Rap rivalry is older than the genre of rap itself. Before MCs started dissin’ each other on wax, kids was playing the dozens in the playground with FUNK in the background. Back in the day, circa 1984, U.T.F.O. released the single “Hanging Out.” Produced by Full Force, the track didn’t hit, but the B-Side did! It was “Roxanne, Roxanne,” a song about a girl that wouldn’t give them the time of day. Fortunately for all lady MCs, it got a ton of radio airplay.
Lolita Shanté Gooden of Queensbridge, New York became the first female MC of note at age 14. She was walking through the hood one day, when she heard radio disc-jockey, the late Tyrone Williams aka “Mr. Magic” and legendary DJ / Producer Marley Marl, talking. U.T.F.O. had canceled their appearance at a show they were promoting, Gooden offered to make a record that would get back at them, and the rest is hip-hop history. Lolita took on the name Roxanne Shante, combining the name from U.T.F.O.’s hit and her middle name. Marley produced “Roxanne’s Revenge,” taking the original beats from “Roxanne, Roxanne.” It sold over 250,000 copies in the New York area alone. Legal action followed, and it was re-released in early 1985 with new and cleaner lyrics. U.T.F.O and Full Force then released their own answer record to their “Roxanne, Roxanne.” It wasn’t exactly directed at Roxanne Shanté, and featured Adelaida Martinez, who took on the moniker “The Real Roxanne.” A ton of Roxanne(s) wannabes followed — it was a Roxanne nightmare for years, each of the original “Roxanne’s” constantly having to show and prove. Then finally, some girls decided to use different names, go figure. GAME ON!!! Salt n Pepa, Queen Latifah, MC Lyte (my favorite), Antoinette, The Sequence (feat. Angie Stone), Finesse & Synquis, H.W.A., Isis, Lady B, Lady Bug (of Digable Planets), Nikki D, ladies just started putting their cards on the table. As the genre of rap evolved and hip-hop became a household word, more female MCs kept coming. There’s DaBrat, Bahamadia, Neneh Cherry, Rah Digga, Lauryn Hill, J. J. Fad, Monie Love, Remy Ma, Lady of Rage, Mia X, Rasheeda, Left-Eye of TLC and Yo-Yo, just to name a few.
Hip-Hop is now Pop Culture. Queen Latifah is an Oscar nominated actress and singing these days. Missy Elliott is a Grammy Award winning producer and Eve scored a television show and has her own clothing line. Even radio personality Angie Martinez dropped a couple of CDs. We’ve come a long way baby (can I mention I’m watching “Thelma & Louise” as I’m writing this). As more females began to spit on the mic, rap beefs between femme fatales ensued. Those that made the most impact were MC Lyte VS. Antoinette; Lil’ Kim VS. Foxy Brown (who were actually going to do an album together); Khia VS. Trina; and Jaki-O VS. Foxy Brown.
In the midst of hip-hop history for female rap rivalry, Roxanne Shante made a comeback in 1991, dropping a track that took on all of the female MCs of the day — Queen Latifah, Mc Lyte, Yo Yo, Salt-N-Pepa… er’body, No Holds Barred. Titled “Big Mama,” The Urban Daily calls it a precursor to the present day Lil’ Kim/ Nicki Minaj beef. Check out some of the lyrics: “Cause Shanté ain’t about no games/Matter of fact, yo, I’ma start callin off names. First up there’s Latifah/You roll up, and I’ma smoke that ass like reefer…I’ma rip you and your girl Monie/ You’re illegitimate, tryin to get a little bit And I’m about sick of that ‘Monie-in-the-middle’-shit.” Enter present day…. Since Lil’ Kim’s return to the streets after being a guest of the state, she’s kept a relative low profile. Her appearance on “Dancing wit the Stars” was supported by all lovers of hip-hop, and fans of the diva have been hoping for some new music. The rap genre was void a female presence, then along comes Nicki. Liken to Kim as part of Junior Mafia and Foxy Brown of The Firm, Nicki is down with Young Money. I didn’t even think the “beef” would last this long when I first saw a YouTube video of Lil’ Kim doggin’ out Nicki at a club in Queens months ago. Especially since it appeared to me that Nicki was essentially emulating Kim’s style – paying homage.
One of the baddest chicks to ever rock a mic, that barely gets any light is Shawnna. The daughter of legendary blues artist Buddy Guy, I first saw her perform on stage in M.I.A. with Ludacris years ago. Shawnna shared her thoughts on Hip Hop Blog.com, she says: “I hate that, and I’m glad you asked me that because I feel what Kim did was iconic in a certain sense,” Shawnna told DJ Vlad when asked about the beef.
“She came, she brought that feminism, that diva to it but it was still hardcore. She had a following, she could hold her weight on records with some of the big dogs and she did that. She took us to that level. And now that Nicki’s out — a lot of times it be a lot of people trying to get on, it’s not necessarily a beef — so I don’t really think it’s a situation where Nicki stole anything from Kim because honestly, after I’m done with this, I want females to take from me. Take from what I did and add it to what they do and make it better because that shows what I contributed to the game was so worth it. It lives my legacy on. And I wish they would have looked at it like that rather than make it a beef situation.”
