So I am a fan of "the culture".
I've been a hip-hop head for as long as I can remember. I am a fan of lyrics, double entendres, metaphors and word plays.
Rap used to be such an intelligent game. I've always thought that some of the most intelligent entertainers were rappers. Rap essentially was poetry set to music...till it all got ruined. Candy pop rap and mumble rappers came through and dominated the scene.
I've been over new school rap for some time. I stay in my lane, rocking my old school.
So imagine my delight when on Saturday, while I was working at an event, my friend read off her twitter feed that Remy Ma and Nicki Minaj had issues. The first thing out of my mouth was "Nicki Minaj DOES NOT want it with Remy Ma. Remy Ma is the very embodiment of what Nicki Minaj raps about". When I wrapped up at my event and went home, I looked up the issue and came across THE diss track to end all diss tracks!!!
I had to go back and look at the timeline of what led to this epic track.
A little history lesson.
Remy Ma was locked up for six and a half years. Before she went to jail, she was on the cusp of a very big break; Lean Back had been released and she had a solo project that was enjoying serious airplay and commercial success. She was set to be a huge female rapper of the quality of Lauryn Hll, Missy Elliot, Eve, etc. Then she gets sent to jail and the era of actual rap all but ended; birthing pop rappers like Nicki Minaj, who has been the dominant rapper in the female rap genre for a long time. Then Remy Ma gets released.
The two of them co-existed side by side for a bit. It is said that they've been taking subliminal shots at each other for a while. Remy Ma featured on a track with Phresher where she alluded to a (possibly female) rapper needing to call her ghostwriter (all rapers vehemently deny using ghostwriters. it is seen as a stain on your credibility as a rapper not to be able to pen your own stuff) etc.
If you can stomach some rap and foul language, check out the video
Anyway, after that song dropped, there was a lot of speculation that Remy Ma was subbing Nicki. Remy Ma was interviewed and was quick to dispel the rumours. She said if she had a problem with Nicki, Nicki would know because she doesn't sub people but would instead call you out; cite your government name, your children's names, your mother's name etc.
I think at this point, Nicki should have let sleeping dogs lie. You are the most commercially successful rapper in this equation. If she had let this go from jump, no one would question her decision; it'll be seen as her either accepting Remy's explanations or just generally ignoring Remy because Remy wasn't worth the hassle. Either ways, she would have won.
But what did Nicki do???? She featured on a song with Gucci Mane called Make Love and threw shots at Remy Ma. I must admit, I didn't listen to the whole track, Gucci Mane is too tedious for me. But I heard the Nicki verse...which I thought was pretty weak.
Here's the thing. Remy Ma was (and as it appears...still is) a battle rapper. Like "stand on a corner street somewhere in New York, go toe to toe with and destroy rappers" type of battle rapper. Nicki Minaj is an "industry rapper" packaged to appeal to the people that like a bit of street culture but Remy Ma is ACTUALLY from the streets! So when Remy Ma heard that weak diss, she decided to shut down Nicki Minaj and she released this track called Shether (parental advisory guys)
Now, let me break down the genius of this diss.
First things first; rappers have collectively destroyed the rap culture. In the past, when a rapper had an issue with another rapper, he was not out there, tweeting about it and asking his followers to tweet rubbish on the other rapper's page. Granted, there was no Twitter back in the day and maybe that's why the culture thrived. Rappers were known to take care of business. So instead of moaning about the issues, they'll get into the studio and make diss tracks which served three purposes; i. getting what they want to say off their chest; ii. adding to their discography and iii. contributing to the culture.
These days, you see that rappers that were once revered as lyricists have become, simply put, twitter trolls; they stay going off on Twitter and you are wondering whether these ones even understand the business and culture of hip hop anymore. The Game, 50 Cents, Soldier Boy and Meek Mill are the worst culprits.
If old school rappers had just been whinging on street corners, we wouldn't have classics like Ether, Second Round KO, Hit 'em up, No Vaseline and the likes. Drake put out a fire diss track last year with Back to Back and the hip hop community lapped it up because it hadn't seen the likes in a while.
So when an MC comes out with a fire diss, the hip hop community (the real one that has felt relegated since this bubble gum rap era begun) is going to embrace it with open arms. Add to that the fact that this is a female MC going HAM on a 7 minutes track that is not exactly intended to have commercial appeal (this track had no hook for crying out loud!!!); just giving you bars after bars, after bars; double entendres, word play, metaphors, jabs, displaying sick skills, it is no wonder hip hop heads went freaking nuts!!!!! This has not been done in a long time and has not been done so masterfully, in an even longer time. It is a thing of pride to see women singlehandedly bringing the culture back and I was so here for it!.
To be honest, it wasn't billed to be a fair fight between Remy Ma and Nicki.
Remy Ma is nothing to joke with. She came up in an era where you actually have to know how to rap to get a deal. She was discovered by Big Pun; a serious lyricist in his days, she is a part of Terror Squad and is married to Papoose; a phenomenal and flawless rapper. She can hold her own with any of these guys and she earned that respect as being a female MC that was not gimmicky and was all about the flow. Nicki is nice with it. I am not a fan but she can rap. She is however, not the greatest lyricist out here. While she is an extremely successful rapper, she isn't the greatest rapper.
