This is a little story that must be told, about how Remy Ma buried herself before her “ShETHER” was 6 days old.
Let’s back up a bit before we discuss what could be a collapse worse than the Falcons shriveling up against the Patriots and the Warriors epic 3-1 failure. To be honest, this was like a 3-0 lead after “ShETHER” before Reminisce Mackie shot herself in the foot because she couldn’t keep her ego in check. But I digress…
A clash between Nicki Minaj and Remy Ma felt inevitable after Remy was released from prison after six years. With the landscape of mainstream female emcees dryer than the Sahara desert (which is strange given the fact that emcees like Rapsody should have permeated the mainstream), Minaj was able to run roughshod over every award show that had a trophy for women in rap.
For whatever reason, we’re still in the strange space where two top shelf women in hip-hop cannot coexist. Beef between the best women in rap is a rule that has yet to be broken. Just ask Foxy Brown and Lil Kim. But there are other things that cannot be explained such as how Remy Ma managed to appear on Love & Hip Hop and leave virtually unscathed after two seasons. Now, that’s an accomplishment.
Although much of Nicki Minaj’s rise came while Remy Ma was behind bars, there was a time when a Nicki vs. Remy feud was teased after the release of Nicki Minaj’s “Dirty Money” freestyle from her 2007 mixtape “Playtime Is Over.” This was way before anybody cared about who Nicki Minaj was.
“Tell that b*tch with the crown to run it like Chris Brown/she won three rounds, I’ma need a hundred thou/like ‘Chinatown’ b*tches better bow down/oh you ain’t know, betcha b*tches know now/f*ck I got a gun let her know that I’m the one.”
Remy allegedly confronted Nicki at an industry party but never got a real answer. In a 2010 interview, Remy Ma made it very clear that she was going to eventually respond to the jab and be a “problem” for Minaj once she was released from prison. Keep in mind that Remy treats everything as a competition and doesn’t really take anything personal. She makes it a point in that same interview to say that it is about being the best and responding when you feel that someone is coming for your neck.
“To this day I think that (‘Dirty Money’) was a stab at me,” Remy said. “I’m going to get you back for that, by the way.”
With Remy Ma incarcerated, Nicki swiftly ascended the ladder with stellar outings on songs like Kanye West’s “Monster” where she demonstrated that she had bars. All the while, Nicki had her sights set on becoming a pop star. It was during this time where Nicki drifted away from her rap roots with songs like “Starships.” Criticism was circulating from a number of rap circles as she effectively morphed into the female version of Ja Rule while Remy was taking notes and loading her clip for when the time came that she could take aim at the crown that was perched on Nicki’s colorful wig.
Everyone was curious about Remy’s return to the game. Six years away was quite a long time to the point where she had to reintroduce herself to an audience and play catch-up as with the industry undergoing a makeover in her absence. But her moves have been impressively calculated. This was damn near Game of Thrones territory of setting up the chess pieces properly while laying the bait down at the right place and at the right time when her opponent was at her weakest.
A press run shortly after her release in August of 2014 found Remy speaking glowingly about her soon-to-be adversary and told Hot 97 about a private conversation between the two female emcees. But a year later, Remy began to poke at Nicki on a freestyle over “Truffle Butter” in March of 2015 where she spit: “People keep saying, ‘Rem, you need to drop a record’/I’m like in a minute let me body b*tch’s records.”
But just a year later, Remy and Nicki were exchanging pleasantries over Twitter after Nicki took home another BET Female Rapper of the Year award. It wasn’t time yet.
There was almost two years of silence, and then things started to get interesting.
Nicki Minaj flexed that she wasn’t ready to “pass the baton” on “Don’t Hurt Me” with the line “All these b*tches tryna fit my crown and my wand/B*tches still my sons, get your sonogram on.”
Silence again. Perhaps Remy realized that she hadn’t quite made herself relevant enough. She continued to wait.
After the announcement that Fat Joe and Remy Ma would be releasing Plata O Plomo, Remy sent a subliminal that could only be meant for one person on “Money Showers.”
“B*tch claiming she the queen, what? Not hardly/Who the fuck gave you your crown, b*tch? Steve Harvey?”