In the vein of “The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre,” Lil’ Kim dropped her latest mixtape “Black Friday” last Monday (February 14th). The cover features a decapitated Nicki Minaj look-a-like. According to Billboard, the “Black Friday” video finds ‘Kimmy Blanco’ cruising the streets of Jamaica, Queens, in search of Minaj and features a Nicki Minaj look-a-like. The clip ends with a message directed at Nicki scrolling down from the top of the screen: “It is better to fail in originality, than to succeed in imitation…. period.” — Michael Jackson (The King of Pop).” Lil’ Kim says the mixtape sold more than 113,000 copies through PayPal in 28 hours, setting an all-time record. Via Twitter she wrote: “Thanks to you guys!! #lilkimblackfridaymixtape sold 113,000 copies in 28 hours which made me the #1 seller on paypal ever =) THANK U!” Kim tweeted, later stating she crashed the money transfer site due to “too many hits.” Instead of giving the mixtape away for free, “Black Friday” is selling for $10 a copy. If the numbers are right, it’s a step up for Kim. Her 2005 release, “The Naked Truth,” sold 109,000 copies across the US in its first week, according to Nielsen Soundscan. To Kim’s tweet Nicki replied: “Bwaahhhhahhahahahahahahhahahhhaaahhhhhaaahahahahhhaha!!!!!!!! *lifeless* *leaves on stretcher* *cant go on*,” Minaj commented. “The devil is a liar.” Minaj’s own album, “Pink Friday,” topped the Billboard 200 chart last week (February 19th).
Kim later shot back by tweeting, “#twitterbeef This is not beef. Real beef is when someone gets shot 5 minutes later. CHILD PLEASE!!! #toomanytwittergangstas #teamlil kim LEGO.” Lil’ Kim’s diss track “Pissin On Em,” a remake of Minaj’s own “Sh*tted On Em,” preceded the release of the mixtape, check it out:
Nicki Minaj has thanked fans for supporting her debut album Pink Friday. The rapper sold over 375,000 copies of the record in the first week of its release – a success she compared to Lauryn Hill’s 1998 debut The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. “I’m just so grateful and kind of still in shock. These numbers haven’t been put up since 1998,” she told MTV News. “It just makes me feel proud of my team, proud of my fans, everyone who has had something to do with my dreams. Finally, we are seeing this dream come to fruition. It feels incredible.” Minaj added that the album’s popularity with fans has given her a new freedom to push herself further as an artist. “Now I can promote the body of work,” she said. “I feel like I gave birth to my baby, now I’m gonna teach it how to walk and how to talk and spoil the baby.” Nicki did an interview with Angie Martinez:
Nicki picks up her first chart-topper on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs with “Moment 4 Life,” featuring Drake, as the song steps up 2-1 in its 12th week (36.5 million listener impressions, up 7%, according to Nielsen BDS). The milestone comes just over a month after the rapper’s debut album “Pink Friday” skipped its way to No. 1 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart in its seventh week and a week after it overtook the top of the Billboard 200 in its 11th week on that chart. After 11 weeks of release, Minaj’s, Pink Friday, hit the number one spot on the Billboard 200 albums chart, selling a grand total of 1,035,000!
Before this week’s jump on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop songs, Minaj had posted an impressive 15 tracks on the list dating back to her 2009 debut “I Get Crazy,” featuring Lil’ Wayne, which peaked at No. 37. She peaked as high as No. 2 twice with her guest spots on Ludacris’ “My Chick Bad” and Trey Songz’ “Bottoms Up” last year. Minaj is now the first female rapper to top the chart since Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott’s “Work It” spent 5 weeks at number-one in 2002.
On the “beef,” fellow Young Money rap star Drake had this to say: “I feel like Lil’ Kim is a G in the game. I feel like you’re a part of an era that’s classic, that we’ll never forget as young kids, me and Nick,” he said of his Young Money family member. “You don’t have to do that. You don’t have to get onstage and tell people to pay homage; that’s a given. I’ve watched Nicki pay homage time and time again. I didn’t respect [Kim’s comments] at all. Whoever else was onstage with her, I didn’t respect that at all. You just wearing your heart on your sleeve. You’re showing that you’re upset. Nobody’s done that to me yet. I would never expect Jay or ‘Ye to get onstage and be like, ‘Pay homage to me. You need to respect me.’ They know they command my respect with their music and talent. I feel that’s signs you’re just losing it. I really did take that personally. That bothered me. I really don’t get caught up with the Twitter and Internet stuff, but I did see it. And I feel like you’re supposed to be a G. That just wasn’t G to me at all.”
In 1997, Lil’ Kim, Angie Martinez, Da Brat, Left Eye and Missy Elliott all teamed up for the rap re-make of “Ladies Night.” The song was a hit for FUNK legends Kool and the Gang at the on-set of the R&B/ Pop leg of their career. Sisters were united, Mary J. Blige, Chilli & T-Boz of TLC and Maia Campbell all did cameos in the video, for the track that was featured on the “Nothing To Lose” movie soundtrack.
A rapper no stranger to “beef,” Trina had this to say:
A few words from Redman:
Lil’ Kim’s career ain’t over til’ it’s over. While heads are wondering why there’s a “beef” at all. Kim has repositioned herself in the game of hip-hop. At the end of the day, “beef” sells records. If Kim had not picked a feud with Nicki, would she be getting any attention right now? Back in the day, Kim did a very stylized photo taken by David LaChapelle, ala Louis Vuitton. The shot was very sexy, displaying Kim’s slave to fashion and branding. In an interesting twist, this past “Black Friday,” November 26, 2010, Nicki introduced her “Pink Friday” lipstick via M.A.C. cosmetics to coincide with the release of her CD of the same name. The lipstick was on shelves for a limited time. These girls know how to play and put their anatomical virtues on display. Anyone who gets to have their time in the limelight, pretty much gets their 15 minutes, so what’s the “beef”?
for the FUNKIN’ Love of the Female MC