Yes, Cardi B accidentally posted a topless pic on her Instagram story yesterday, but there’s much more shocking news to discuss. Rumours are percolating that foes-turned-frenemies (turned back to foes), Nicki Minaj and Cardi B may once again be shifting their relationship dynamic to a friendlier zone — and burying the hatchet, with a new song. The rumours are 100% unsubstantiated but please, let me live with the idea for a moment.
In case anyone forgot about the backstory behind this beef, the tension between this two talented women reached its peak during New York Fashion Week in September of 2018. The altercation left Cardi with a sizeable knot on her forehead. So prominent, it could be seen in the now iconic photographs of the rapper leaving the party barefoot, with her head held high.
Needless to say, having these two women come together on a song would surely break records (and probably the internet). We just saw “WAP” dominate Spotify, YouTube, and the music industry the world over, and that was Cardi and the up-and-coming girl. Imagine Cardi and the Queen? But before we get too excited, there’s actual no proof that this duo is dropping a collab anytime soon. We’re working off hints and rumours here. Exhibit A is this tweet from Cardi B:
She posted this after some back and forth with fans on Twitter. The topic of discussion? The friction between her fans (#Bardigang) and Nicki Minaj’s fans (the #Barbz). So what is a fan like me supposed to think when she says she’s got a new single, that could be a collaboration, and it’s going to have her fan base sick? It’s either a song with Offset or Nicki Minaj, right? The rest of the rumours hinge on a song called “Lavish” listed on the music info site Genius for a short time before being removed, and an alleged "leaked” snippet of said song has been floating around the Twitterverse. But anybody could make a page on Genius, and these days a 13 year old with a laptop and a Twitter account can trick people into believing they have an alleged “leaked” snippet.
If there does end up being some truth to this (fingers crossed!), it would be a huge moment for female rap. I believe the feud between these ladies was started by toxic fan bases more than any action or statement from either party. Obsessed and immature stans have become a cancer on the entertainment industry, especially the music business. We’ve seen the way Selena Gomez stans have treated Hailey Bieber and how Justin Bieber fans have treated Selena. Lady Gaga fans wrote fake bad reviews of Venom when it was released the same weekend as A Star Is Born. Ariana Grande fans reportedly sent messages to Pete Davidson, telling him to kill himself after his relationship with the singer ended. But most commonly the stans pit women against each other. For some reason there’s been this narrative that only one female rapper can be at the top of the charts, and even now that there’s two, the stans not only make the women at war, but they want every new female emcee to pledge allegiance to one or the other. Megan Thee Stallion addresses this in her NYT op-ed (published yesterday) about protecting Black women:
"In every industry, women are pitted against one another, but especially in hip-hop, where it seems as if the male-dominated ecosystem can handle only one female rapper at a time. Countless times, people have tried to pit me against Nicki Minaj and Cardi B, two incredible entertainers and strong women. I’m not ‘the new’ anyone; we are all unique in our own ways.”
What would make the hope of this collaboration better is if Cardi and Nicki took their journey and put that into the song. Imagine a record about healthy competition among women, and being driven to make better art because your competitor is challenging you to be your best self. It would be epic to witness them go back and forth on a track like Brandy and Monica in “The Boy Is Mine,” except the boy isn’t part of this more modern conversation. We’d get the spectacle of two titans of the music industry coming together, but after you peel back that layer there’s more to digest. If Cardi and Nicki have anything in the works, it’s going to be bigger than “WAP”; just looking at the combined metrics of their fanbases and the anticipation for such an event, but give it some substance and this moment would become its own chapter in the female rap history books.
Speaking of “WAP,” Cardi and Megan’s smash hit single is already one of the biggest songs of the year, but it won’t be competing for any Grammys this winter because it wasn’t submitted for consideration. Weirdly, it’s being reported that Cardi’s label wants to submit the song for consideration next year as part of a major push for her yet-to-be-released sophomore album. We have to wait until the 2022 Grammys to see if “WAP” gets some wet-ass-love from the academy, and I don’t like that. There have been so many accusations against Cardi’s label (Atlantic Records) when it comes to payola and other less than savoury promotional efforts. This overly strategic move leaves a bad taste in my mouth. However… if this Nicki Minaj collaboration rumour proves to have some substance and we do get the two of biggest female rappers out right now on one song, that plus “WAP” being in consideration could really shake the table at the 2022 Grammys.