With Nicki Minaj’s silence, coupled with Remy having the hottest single of the summer with “All The Way Up,” it was game on.
That same month, Nicki’s verse on the remix of Rae Sremmurd’s “Black Beatles” dropped where it sounded like she was referring to her private conversation with Remy Ma. Whether this was a direct response or something Nicki had cooked up earlier is unknown. But it is clear that these two are on a collision course. It was a collision course that Remy carefully set up over the past few years. It was evident that Nicki Minaj was at her weakest while Remy was at her strongest.
Remy let loose some not so thinly veiled bars on the remix of Phresher’s “Wait A Minute” and everyone knew who she was talking about.
“Will I smoke this b*tch? Yes/Probably fail my piss test/Get rid of those fake breasts/And put a vest on this b*tch chest,” she rapped.
Nobody needed to question if there was beef as Remy dropped the seven-minute verbal attack that we all know now as “ShETHER.” The Internet was turned upside down by Remy’s assault that wasted nothing and came for everything. This was downright disrespectful and would be difficult for Nicki to come back from considering the range of insults that Remy Ma fired in her direction. Everything hit with brute force and left Nicki spiraling. Her advances toward being a pop star loosened her grip on hip hop credibility and Remy had never wavered from wanting that top spot.
If she wanted to pry the crown from Nicki’s kung fu grip, this was her chance. For the most part, social media swiftly toe tagged Nicki Minaj while a small section waited for a response.
An admittedly lame Instagram response where Nicki leaned on album sales was damn near her waving the white flag in defeat because, as anybody knows, when your only defense is sales, you don’t have much to stand on.
Six days passed and with every hour that went by, Nicki’s credibility took a hit. Like the Atlanta Falcons, all Remy had to do was play defense if Nicki decided to respond. But, just like the Falcons, Remy decided that one of the most vicious salvos in recent battle rap memory wasn’t good enough and went back on the offensive.
Remember how everyone yelled at their televisions for the Falcons to stop throwing the ball and protect the lead against the Patriots at Super Bowl 51? Well, nobody told Remy about how the Falcons persistence of gunning for more points would eventually become their undoing. For whatever reason, Remy decided that it would be best to go back in the booth and diss Nicki Minaj again with “Another One.”
Not only was “Another One” relatively lame, it was desperate. Remy had the perfect formula with “ShETHER” by taking the instrumental to Nas’ classic firestarter, giving it a feminine title and unload a relentless clip of barbs into the plastic body of the Barbie.
Nothing else needed to be said or done until Nicki responded. Remy could have rested on her laurels knowing that she hit her opponent so hard that they couldn’t recover. And when you’re embarrassed like Nicki was, fans don’t forget.
If Remy was taking notes from Drake’s feud with Meek Mill, there are a few things of significance that she should have taken into consideration. For one, Meek opened that can of worms by suggesting that Drake had a ghostwriter. Secondly, and most important, “Charged Up” didn’t hit all that hard. It was “Back to Back” that sent the Internet spiraling. That was a soft jab followed by a wicked knockout punch. Remy already landed a knockout punch and it was up to Nicki Minaj to respond.
With “Another One” being panned by damn near everyone, there is an opening for Nicki to respond. And now she can focus on how underwhelming and desperate “Another One” is. It’s now a sore area that she can use as a point of weakness when Remy didn’t have one before.
We’ve never had a rap battle where an emcee becomes their own worst enemy, until now. She did everything right over the past decade to put herself in position to unseat Nicki Minaj. And all she had to do was sit back and relax. At the very worst, she could have poked at Nicki on social media rather than opening the door for a comeback by dropping a subpar second song. As a rule, you don’t give your opponent opportunities to respond and “Another One” was all the opportunity that Nicki Minaj needed to get back in the game.
This one isn’t quite over but we’re going to find out if Remy Ma is about to blow a 3-1 series or a 21-3 halftime lead because her ego got the best of her. She went from delivering one of the most potent blows in rap battle history to being on the verge of the most epic collapse in battle rap history without her opponent ever dropping a song.
With such a calculated approach, it would be awful to see it all go up in smoke because Remy Ma couldn’t contain herself.
Mike Tyson said it best: “Everyone has a game plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
But what happens when you punch yourself in the mouth?