A Feminist Analysis of the Cardi B and Nicki Minaj Feud

Nicki Minaj is one of the most successful female rappers of all time. Her abstract style and playful, self-written lyrics and delivery made her a giant in a field that is overwhelmingly dominated by men.

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Cardi B later entered the rap industry and took the world by storm with her hit song Bodak Yellow. While Nicki stood out with her unique style, audiences were obsessed with Cardi B’s bold, authentic, and eccentric personality, which she showed to the world with no hesitation.

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And for a while, it seemed that the two iconic women were on good terms supporting each other and showing love. But, things got rocky when rumors of sneak dissing and disrespect arose. They got even rockier after Cardi and Nicki worked on the song Motorsport together, where people accused Nicki of changing her original verse on the song that supposedly disrespected Cardi. Even though these rumors were dispelled, Nicki admitted that the fact that Cardi didn’t defend her from the accusers really hurt her feelings.

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And after that, rumors of Nicki liking tweets criticizing Cardi’s skills as a mother and threatening to cut off any artists who chose to work with her lead up to an actual physical fight occurring at New York Fashion Week. This is where the picture of Cardi B with a bump on her head was born. Two of the most successful female rappers pitted against each other to the point of a physical fight at an event as public as New York Fashion Week? 

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This has really never happened before, so here’s a theory on why it’s going on now.

The rap industry is and has always been incredibly male-dominated. And for years, Nicki was the face of female rap, the Queen. The new success of Cardi B has been taken as a challenge for Nicki to “defend her throne.” But why should she have to defend her throne in the first place?

When you look at male rappers, there is no one King agreed upon by a majority. There are many incredibly successful rappers, who honestly aren’t even very distinct. I can’t even count the number of successful and talented rappers whose names start with “Lil” something: Lil Yachty? Lil Xan? Lil Pump? Lil Wayne? Lil Uzi Vert?

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I didn’t even know that Lil Pump and Lil Xan were different dudes until recently! They all have pretty similar styles and levels of talent. So why aren’t male rappers defending a throne every time Lil Whoever releases a popular song?

It’s the way men and women are perceived differently. Rap is such a male-dominated platform. So, when a female’s talent is recognized, it’s easy to assume that she’s the only one. And for a long time, that was Nicki.

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But now, with Cardi B’s entrance into the rap industry, it’s clear that female rappers can be just as talented, hardworking, and deserving as male rappers. But people don’t want to see that. People look for opportunities to pit them against each other, as if they crave a catfight more than talented artists and exceptional women.

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It's the people, the audiences and the media particularly, who started the rumors about Nicki and Cardi sneakily dissing each other, which started the fight and created aggression in the first place. Fans find it fun to pick sides and pretend that one is the subjective “Queen of Rap,” even though they are both profoundly different, artistically and as people.

But why would Nicki and Cardi continue this fight? They’re both incredibly powerful women of color, and with the two of them in the field they have the chance to inspire an entire generation of female artists like them.

It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. The media and audience paint both of the women as trying to sabotage each other. If the media says Cardi is a challenger to the throne, how is Nicki supposed to not feel defensive? And if the media says Nicki is the obstacle to Cardi’s success, how is she not supposed to feel defensive, too? The root of the issue is not that Cardi B and Nicki Minaj are in a catfight and the audience expects them to be. Pitting women against each other sets us back. It’s much more inspiring to a young girl to see two powerful women of color supporting each other in a male-dominated field, instead of two women insisting that the other is inferior when they have both reached historic levels of success for women. 

 

Don’t buy into this constructed feud. Rap is not for male artists. It's not for male artists and one token female artist. Rap is just for artists.

 

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