Hip Hop: A Crown Fit For A Queen, or Two?
Nicki Minaj vs Cardi B, Why Must There Only Be One Queen B in Hip Hop?
Written by: Maria Myraine
Yes, women can be extremely competitive - even to the point of cattiness. Even more so when it comes to Hip Hop. But this absolute need to be “the queen b*tch in charge,” wasn’t always a thing. For me, I think back as early as the 1990’s, where Lil Kim, Missy Elliot, Left Eye, Foxy Brown, Eve, Da Brat, (etc) were co-existing in peace, allowing each other to shine. By the time the mid-2000’s came around, we started seeing less women in Hip Hop right up until Nicki Minaj came onto the scene. Her entrance into the game was the catalyst women needed to become relevant in the industry once again.
But as ideal as that would have been. It didn’t necessarily turn out that way. For some reason, Nicki Minaj’s bold approach to her lyrics, delivery and even appearance were viewed as “extra,” and some of her predecessors showed resistance, dismissing her talent as too “gimmicky.” This, eventually, is what many assumed as the genesis of “the queen b*tch” movement. And it’s as if everyone started falling in line with this idea that there can only be ONE. Take Lil Kim, for example, whose career was slowly fading away as Nicki’s started to blossom. Many started painting her as this industry has-been who became increasingly obsessive with defacing Nicki’s career - but failed miserably.
Eventually, Lil Kim became a thing of the past, and Nicki sat comfortably on her throne. Now, fast forward some years later, and cue in Cardi B. You would assume that Nicki wouldn’t follow in the steps of Lil Kim, and break the cycle, but unfortunately, she didn’t. As you all have heard and seen on every gossip blog, online music news channel, and trending topic on social media, things reached a new height after a physical altercation between Nicki and Cardi happened during NYFW this past Fall. The tension between the two is said to have stemmed from Nicki feeling threatened by Cardi’s success. And all this despite the two collaborating on “Motorsport” earlier in the year!
In 2015, an article titled, “Why Women Compete With Each Other” was published on the New York Times website. In the article, author, Emily Gordon, wrote: “We aren’t competing with other women, ultimately, but with ourselves - with how we think of ourselves. For many of us, we look at other women and see, instead, a version of ourselves that is better, prettier, smarter, something more. We don’t see the other woman at all.”
If this is the case, then Nicki has some serious self-reflecting to do. Because honestly, in an already male-dominated industry, we NEED more women - to coexist, collaborate, promote, and back each other up! Sure, the boys of Rap have their beefs too, and let their egos toy with the idea that there’s a “king of Rap,” but they already outnumber us women. If one of their careers so happens to end, It’s time women in Hip Hop glorify the idea of more women flourishing - simultaneously - because representation matters.
There really isn’t an answer to why there should only be one Queen B in Hip Hop. It’s sort of become this unwritten rule most likely “written” by men who want to regulate the success of women. Especially in an industry that has glorified lyrics that belittle women, and portray women as nothing but sexual objects. Sadly, a lot of the women who come into the game adapt this mentality, contributing nothing to breaking the cycle. And even more disappointing, we've become an industry that has grown content with that.