Hi's Eye

Battle of the female rappers

Noelle Mesbah, Web Editor

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Coke vs. Pepsi, Marvel vs. DC, Nike vs. Adidas. And now, we have another: Nicki vs. Cardi.

Upon the release of Cardi B’s first major hit, “Bodak Yellow,” in June 2017, listeners were quick to compare her to Nicki Minaj, and suggest that Cardi B was on her way to “stealing Nicki’s throne.” But comparisons between the two aren’t fair to either artist; let’s discuss.

Nicki Minaj has been in the game for more than a decade, whereas Cardi has only just arrived. Nicki has proven herself time and time again to be one of the strongest forces in the rap game, transcending the title of female rapper to easily claim a spot as one of the best rappers of this generation. In the past decade, she has produced 88 songs in the Billboard Hot 100, 16 of which made it into the top 10. So why is she constantly being compared to other female rappers like Cardi B, who has only been making music since 2016, and hasn’t been around long enough to compete with Nicki’s range?

This isn’t to discredit Cardi B, who has already released five top 10 hits. On top of that, “Bodak Yellow” was the second solo hip-hop single by a female artist to peak at number one, 20 years after Lauryn Hill did so with “Doo Wop (That Thing).” She released two mixtapes in six months between 2016 and 2017, filled with tracks in which she speaks her truth in a familiar and unapologetically blunt style. Her bold, brash, happy-go-lucky personality has captivated people across the world, and she continues to work hard through her pregnancy, rehearsing and performing for her Coachella performance last month. While she hasn’t been making music for very long, it is clear that Cardi B has the work ethic and stamina, both of which have earned her the success she is experiencing today.

But if we focus solely on talent and artistry, Nicki takes the cake. In the beginning of her career, she was known not only for her revolutionary verse on Kanye West’s “Monster,” but also for her experimental fashion that always left the public wondering what was next. Her music has followed suit, displaying her artistic range and ability to experiment with multiple music and rap styles within single songs. Her lyrics reveal layers of thought and depth that go beyond their surface-level meaning, and the visuals she produces in her music videos expand on her abilities as an artist even further. She has also hosted a number of alter egos on her tracks, including Onika, Nicki Lewinsky and Roman Zolanski, adding another dimension to her already long list of artistic attributes.

Nicki has been a major player in the music industry for so long, showing her endurance as an artist in a male-dominated industry. She won BET’s “Best Female Rapper” award seven years in a row, and continues to be considered the “Queen of Rap” by the music industry. This has come after years of perseverance and artistic diversity that make her incomparable to anyone else in the industry.

While both rappers are putting out plenty of quality content, comparing Nicki Minaj and Cardi B’s individual talents and artistry proves to be an uneven fight. Cardi simply hasn’t displayed the range that Nicki has over her long and prosperous career. Things can change given the time, but for now Nicki Minaj remains the Queen of Rap.

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