knew or was cool with growing up. So I see her hustle and I’m proud of her for that. Like you said…I want to see her win.

  • EMCEEMD

    Hmmm, this article was pretty good but a bit one sided. Nikki has been talking really wreckless about Kim subliminally for a while and then when she released “Roman’s Revenge,” I think almost any able minded lyricist would have responded because its getting a bit too much. So I think theres enough fault to go around for the cause of this beef.
    Unfortunately, Kim isn’t an able minded lyricist so if anything that makes her look bad is that she came back with a lack luster response.
    If this were as hot as say “Ether,” we would be having a completely different discussion
    I also feel its a shame that the elder statesmen of the game like Jay and Puff couldn’t have helped them work this out behind the scenes. Such dealings may be too much of an afro centric concept for my beloved hiphop. Its in their best interest to back whats young and fresh. But imagine how dope it would have been for like a Nikki and Kim Record to come out; much doper than this lack-luster “battle”
    And now with Foxxy Brown coming out with her own dis record over the “Hol ya” riddim, this all just furthers the stereotype of female rappers, THEY ALWAYS BEEF!!!!!!!
    Consider this, I think the last all female rap record I remember was “Ladies Night” with Missy, Angie Martinez, Lil Kim, etc THATS A DAMN SHAME!!!
    Peace!!!!!

  • http://www.AntBoogieWorld.com AntBoogie

    I like your post Starr and agree with a lot of what you wrote, But something that crosses my mind is this. What if there is stuff behind the scenes we don’t know about? I can’t believe anything on tv or radio 100 percent its entertainment. I don’t know who is wrong or right. But overall I believe Hip Hop NEEDS and should have more of this. Its not like real gun shots will be fired if they see each other. I think its ok to not like someone. For hip hop what’s wrong with calling out someone you don’t like them or maybe even jealous of them. Its on Wax aka mp3. Its like talking shit out-loud on music. I think overall people attach real life to entertainment so it alters the way people look at it. I love to play XBOX360 I talk shit when im playing people. Basketball players trash talk all day on the court. Boxers knock each other out with punches. Get up hug each other. So that is my stand point on it. I dont dislike kim or stop supporting her because she seems jealous. Lol who cares, I see some people on blogs saying stuff. Stuff like… they don’t like this diss record so they not down with kim, or she is really wack now and need to chill. Does that mean if the diss record was more entertaining you would be ENTERTAINED again would stamp her as dope and be rocking with her. Humans scare the shit out me

    sorry for typo’s its like 4am lol
    what up starr!! =)

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  • http://youneedpeaceofmindheresapieceofmine.blogspot.com 8thlight

    I loved your rational take on Kim & Nicki. Frankly I think Kim is fighting above her weight class. Unless she can resurrect Biggie to write her new material, she’s far too over matched.

    I also think Nicki is more like Eminem meets Busta Rhymes, than she is Missy & ODB.

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