2017: The Year of Nicki Minaj


Nathan Siegel

Say what you want about the election, Beyoncé’s twins, and the emergence of cookie dough as a snack food; Rapper Nicki Minaj has singlehandedly taken over 2017 thus far. Following in the footsteps of raps’ greatest artists, she has begun a feud that will go down in history. This year is hers to conquer, with three singles and four features already in her 2017 discography three months into the year, she has made a greater mark on the music industry and popular culture than any other rapper since January.


Although controversial at times, Nicki has managed to make herself the female with the most entries on the Billboard 100, knocking Aretha Franklin off the throne, and giving her even more leverage over her enemies. Nicki’s collaboration with Drake and Lil Wayne (who she previously teamed up with on her #1 hits “Truffle Butter” and “Only”), “No Frauds,” Lil Wayne-featured “Changed It,” and a solo track, “Regret in Your Tears” were dropped to the world’s surprise on March 10 and all landed in the iTunes Top 10 upon release. These are not just ordinary singles, however, they are a clap back written as responses to fellow rapper Remy Ma’s seven minute diss track “Shether.”


For those unaware, Remy Ma has a lot of catching up in the rap business to do. Prior to the release of her new music, she was in a prison cell at Riker’s Island from 2008 to 2014 after shooting a friend who she claimed stole thousands from her purse at a birthday party.  Bouncing back quickly, Remy joined the cast of “Love and Hip Hop,” a seven season show chronicling the lives of women involved in the music industry and the catfights, shootouts, and arrests that ensue. Determined to make her stake as the queen of New York female rap, she unleashed years of resent on “Shether,” a single that attacks Nicki’s posterior implants and her alleged sexual relations with frequent collaborators Drake and Lil Wayne, among death threats and jabs about her brother’s rape allegation.


Nicki did not take Remy’s move lightly. Proving herself as a force to be reckoned with, she dropped three singles only fifteen days after “Shether” was released (it has since been removed from radio and Soundcloud by its label due to copyright issues. Remy allegedly stole the beat she used for the song). Not only were the singles huge hits, breaking records and topping the charts, but they also won Nicki the feud. Although a diss track, the main punch at Remy, “No Frauds,” is also an enjoyable song, rather than Remy’s cruel verses set to a stolen tune, ensuring “No Frauds”’ status as a hit. On “No Frauds,” Nicki chides her nemesis on shooting her friend, her desperation for fame, and the success of her friends (Future, Drake, Lil Wayne) as opposed to the D-list status of Remy’s “Love and Hip Hop” cast members.


Along with these three songs, Nicki has been featured on numerous chart-toppers in 2016, grossing her over 20 million dollars in a year (partially thanks to Ariana Grande’s “Side to Side” which Nicki raps on) and four so far this year. The first of her 2017 features, “Run Up,” an EDM single featuring Nicki and PARTYNEXTDOOR, hit #9 on the Billboard Dance/Electronic chart with a verse from Nicki outlining her success as an artist and positive outlook on life. A surefire radio hit, “Run Up” is a club hit produced by “Cold Water” DJ Major Lazer, headed by world-renowned artist Diplo. Still hot on the heels of “Run Up,” Jason Derulo’s “Swalla” featuring Ty Dolla Sign and Nicki dropped. It is almost impossible not to get “Swalla” stuck in your head, and the video has already hit 13 million views on YouTube with many fans praising Nicki’s extravagantly long hair and Jason Derulo’s signature choreography. In the song, Nicki makes a subtle remark about Remy, saying, “She taking shots but every line sucks” mid-verse, in reference to the poorly written “Shether.” On her collab with Gucci Mane, “Make Love,” Nicki brings a verse that references Remy’s failed album sales. Finally, in her most recent feature released March 23, “Light My Body Up,” with David Guetta (with whom she created the 2015 dance song “Hey Mama”) she takes a further shot at Remy with lines that have since gone viral, “She’ll be never be queen, so she got a vendetta, I ain’t talking about David when I say imma get her (Guetta).” Without letting her feud take over the song, it is one of the fun dancehall tunes Guetta is known for and is taken to the next level with a rap from Nicki.


No matter what Nicki decides to release next, whether a feature, a single, or her entire fourth album, it is sure to be just as bold as her work so far this year. Watch out, Remy.


Photo courtesy of ET Online