Her antics over the weekend cemented why she’s not, and has never been, a good steward of celebrity.
This is not about Nicki Minaj’s talent.
She’s objectively a decent rapper, even if her music isn’t generally memorable and that vaunted classic album continues to evade her.
This is also not an analysis on how far artists should go in Hip-Hop beef. Hurt feelings are essentially the goal, and a bit of dirty play is expected in that competitive sport.
This is about why Nicki a terrible celebrity and has been for years.
On Friday, Nicki’s arch-rival Megan Thee Stallion released the diss track “Hiss,” which doesn’t mention Nicki by name but which folks (probably correctly) assume is an escalation of their feud. About 48 hours later, Nicki dropped “Big Foot,” a proper response to the track, which names Meg many times and has zero ambiguity or subtlety.
In the two days between the tracks, Nicki came off the hinges on Instagram Live and the former Twitter, posting and retweeting every ounce of shade she could muster toward Meg, accusing her of lying about everything except her birth date and mentioning Meg’s mother, Holly Thomas, who died from cancer in 2019.
The rant has caused many to suggest that Nicki is indulging in a substance that’s white and powdery in consistency.
Nicki acting a fool in a bubble would be no big deal if not for her fanbase, the Barbz, who for over a decade have used social media to attack her critics — often via doxxing, or releasing someone’s address and contact information on the internet.
Culture critic Kimberly Nicole Foster threatened to sue doxxers who came after her in 2022 over an unfavorable Nicki comment, and journalist Naima Cochrane tweeted this morning that she made one of the Barbz regret doxxing her.
Any argument that Nicki has nothing to do with how her fans move is patently absurd: She weaponizes her nearly 30 million X followers by tweeting and retweeting about her “enemies” – she’s so singular in this behavior that people have written essays about it. Nicki understands the cult of personality well, so by the time she finally actually asked her fans to chill out in November, it felt far too little and way too late.
(Can you imagine if Taylor Swift weaponized her fans like Nicki? The world wouldn’t be safe from 14-year-old white girls.)
As for “Big Foot,” Nicki took all of her tweets and whining on Instagram Live and turned them into the song, which…I know I wrote that this isn’t about her talent, but my god “Big Foot” is horrendous, from the beat to the bars. And she had the nerve to release an a capella version so we can all better study how awful those lyrics are.
“F*** you get shot with no scar?” Nicki asks, to the delight of tin foil hat-wearing Kevin Samuels acolytes who still insist in 2024 that Meg wasn’t shot in the foot — as, y’know, a whole-ass court case determined happened.
She also drags Meg’s deceased mother back in the mix, which is nasty work even by diss record standards. Rap beef has no “rules,” but we just know that Meg would never bring up Nicki’s father, Robert Maraj, who was killed in a Feb. 2021 hit and run. The whole thing makes “Super Ugly,” Jay-Z’s response to Nas’ “Ether” — in which he claimed to sleep with Nas’ baby mama and thus was forced by his mama to apologize to Nas — feel like a nursery rhyme in comparison.
But wait…there are more reasons to detest Nicki! There’s her tireless defense of her husband Kenneth Petty, a convicted felon currently engaged in a civil case for allegedly assaulting Jennifer Hough in 1994. Nicki and Petty allegedly intimated Hough. I get that we love who we love, but a global icon rocking with a dude who has to register as a sex offender is something else.
If you really wanna come down to Nicki’s level of petty, bring up that time she became a public health nuisance by tying the COVID-19 vaccine to some foolishness that happened to a friend of a cousin of a homeboy or something, like she has any shred of medical training.
That I’m some 700 words in and have only scratched the surface of Nicki’s bullshit is a testament to how deep it runs. She’s just another in a long line of rappers who feel threatened by losing their grip on their supremacy via of a younger, hotter artist. But her response to it is not only completely puerile, it’s also dangerous — to those who look up to her, to people she targets, and, quite possibly, to herself.