How Remy Ma Won
We see all types of battles happening in society. Whether between people, businesses, or in the social media realm, if you want to be on top you have to fight for it. Most of the time we know who will win. The person with more money or fame, the company with a higher stock value, or the Twitter account with more followers. But, every so often there is a surprise. And, the person whom we all thought would or should win doesn't. No greater example of this in recent history is the rap battle victory of Remy Ma via diss track "Shether" over Nicki Minaj.
In February, Remy Ma released "Shether" an eye opening, scathing, hold-on-to something as you listen, diss track against Nicki Minaj. In the year 2017 the clear winner should have been Nicki Minaj, an artist who has single-handedly become the face of rap because for the past seven years almost anytime one heard a rap song with a female rapper it was Nicki Minaj. If it was a female rapper feauture it was Nicki. If it was a female rap callaboration it was Nicki. If it was a rap song by a lead rap artist it was Nicki. It seemed it was Nicki's rap world and no other female rappers were invited.
But, it was not always this way.
Remy Ma had been a prominent member of the Terror Squad group and a notable rapper almost a decade before. As Remy's star was beginning to rise everything changed for her when an incident between her and a friend led to her incarceration for six years. In 2014, when Remy Ma was released she staged a come back, and during this time, old rivalries with Nicki Minaj slowly began to surface.
Nicki Minaj released more than one song that had a veiled insult that many believed to be about Remy Ma. To respond to this, Remy Ma made the decision to address Nicki Minaj, not in whispers or innuendos, but point blank.
If Remy Ma was going to try to win the battle she found herself in against Nicki Minaj on the current terms of what constitutes "winning" in 2017, she would have lost. In 2017, the music world is more than ever in a daze over any artist that has a huge social media following, real or artificially beautiful, lavishly wealthy, or if at the very least is linked to another uber famous person, then hell yes you are winning in 2017.
When Remy Ma released "Shether" it was more than just a diss track, it was a denouncement of the current metrics of success and it reminded the rap world that what truly matters beyond superficiliaties is as Remy Ma puts it "the bars" in other words the lyrics.
Before "Shether" was released, who Nicki Minaj went after in almost all her diss tracks no one truly knew with certainty as she does not refer to anyone by name. You know who didn't use that strategy? Remy Ma.
"Shether" is a non stop assault on everything related to Nicki Minaj from her body, her ex, her artistry, and very memorably her brother. "Shether" is one of the best diss records of all time, and definitely the best in recent years. As a single and diss track "Shether" wins because of how unbelievably well and witty the lyrics are and of course Remy Ma's delivery.
A few weeks after "Shether" was released Nicki Minaj released a track titled "No Frauds" which is believed to be her response to "Shether." "Shether" is many times the better record over "No Frauds," but that is not why Remy Ma won her battle against Nicki Minaj.
Remy Ma won the rap battle between her and Nicki Minaj because of the strengths of "Shether" but it was in pulling back Nicki Minaj's grip on the rap world that Remy Ma ultimately won the battle and the war. This year at the BET awards not just Remy Ma but also Cardi B, a new female rapper, were the frontrunners to win Best Female Hip Hop Artist. Someone other than Nicki Minaj winning, even last year, would have been inconcievable.
Remy Ma strategized well when it came to crafting "Shether" as unapologetically about Nicki Minaj, and not holding back the intensity of her delivery and subject matter. One crucial point where Remy Ma did unfortunately miscalculate, was in her haste to release "Shether" she failed to get proper permission to use the instrumental music to "Ether" from Universal. After "Shether" was released, because Remy Ma had not gotten proper permission she was barred from ever releasing the single for radio play, selling it, or even being able to perform it. All of this occured in a matter of days and with a snap of a finger "Shether" was gone on iTunes and other online sources.
Perhaps a testament to the strength of the blow "Shether" delivered was that it was able to do what it did in terms of ending Nicki Minaj's reign and bringing the spotlight back on Remy Ma in the small amount of time it was allowed to exist. We will never know just how big "Shether" would have gotten, it did reach the number two spot on iTunes, and had it been allowed to be played on radio it might have been succesful on the Billboard charts.
As a lesson to us all, let us remember that sometimes when you have a winning attack on an enemy, it is better to wait and make sure we have covered all our bases before making a move or else we might not be as successful as we could have been. Lastly, tell the squad to stay home, because even in 2017 bold talent needs no backing up and can still get the job done-one bar at a time.