Nicki Minaj's Waiting Game
Sometimes when confronted by an adversary or problem, the best thing one can do is wait it out.
When Remy Ma on February 25, 2017 released "Shether" a scathing diss track directed at Nicki Minaj, it became the talk of the music industry and everyone wanted to know: What will Nicki Minaj say?
As the days passed by, "What will Nicki Minaj say?" quickly turned into "Is Nicki Minaj going to say anything at all?"
During the time when everyone was waiting to hear Nicki Minaj's response she was in France for Paris Fashion Week.
Many had an opinion of what they thought Nicki Minaj should do and it mostly boiled down to either Nicki Minaj should respond with her own diss track or she should say nothing.
Those that supported Nicki Minaj argued that Remy Ma, a star in her own right but one who was nowhere near as famous as Minaj would only benefit from this rap fight from the exposure. So it cannot be entirely forgotten that one strategy Nicki Minaj had was to not respond at all. The move would have been outlandishly haughty, but Minaj a global superstar could arguably have attempted this tactic albeit it would have been looked down upon by the traditionalists of hip hop who feel no person is too big a star to not participate in a rap battle. Minaj's younger fans who care less about street credibility and more about the lifestyle side to her brand would have likely accepted this strategy on her part.
There were many different reasons why people felt Nicki Minaj should respond. Some felt Nicki Minaj had been insulted and should use her rap skills to defend herself, her honor, and her self appointed title as the "Queen of Rap." Some felt after years of Minaj building herself up to be "street tough" it would be curious to see how she would do against a formidable opponent such as Remy Ma. Then there were others, who didn't care much either way but were loving the old school rap battle and were craving "bars."
As the days continued to go by more and more pictures of Nicki Minaj attending various Paris Fashion Week shows continued to make the rounds on social media, including a short clip of Minaj at a club, playfully singing the words to a Drake song about enemies trying to "end them," and with that hope that Minaj would respond started dwindling.
Could it be true, is Nicki Minaj not bothered?
The answer to that question was soon answered when on March 10, 2017 Nicki Minaj released '3 Pack from Paris'-and yes she was very much bothered.
One of the three songs released from the '3 Pack from Paris' was "No Frauds" which contained Minaj's verse that was almost entirely dedicated to Remy Ma.
After almost two weeks of waiting for Minaj's response, her lyrics were met with tepid reviews. Minaj's bars were not bad, but in comparison to "Shether's" non-stop cleverness of words and how personal and professionally damaging Remy Ma's attacks had been, "No Frauds" fell noticeably short. Especially considering all the time it took Minaj to release it when it only took Remy Ma two days to create "Shether."
Notably in "No Frauds" and in real life Minaj argues she is better than Remy Ma because of her larger wealth and music sales, and her ability to make hits. Framing her argument against Remy Ma almost entirely on money only hurt Minaj because "Shether" was about putting aside all the bells and whistles behind the heavily tweaked songs of modern music production and refocusing on the quality of lyrics and rap skills. To make matters worse, "No Frauds" debuted at number 14 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, but dropped 70 spots the next week until it was off the chart entirely.
We will never know, whether Nicki Minaj would have been better served having not responded at all. But, a lesson to be learned from Minaj's situation is if you are going to wait to challenge an opponent, especially in an industry such as the music industry where image is practically everything, you better combat your opponent with an equal or greater force to the blow you have been dealt.
Since early March 2017 when "No Frauds" was released, Nicki Minaj has continued to maintain publicly that she is not bothered by "Shether" though looking into her lyrics on Katy Perry's "Swish, Swish":
"silly rap beefs just get me more checks..."
It is hard to believe that Minaj has entirely moved on from the takedown Remy Ma put in place in late February 2017.
Now we find ourselves months after "Shether" in its short moment in time blazed through the media burning one person with all its might. The ashes "Shether" left in its wake have settled, and it seems much has changed for Minaj. For starters she was by almost all media surveys declared the looser of her rap battle with Remy Ma, and with that her street credibility has been given a deafening blow to it's core. Secondly, Minaj's dominant streak as the only big time female hip hop artist has come to an end, because one of the things "Shether" did was to question why people should support Minaj. Lastly, if there was any doubt Remy Ma won both the battle and the war, she single handedly brought to an end Nicki Minaj's seven year in a row winning streak for Best Female Hip Hop Artist at the BET Awards.
Sometimes a famous individual can choose to wait to attack an opponent and defend themselves publicly at a later time when they are ready. Ironically as an example, Nas who is the original artist that used the music employed in Remy Ma's "Shether" waited about a year to release his diss track against Jay-Z titled "Ether." Nas' strategy to wait before attacking did not work for Minaj because of the nature of Remy Ma's attacks that were savagely insulting and equally important Remy Ma's accusations came off as well documented facts lending an air to her lyrics of being factual, although no one knows that to be true.
When people on social media are planning your funeral because your opponent has symbolically murdered you, your former lover is affirming allegations that harm your reputation on The Wendy Williams show, another rapper has to take it upon herself to respond for you, and the very opponent who "murdered" you will not speak against you any longer because her grandmother told her "to never speak ill of the dead," it might be time to focus on the timing and quality of your response. Even if in the future Minaj releases a true diss track, one dedicated entirely to Remy Ma and performed by just herself, it might too late.
Nicki Minaj lost this battle for failing to see that this moment in her career was bigger than making a hit. This moment was about securing her legacy in the world of hip hop. It will be curious to see the future of Nicki Minaj's lyrics because lines such as "all these b*****s is my sons," are likely not going to have the impact they once used to.