I can’t say that I know what being the biggest in the world in a particular field feels like. Very few of us can, that’s part of why we convince ourselves popularity matters so much. You and I can only imagine the fruits of having the highest numbers or the most fans. We’re the little people.
So imagine what it feels like to be not just the biggest thing, but the only thing.
That’s who Nicki Minaj was.
For 8 long years, Nicki Minaj was the only female rapper that people cared to discuss. The top spot had her name tattooed on it. Sure, other names would pop up here and there, mostly as the other nominees at award shows, but there was no true competition for Nicki from 2009 all the way up to last year. But things have changed in a big way.
Until recently, whenever Nicki would brag on songs and throw subliminals out, people just enjoyed them without giving a second of thought as to who they were about. Who cared? The success of her peers has severely changed that, though. Nowadays, she can’t go four bars without people assuming she’s poking at Remy Ma or Cardi B.
There’s nothing wrong with a little healthy competition, right?
Well, maybe there is. So far, the threat of another woman coming for that spot on top has had the absolute reverse effect.
I was one of the few non-stans who applauded Nicki when she responded directly to Remy Ma on ‘No Frauds’. We had to wait a little, yes. It had nowhere near the effect that ‘ShETHER’ did, right. And she had the help of Drake and Lil Wayne, fine. But at least she took her emotions to the booth and stuck up for herself. The fact that she responded at all was a bright moment in what has otherwise been a lacklustre show of integrity.
It’s almost as if having no competition for so many years poisoned Nicki. Like she got so used to being the only person that mattered that anyone else being the topic of conversation crumbles her without fail.
When she gets to a state where she feels she has to defend herself, her mind automatically goes to what it knows best — awards, sales and general statistics. “To be the queen of Rap, you gotta sell records, you gotta have plaques” Nicki rapped on ‘Make Love’. I think she genuinely feels like that, which is only more cause for concern. What happens when other women match and surpass her accomplishments? She’s left with nothing to show for her career. Her fans might be the most loyal in Hip-Hop which has been just as detrimental as it has been advantageous. Anything she does is praised which gets to your head quickly.
There’s a direct correlation between the success of another female rapper and how far Nicki is willing to go to get some quick attention. It’s honestly sad to see. Most of the time it’s a revealing post on Instagram and this was as recently as last night:
The interesting thing is that R&B stars like Rihanna, Beyoncé and Taylor Swift are exempt from it. A certain sect of the Barbz reportedly made it their job to stream Taylor’s new single to help keep ‘Bodak Yellow’ at #2 on the charts but even those tactics failed. This is strictly a Hip-Hop mentality.
Nicki Minaj’s insecurity might just be her downfall. In the near future, it’s imperative that she recognises her insecurities and frees her mind of any unhealthy bitterness or jealousy. Her best move at this moment in time would be to praise Cardi B for going #1 and focus on her own work in peace. At the end of the day, all we want is good music. We’re rooting for you, Nicki.
– by Akaash Sharma