Cardi B vs. Nicki Minaj

Yes, I realise the controversy you are about to be privy to, even with the title alone. But this post is something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while now, way before the incident at New York Fashion week (in which I was riding for Cardi B all the way, by the way). I’ve had this all on my mind pretty much since Cardi released her album in Invasion of Privacy in April, and then I thought I’d save it until Nicki’s album Queen dropped, which was originally due to be released in June. Of course, in hindsight, it’s a good thing it didn’t come out then. The initial release date was Friday 15th June, however The Carters ended up surprising us all with the release of Everything Is Love on Saturday 16th June, which would have made Queen completely irrelevant had it ended up coming out when it was meant to. I reckon Nicki heard a tip off and then decided to push the date back, thinking “Bey and Jay are not going to be right behind me!” A wise decision. Anyway, there was talk of Queen being pushed back again a second time from Friday 10th August to Friday 17th, however it did end up being released on the 10th. I listened to the full album on the day, as I did with Cardi’s album.

When listening to Invasion of Privacy, my first thoughts when hearing Cardi’s first track, Get Up 10, was “Wow is that Cardi B spitting that fire!?” The thing is, I knew of Cardi’s abilities as a rapper even before Bodak Yellow. I watched Love & Hip Hop New York, and what with her raw humour and unwavering confidence, she was definitely one of my favourite characters. Then I saw her do an interview on The Breakfast Club and she was mainly talking about her experience as a female rapper trying to make it. Although I knew she was rapper from watching Love & Hip Hop, I’m not going to lie, I very rarely took the music from the artists on the shows very seriously. I was a viewer of all Love & Hip Hops strictly for the ratchet entertainment, so most of the time I wouldn’t even do my own research to find out for myself if their music was good. This really is a shame, and of course the rise of Cardi B has shown me that you should never underestimate artists and their craft simply because of the type of the platform they might be on. Although I have done my due diligence on other artists from the show since then, such as Mariahlynn and Dream Doll, and they are certainly no Cardi. I don’t think much of Mariahlynn and Dream Doll is okay at best. However that doesn’t mean that other good artists cannot emerge from the same platform. But, I digress.

So it was only when I was watching Cardi’s interview on The Breakfast Club back in 2016, and I was hearing Charlamagne and DJ Envy say that people do underestimate her, possibly due to her unique way of speaking, but she really is a good rapper. It was only then that I really became interested, and looked up her latest mixtape at the time, Gangsta Bitch Music, Vol. 1. I don’t think I really listened to the whole thing, but there was definitely some tracks that stood out for me, such as On Fleek, Washpoppin and a couple of separate single of hers like Cheap Ass Weave and Stripper Hoe. This was when I first knew that Cardi was about it. Her flow was so fluid and precise and she rides the beat effortlessly. Regarding her content, she is pure Cardi. She does not try and be anything else, and it is so marvellously raw and real.
This is exactly how I felt when listening to Invasion of Privacy, but ten times more. I was sold as soon as I heard Drip, which was only the second track. It’s crazy to think that a few days before the album was released, I was slightly worried that Bodak Yellow and Bartier Cardi were so good that a whole album just would not match up in comparison. However, as soon as I finished listening to the album (which, by the way, was on a late shift at work. I give zero fucks), the first thought that entered my mind was “That was pure fire, and I will never doubt Cardi again”.

When hearing Queen on 10th August, also coincidentally on a late shift at work, I initially thought my opinion on it would be very similar. I liked Ganja Burns, which was the first song on the album. I really liked the second song, Majesty, and I loved the third song, Barbie Dreamz. I was thinking, “Hey, I’m loving this. Off to a good start.” But then after that, I didn’t really feel a dislike for the songs that followed, but I didn’t really love them either. My initial review was that about 70% of the album was okay, but for Nicki Minaj’s standard it was pretty disappointing. I listened to it again for a second time, and I felt a little better about a couple of the songs, however the diagnosis was still disappointing overall. But I think what helped is that I had started listening to Queen Radio, and of course Nicki only really plays her own songs with her self-obsessed self, particularly the ones off her new album. Although I guess the Barbs do demand it via social media, so fair enough. A few of the songs started to grow on me the more I heard them. I guess because Nicki is such a hard lyricist, you have to really listen to some songs a couple of times before you can really appreciate it’s brilliance. So upon reflection now, Nicki has her faults but she sure as hell has not lost her fire in the booth. Yes, that was a pun.

