When I heard direct shots cast at Remy Ma on Gucci Mane & Nicki’s reconciliatory collab “Make Love”, three words immediately came to mind: are you dumb?
Apparently Remy felt similarly - and on Saturday, February 25, 2017 at 1:03 PM EST, one Onika Tanya Maraj got her entire life snatched in just under 7 minutes by the Queen of Castle Hill, Reminisce Mackie, in a comprehensive takedown that was the result of a decade of tension by arguably two of the most visible female rappers today.
My love for Remy is no secret. I’ve stanned for her since she came on the scene on Big Pun’s Yeah Baby with the underrated track "Ms. Martin", and followed that up in the same year with the "Ante Up Remix" – a song that is permanently on my gym playlist (as is the "Girlfight" remix). I still toe whop to "Whuteva" when the mood strikes. Just a couple months ago, I flawlessly performed the seminal classic "Conceited" during a lipsync/karaoke challenge.
I was verklempt when she was sentenced to 8 years for exacting street justice against a girlfriend who robbed her, and still wonder what would have been her career trajectory if she hadn’t been robbed of her momentum on the heels of two hit singles. I’m sure this is something Nicki wonders as well – when Remy went in to do her bid, the two were publicly squabbling over what Remy perceived to be a shot at her on a freestyle.
As the years passed, it seemed that both women had decided to leave their bygones behind with their curly weave/straight bang pack hair combo and remain cordial. Nicki catapulted to superstardom, going from recording freestyles on project staircases to becoming a pop crossover sensation in the houses of high school fans everywhere - bye bye, "Beam Me Up Scotty", hello "Super Bass". And while Remy’s music upon her initial release had a few false starts (me and maybe 4 other people listened to her I’m Around mixtape), she eventually hit her second wind, recording the Grammy-nominated "All the Way Up" (with Jay on the remix), appearing on the West Coast leg on the Formation Tour to extremely positive receptions, and branding her and her husband as debatably the strongest example of Black Love on Reality TV (as opposed to Yandy Smith’s ‘non-marriage’ to an adulterous felon).
By all indications, the two rappers now exist in different lanes, serve separate fanbases, and should coexist without issue save for the occasional sub (which I frankly don’t mind, if it keeps both women a bit competitive). It’s this fact that makes it all the more befuddling that Nicki took it upon herself to launch the first grenade:
“You the queen of this here?/One platinum plaque, album flopped, bitch, where? /Hahaha, ahhhhh/I took two bars off just to laugh/You see, silly rabbit, to be the queen of rap/You gotta sell records, you gotta get plaques/S, plural like the S on my chest/Now sit your dumbass down, you got an F on your test”
Listen to the song for yourself. It’s largely a middling verse. I mean, she rhymes “Nas” with “nahs” and “knives”. And she took two bars off just to laugh, which might be the most laughable way to create filler since Wayne had that three year stretch of correcting himself after mispronouncing words (go to Google and type “Wayne” and “oops I meant”). I would think that if you were going to declare war against a woman who shot her friend twice in the stomach, you would come with a tighter assault than that, but as they say, hindsight is 20/20.
Less than 48 hours later, Remy got on wax and addressed in no particular order: Nicki’s butt shots, using ghostwriters, switching from crew to crew to get on, her 360 deal and inflated sales, her deflated buttshots, her previous proclaimed fandom of Remy, stealing Remy’s lines, abandoning Safaree, general disloyalty, her pedophile brother, her fake goon status, alleged drug use, stunts on Mariah, Taylor, and Miley, selling a dangerous body image, instigating beef between Meek and Drake, Foxy Brown’s hearing loss, her stupid ass chicken wing necklace, and flipped the Back to Back cadence to dismiss Nicki’s internet antics.
In short, it was the most comprehensive diss I’ve heard since "Takeover." Every time I run the track back (I’m easily on twentysomething listens) I hear something new. I fully expect to discover some other rumor that Meek leaked to Remy that I was too busy screaming aloud to notice on my next play.
When it comes to disses, two things matter: content and punchline delivery. Remy hit on both. Take “Nas” and “nahs” or the “S” in plaques and compare it to this:
I'm sayin', how you mix Nicki with a Minaj?/I'ma park this bitch, put Nicki in the garage/I'm gettin' money like Nicky Barnes, I'm the big homie/I responded in less than 48 Hours; Nick Nolte/Gettin' close like Nick Jonas, grippin' the gauge/Then blaze off, Face Off, bitch, Nicolas Cage/You animated like Nickelodeon, you fake, bitch/Only the kids believe in you; you St. Nick/Now when I shoot Nick at Nite, they won't understand it/I'm Wild'n Out, 'bout to hit Nick with the Cannon
And stop talkin' numbers, you signed a 360 deal through Young Money, through Cash Money, through Republic/Which means your money go through five niggas before you touch it/Any videos, promotions come out of your budget/Endorsements, tour and merchandise, they finger-fuck it/You make, like, 35 cents off of each ducat/I own my masters, bitch, independent/So for every sale I do, you gotta do like ten/Stop comparin' yourself to Jay, you not like him/You a motherfuckin' worker, not a boss like Rem
….nigga MY feelings are hurt and I didn’t even do nothing to Remy. Whew.
As of writing this, we have yet to get an official response from Nicki Minaj, short of a few deleted tweets to Trey Songz and mentions of album sales that Remy already addressed. It’s safe to say that Onika was served a very sizable L-shaped two-piece, no biscuit; and frankly, while Nicki has certainly had a more successful career than Remy, I don’t think there has ever been a point where she could outrap her, so I am not especially hype for any significant come back that Nickelodeon could deliver. Everyone has their day and Nick Nolte was handed hers.
In the grand scheme of things, this is unlikely to hit St. Nick that hard – at this point, her staple fan base isn’t one that cut their teeth in the late 90s/early aughts era of rap that would have a diss of this magnitude make or break your career, and her crossover content will largely be unaffected. However, this is a major win for Remy, who has struggled to reconcile the rap game she left with the one that she is now walking into. She managed to dominate an entire weekend by leveraging the grit she has always had against a competitor who for the last several years has claimed the top spot nearly by default; in an industry that has the attention span of a hummingbird, she managed to flip the Aubrey-style internet stunt culture on its head by refocusing the debate to content and skill as opposed to retweets, let us and Nicki know in her own words, “don’t ever in your life fucking play with me.” That is no easy feat, and I can only hope to see her capitalize on this momentum in a way that she wasn’t able to a decade ago.
RIP Rap Nicki Minaj. Long live Queen Remy. Buy "Shether" on Itunes.