The battle between Queens-bred lady rappers Nicki Minaj and Lil’ Kim has been raging almost since Minaj hit the scene. And the bigger Minaj gets, so too, does Lil’ Kim’s ire. Kim has been throwing jabs at Minaj for a while, peeved that Minaj hadn’t payed the Queen Bee enough “homage.” To be sure, much of Minaj’s early style–namely the Barbie fascination and the colored wigs– was clearly inspired by Kim. Minaj even cribbed Kim’s Hardcore LP cover in one of the images she used on her Sucka Free mixtape.
For the most part, Minaj has kept quiet in response to Kim’s repeated baiting of her in the press, but recently she reached her limit. “When you see Gaga, you see Madonna—but Madonna never hated on Gaga,” Nicki told Wendy Williams last week, according to MTV. “Why in the Black community we gotta hate on each other instead of saying ‘Thank you for showing me love, thank you for keeping my name alive?’ The same way she opened doors for me, I’m opening doors for her. Nobody was playin your music and you damn sure couldn’t get an interview to save your life. You getting interviews and every time you do interviews they’re asking you about Nicki Minaj. So it’s like we help each other. That’s the point, we’re helping each other. But if you are bitter, get a life.”
But as the beef escalates, Minaj’s style has migrated further from her original inspiration, and maybe this is not such a bad thing. She caught our eye at the AMA’s because she was wearing a fantastical dress designed by the amazingly talented Indian designer Manish Arora. And it seems Gaga is on her mind. Her video for “Massive Attack” looks way more Gaga-inspired than Lil’ Kim-ish, in a good way. Manaj is struggling to find her style footing but it’s fun to watch. Of course, this is not to discount the Queen Bee’s style influence. Katy Perry might also want to give the Queen a bit of credit for her penchant for colored, thick-fringed wigs.
We’re calling it a draw for now. Minaj’s evolving style keeps us on our toes but you can’t mess with Kim’s classic style. But who do you think is winning?