So talent-wise, Nicki definitely dominates Cardi as a lyricist. I don’t think I can really say there is a female rapper that can spit better than her, and not even that many male rappers releasing music right now. However because Nicki has different vibes and moods with her music, not every song really appeals to me. But I like every single track on Invasion of Privacy, and that is very rare for me. There have been so many fantastic albums released this year, but the only three in which I like every single song on it is Invasion of Privacy, Everything Is Love and Carter V. Cardi B is also much more approachable as a personality. Both women have worked incredibly hard, so I am not taking that away from Nicki in any way, however Cardi regularly talks about her struggle from her childhood, to the strip club to where she is now. Her album makes you want to dance, cry, laugh and turn up all the same time, and I don’t think there are many artists that can do that. She leaves all her dedication and hard work in her pen, and I just feel as if Nicki holds back a bit. This is her fourth album, and she still hasn’t really rapped about anything real. This goes for her videos as well. They are just more of the same; her latest one Barbie Dreamz was extremely disappointing. I actually got so bored and kind of stopped paying attention halfway through, which should not be a reaction to a Nicki Minaj music video.

Although I wanted to make this mainly about comparing the two icons and their music, I do have to touch on the fact that Nicki Minaj is unfortunately not someone I feel that I can look up to as a woman. She has come for Cardi B on several occasions, and thinks she can get out of it because she’s clever enough not to make a clear, black-and-white diss that somebody can quote her on. But if you listen to her music, and are familiar with the history of both artists, Nicki can cop the plea all she wants but there are certain lines she says in a few of her songs where she is blatantly speaking on Cardi. I’m not saying that the way Cardi reacted at New York Fashion Week was the right answer, but at the same time you cannot continuously bate somebody and then be horrified at the reaction they choose to give you. If you don’t want smoke, then why are you bringing the heat? And let’s be real, we all know that Cardi is that bitch. So I don’t quite understand why people were shocked when all she did was prove that she’s not all talk. As Remy Ma said on State of the Culture, Joe Budden’s new show where she sits on the panel as a co-host, she was throwing shoes on Love & Hip Hop literally two years ago.

Speaking of which, Nicki responded with petty shade on Queen Radio a couple of days later, and one of the many things she mentioned was that she would never talk about somebody’s child or their skills as a mother (which was the final straw that threw Cardi over the edge and led to shoe-throwing the incident). Well, I know for a fact that this isn’t true because she clearly disses Remy Ma and indicates that she is a bad mother on her song, No Frauds. Of course she doesn’t mention her by name, but the appearance of Remy’s ex-friend Rah Ali in the music video makes it pretty obvious who the shade was directed towards. So essentially, what I’m trying to say is that Nicki acts as if that she isn’t an instigator, but she clearly is. There are also rumours from other female artists, not just Cardi, who have said that Nicki has literally tried to stop them from working with certain artists or not being attendance at award shows. Of course, this is probably something that we, as the public, will never know for sure.

So to conclude, both women are incredibly successful at this moment in time, and rightly so. Nicki Minaj is undoubtedly the better lyricist, however, in my opinion, Cardi’s last body of work easily surpassed Nicki’s. Cardi has really only just gotten started, so there’s no telling what she will bring the table next. However I am definitely looking for something more out of Nicki. We get it: you have a big fat ass, titties, money, haters and you love the dick. What else do you have to say?
With regards to this Nicki/Cardi beef, the only thing I would say Cardi is really guilty of is letting people’s comments get to her too easily. However, as this is something I have been guilty of on several occasions, I completely understand that brushing certain things off can be much easier said than done. I’ve loved Cardi since Love & Hip Hop, and regardless of her limits being pushed, that hasn’t changed. We are only human after all, and for the majority of us, talking about people’s children is usually their trigger, regardless of whether you are a celebrity or not. On the other hand, Nicki is extremely clever and calculating. She knows exactly how to push people’s buttons in the perfect way for them to react, but also leaving her able to hold up her hands and say that people are “bullying her” and “calling her that bad guy”. Nicki, I love you but knock it off. We see you. I just hope that she can finally calm down at some point, stop with the antics and allow us to simply focus on her music and everything we really love about Nicki Minaj.

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