By now, every hip hop head, rap enthusiast, or casual partaker of bars has heard Remy Ma's out of nowhere diss track "Shether", which was dropped on our heads this weekend. I mean, Remy dominated my Saturday, Nicki's career, my timelines, and all the meme generators. Epic, Epic, Epic. Petty level on 1,000.
I'm still foggy on how this came to be, something about Nicki taking shots at Remy in other recent records that I probably won't listen to. I never could get into Nicki Minaj, so to start listening to her now would be disingenuous. We obviously won't know the full story. I don't have all the answers, but what we do know is that this dragging on wax, albeit brutal, has several lessons for us non-rappin' folk.
If for some reason you haven't, and you've got time to hear 7 minutes of destruction, click below.
That was a lot.
Now that we are all on the same page, let's talk about some of the life lessons/reminders that we can take away from this moment in Hip Hop Her-story.
1. Everyone who says they're your friend, is not your friend.
You know this. I know this. We all know this. Just like how the track starts with Nicki exclaiming her support for Remy Ma, ("Free Remy!!") only to toss insults at Remy who is now free and killing the game, some people are only friendly towards you when they feel that they are doing better than you. When you're on the rise, they have a problem all of a sudden. I've seen it myself.
Lesson: To have a friend, you need to be a friend. Be happy for the successes of others. Jealousy is whack.
2. Popular does not mean better.
Nicki Minaj claims to be the queen of rap because she has (to date) been the highest selling female rap artist. While this is an accomplishment in and of itself, we are reminded that McDonald's is the world's largest fast food chain. However, I wouldn't call a Big Mac a quality hamburger, and I wouldn't call Nicki Minaj a prolific rap artist. Just sayin'.
Lesson: Don't feel diminished because your accomplishments don't seem as big as others. You are you for a reason. Do you, and be the best you that you can be.
3. Acknowledge those who came before you.
No matter how "original" Nicki Minaj may be, Lil Kim did it first. From the outlandish style, to the sexy/hood persona, her rap flow, and even the Barbie get-up, all replicating the real Queen Bee. Lil Kim did it while young Onika was probably still in homeroom. Even before Kim, there was Queen Latifah, Yo-Yo, MC Lyte, Salt & Pepa, and many others who paved the way for Nicki Minaj to even be a thing. So to insinuate that others have taken her style (i.e. her beef with Iggy Azalea) or that other rappers are her "sons" is seriously side-eye worthy. Nicki, until you do right by Lil' Kim, every rhyme you think about is gonna fail!
Lesson: There is nothing new under the sun. What you have, someone laid the foundation for you to get it. You stand on the shoulders of others to reach new heights. Acknowledge and respect your predecessors, because if it had not been for their sweat, you would not be where you are today.
4. Choose your friends (and boyfriends) wisely.
Meek Mill gave up ALL the tea? All of it? I think we all saw this coming, he is a piece of work. Not much else to say about this dude.
Lesson: Be selective with who you bring into your inner circle, and even still be careful with what you disclose. Not everyone is worthy of holding your bags, let alone your secrets.
5. Build your character, guard your reputation.
I'm no slut shamer, so there's no judgement to be made there. To each his/her own. In this case, the real question of character was not so much about who slept with who, but of issues of loyalty, opportunism, influence on young women, and much more. Remy's assertions about Nicki's life choices can be debated until the cows come home. That said, this entire conflict rests on issues of character and how sometimes even with good intentions, we make bad choices. Remy is no stranger to a damaged reputation, she too dealt with the consequences of her actions. It can also be argued that by airing out Nicki's personal business, Remy is showing bad character as well...
But Nicki started it.
Lesson: As we continue on our journey, we should always try to do what is right, be good to those on our way, and be thankful for each opportunity. Tides change and the road will be rough at times, but just try to do the best you can, as often as you can.