Why can there only be one dominant female rapper?

Since the release of Cardi B’s breakout hit “Bodak Yellow”, hip-hop followers have obsessed over comparing Cardi and fellow female rapper, Nicki Minaj. Both women have light-skinned complexions, physically enhanced features, theatrical bars, and NYC attitudes, with these similarities sparking rumors about tensions between the two. Although male hip-hop artists often brag about their success or talk smack about their competitors, Cardi and Nicki can’t seem to get away with doing the same without being accused of referencing each other. Cardi recently dropped her debut album, “Invasion of Privacy”, which has only prompted further questions, such as who’s the best female rapper? But why does hip-hop culture prefer that they dislike each other? Why can’t they share the “top spot”?

Despite many attempts, Cardi B and Nicki Minaj have not been able to control the rumors about their relationship. Even when Migos dropped “MotorSport”, featuring both Nicki and Cardi, people still thought they were going-in on each other – in the same song.

Cardi’s exact lyrics were: “Why would I hop in some beef when I could just hop in a Porsche? / You heard she gon’ do what from who? That’s not a reliable source.”

Her verse clearly acknowledges that she does not care for any conflict with Nicki, and that the sources that say otherwise are untrue. People seem to be either twisting her words, or choosing to ignore them.

In an interview with Complex in 2017, Cardi said, “I feel like people wouldn’t even be satisfied if me and her was making out on a freaking photo… people just want drama because it’s entertaining.” Nicki also addressed the rumors, saying that men in the hip-hop community are pushing this animosity on female rappers. She tweeted, “These are men in our culture who simply refuse to let it go,” and, “They don’t do this to male M.C.’s.”

Nicki has since deleted her tweets, but her words still stand. Hip-hop is a male-dominated industry, and the men in that community have influenced a culture that allows them to coexist at the top, while women have to compete against each other for a limited amount of top spots. Male rappers have only continued to come together too, with each recent year presenting more iconic hip-hop collaborations than the last.

Hip-hop’s gender relations seem to mirror those in the workplace. When women gain power, men feel threatened because they associate their masculinity with their power. In order to protect their egos, they pit women against each other, which occupies them and holds them back from gaining more success. In Cardi and Nicki’s case, men in the industry manufactured this beef as a way to externally limit their power.

Although people debate who the best male rapper is, this is merely a question rather than a power constraint. Although male artists’ popularity may fluctuate over time, they can still sit comfortably at the top, while female rappers can either be the top, or not.

I’m hoping that Cardi and Nicki’s next attempt to squash their beef rumors will be a badass collaboration. A collab tape could not only prove their cordiality, but could also result in an unprecedented female project that demonstrates why there can be more than just one top female rapper.

 

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