This was a typical case of a big fish swimming in a small pond. The female rap game had been wide open for some time with one dominant rapper: Nicki. In her case, she ended up becoming the only fish swimming in the pond and self congratulated too early. She didn't have any real competition. The OG female rappers have pretty much quit the rap game. Iggy Azelia was no match for her because she was also a pre-fab like Nicki but she was never able to go hard enough to withstand Nicki's aggression. Azelia Banks who could have been a match, stays in the news for foolery of all sorts; racism, colorism, occultism, every negative 'ism' she got on lock down. So labels are not checking for her. The other female rappers are not exactly enjoying commercial success which left Nicki and she crowned herself queen of rap.
Remy Ma came out of jail, ready to go. Nicki presented an opportunity for Reny Ma to get her name back out there and really showcase some serious skills. And as far as I'm concerned, it was about damn time! Nicki has been out here crying that she wants competition. I remember her accepting a BET award, after winning yet another BET award for being best female rapper, talmabout she needs more challenge in the female rap game. With Remy Ma's arrival back on the scene and in such an epic way, it is time for Miss Nicki to defend her title.
The second thing that was so genius for me about this track was Remy Ma coining Shether from Ether and using the original Ether by Nas beat. Why was this genius? Diss tracks are aimed to make the person they are directed towards feel more disrespected than they've ever felt in their entire lives. If you listen to Nicki's verse on Make Love, she says something about coming from Queens where all they listen to is Nas. Nas and Nicki both come from Queens. Remy Ma is from the Bronx. Same state, different hoods. She took something that was sacred to Queens and used it to decimate a native daughter of Queens! That beat alone is a slap in the freaking face. This is a rapper that is calculated and will throw the most epic, below the belt jabs that will leave you reeling. I'm not even going to go into the lyrics, but I will say that they are some of the most disrespectful things you will ever hear said about a person. I rubbed my hands in glee when I heard the lyrics. I'm like "rap is back, baybay!!!!"
My third favourite thing is the album art. A destroyed and bloodied barbie. Look, you need to learn your craft. Remy Ma is a master at her craft. The best thing Nicki could have done for herself was to not give her any opening. With this album art, she took the image that had become synonymous with Nicki; destroyed it; bloodied it, spat on it and showed it to the world like "there goes your girl, she's done!". This image itself was psychological warfare! Without having heard the song, I was already scared for Nicki.
With all that was done and said about her, what did Nicki do? She posted album sales. I rolled my eyes like
That was so lame!!! You are an MC. You just got your ass handed to you. The rap game is all about respect. Your forebears have died over this respect issue. While I am not advocating physical violence; posting week one sales of Remy's song that went on to be Grammy nominated, by the way, was not what Nicki should have been doing. She should have gone into the studio and clowned Remy to hell and back! To compound matters, Nicki went one step ahead by posting a video of Beyonce singing a song about her (Nicki) being queen of rap. At that point, I was through! I was like
Beyonce?!?!?! Really?!?! This is rap, Nicki! Beyonce's endorsements (contrary to what the Beyhive may think) does not count in rap. If Bey's husband had endorsed you, that may have carried some weight. BUT rap does not work on endorsements. If shots are fired, you better knuckle down and fire shots of your own. Jay Z was not looking for endorsements when Nas Ether'ed the life out of him. No. He RESPONDED with shots of his own in Super Ugly. Nicki also started going off on people who were mentioned in the track or thought the track was fire. Instead of responding, she was busy crawling online, liking tweets that dissed Remy Ma....standard, bubblegum rapper cop out. You either respond or you shut up and let it die down. she hasn't sent as little as a tweet to Remy Ma about this song but she had the gall to go off on Trey Songz who told her to get mad at Remy Ma and rightly so. Her Barbz are claiming she's taking the high road, but she really isn't. She's throwing rocks and hiding her hands. She does not possess the bars or streets to stand toe to toe with Remy Ma, in my opinion. If she does come for Remy Ma, what would happen next would be termed a corpse mutilation because Remy Ma already killed her with Shether. And I think Remy Ma is praying to God that Nicki does come for her so she can, in mortal kombat parlance "finish her!!!"
Will this damage Nicki's career? Hell no. Her fans are some of what make me the saddest about the ruination of the hip hop culture. They are not fans of the music but fans of the persona/multiple personalities gimmick. However, for the real hip hop heads (who are not exactly her target demography tbh) her street cred is in straight shambles! How does someone come so hard for you and you are sending out tweets about Beyonce calling you queen of rap? You better have several seats! She can't front so hard on anyone in the industry ever again. She'll be reminded of how Remy dissed her and she didn't say pim. So it affects her in a way. She's not the boss B she always claims. Remy came with the skills and showed that you can't be complacent. While an alter ego is great, it can't be all you are about because it won't really stand the test of time when people come to test you and come to test your skills. As far as I am concerned, Remy Ma spartan kicked Nicki Minaj in the chest and took her crown.
Personally, I am really glad that we are taking it back to the old school. I know that after 'Pac and Biggie, no one would take it to the extreme and get killed over a rap beef. These ones like life and money more than respect, it seems. But it is great for the culture to hear intelligent bars once again; bars that make you think and creep up on you while you're washing plates or something. I am impressed. I've been checking out Remy's new music and so far, so good. I am happy for a change to come in the female rap game. Representation matters and it is great for a skilled and beautiful rapper to provide a foil to whatever Nicki Minaj is selling and representing. I hope Remy Ma finally gets her shot at real commericla success. And what a way to start! What a way to freaking start!!
So did you get into this whole drama? What are your thoughts on Shether? Were you able to attend Nicki Minaj's cremation service? Do you think Remy Ma went too hard or was it just about right? Talk to me.