Nicki Minaj Releases A Hard HIP-HOP Track To Show She’s Still The Queen Of Rap (Audio)

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It seems highly unlikely that Nicki Minaj’s choosing to release her first new music of the year at the end of a week dominated by Cardi B was by coincidence. The two have been intertwined for months, as successful women rappers, featured guests on the same song, and potential combatants in a beef, real or imaginary. While both women have consistently sought to deny rumors about any ill feelings between them, there is a convincing series of events and exchanges over a nearly 12-month timeline that suggests otherwise.

Today, in an interview with Beats 1‘s Zane Lowe ahead of the release of her singles “Barbie Tingz” and “Chun-Li,” the plot thickened, as Nicki acknowledged that she had indeed been taken aback by some of Cardi’s words after the release of “MotorSport,” their collaboration with Migos. Many took Nicki’s verse to be filled with subliminal darts aimed at Cardi, and in an interview with Capital XTRA shortly after the release of the song, Cardi said that she had not heard Nicki’s full verse prior to its release. “Well, when I heard the track, her verse wasn’t finished. Well, it’s not the verse that is on right now.” Those words caused an onslaught of stories suggesting that Nicki had deliberately changed her verse once she learned Cardi was joining the song that she claims originally just featured Nicki and Migos’ Quavo.

In her conversation with Lowe, Nicki told him that Cardi’s response really bothered her. “The first interview she did after ‘MotorSport’ came out, it just really hurt me, ’cause she looked so aggravated and angry and the only thing she kept saying was, ‘Oh, I didn’t hear that verse, I didn’t hear that verse. She changed her verse,'” said Nicki. Minaj responded on Twitter to the rumors about the song’s history, saying “I was on the song w/Quavo. No one else was on it. He called & asked if I think we should put Bardi on it, I said ‘ok let’s do it.’ The end.” Nicki tells Lowe she also asked Quavo to back her story up, and his he declined. “With ‘MotorSport,’ I kinda felt ambushed. I love Quavo, and at the time, on Twitter, I explained how ‘Motorsport’ came about, and you know, people were saying that I was lying. So I texted Quavo and I said, ‘Hey, just, you know, could you back me up on this because I don’t want people to think I’m lying. What do I have to lie about? And he didn’t back me up,” says Minaj. “He texted me, and he was like, ‘I would go on Twitter and back you up if you were my girl lol.’ And that hurt, because he’s somebody—I love him.”

While the interview reveals a new level of complexity in the relationship between Nicki and Cardi, Nicki’s new songs are bound to fuel even more rumors. “Barbie Tingz” features some of Nicki’s hardest rapping in years, and it is filled with subliminal targets that may include Remy Ma, Cardi, Safaree, Meek Mill and potentially even Nas. Comprised of nothing but hard-hitting drums and Nicki’s piercing rhymes, the song is Nicki’s purest Hip-Hop record in ages.

Her first verse seems clearly aimed at longtime nemesis and Love & Hip-Hop star, Remy Ma, with lines like “It’s time to make hits and it’s time to diss / How you still dissin’, still can’t find some hits? (Okay) / Was it worth it, dummy? I ain’t mind a bit / Still on that show gettin’ no chips, time to dip.” Verse 2 may have Cardi in its sights, disparaging someone Nicki believes is a copycat artist. Nicki raps “Rap b*tches tell they team, “Make ’em like Barbie” / Had to come off IG so they can’t stalk me / All they do is copy looks, steal music too / Want to see what b*tches do when they lose the blue…print.” She reiterates the point in verse 3, when she raps “When it come to stealin’ flows, these birds is fluent / But they stutter when get asked ’bout the queen’s influence.

The last part of verse 2 is even more harsh, with lines like “Had to f*ck up the b*tch, man, f*ck the b*tch / Won’t shoot her but I will gun-butt the b*tch / When we say “F*ck the b*tch” d*ck-up the b*tch / She was stuck-up so my ni**as stuck up the b*tch.” While it’s unclear that those words are directed at any specific person, they do take on heightened meaning when coupled with the fact that Safaree Samuels, Nicki’s former boyfriend of 14 years, was robbed at gunpoint last week, and one of the men arrested for the robbery is a person Samuels and Minaj knew but to whom Samuels says he has not spoken since breaking up with Minaj.

Newly Released Surveillance Footage Shows Just How Real Safaree’s Robbery Was (Video)

In a refrain that repeats throughout the song, Nicki says “they would still wife me,” of her ex-boyfriends, the most public of whom are Safaree and Meek Mill. Last year, however, she also had a brief romance with Nas. In verse 3, she says “they would still wife me” a couple of times, before adding “Yup, him too, he would still wife me.” Perhaps that was a subtle nod to Mr. Jones.

On “Chun-Li,” Nicki adds some instrumentation, but the drums and verses are similarly hard. There’s no question that, with these two songs, she is making a statement that, while Cardi has reigned this week and much of this year, Nicki still believes she is the Queen Of Rap.