When the universe blessed us with Cardi B’s music career, it was not an attempt to take away Nicki Minaj’s—there’s room at the top for multiple hip-hop queens. And yet, here we are.
For a year and some change now, the reigning women of mainstream rap have had some on-again, off-again beef, originally presented as a media creation (the only thing an antiquated music press likes more than riffs is exploiting women) but quickly became real. Like, physically real. Unfortunately for me and possibly you, there’s no fast track to get through this now extensive drama, so we’ve compiled an exhaustive timeline of all the shit that’s gone down. When someone at a party this weekend is like, “What’s going on with Cardi and Nicki?” you’ll have a reference sheet. You’re welcome. Let’s dive in.
September 8, 2017: Rapper G-Eazy drops his single, “No Limit,” which Cardi B guests on. Many consider her verse to diss Minaj: “My career takin’ off/These hoes jogging in place/Swear these hoes run they mouth/How these hoes out of shape?/Can you stop with all the subs?/Bitch, I ain’t Jared.” Ironically enough, we later learn Minaj was offered the guest spot but declined.
September 15, 2017: Cardi B goes on Power 105's The Breakfast Club and tells Charlamagne tha God she doesn’t have any beef with Nicki Minaj, contrary to popular opinion. “She ain’t never fucked my man,” she says.
September 25, 2017: Nicki Minaj tweets a sweet congratulations after learning Cardi B is the first solo female rapper to top the Billboard Hot 100 since Lauryn Hill two decades earlier. It seems genuine, not jealous.
October 27, 2017: Nicki Minaj and Cardi B appear on a song together with Migos called “Motorsport.” It goes! Everything’s still gravy!
October 31, 2017: Nicki Minaj tweets and deletes a bunch of unprovoked stuff about the origins of the song, which is where things begin to get messy. At the very least, it foreshadows future beef, now frozen in the back of the freezer.
November 29, 2017: Cardi B conducts an interview with The Norte Show on Capital XTRA, where she reveals that Minaj’s verse on “Motorsport” is not what the rapper originally recorded. Minaj gets pissed about this later, but the main takeaway is that Cardi believes she wasn’t extended the same courtesy as Minaj. The beef is beginning to thaw.
April 5, 2018: Cardi goes on Apple’s Beats 1 and says there’s really, truly no bad blood between her and Minaj, so stop asking her about it. “I just feel like it’s really internet made-up,” she tells the interviewer. “I really feel like fans, fans, and people they really want to see that happen because it’s really entertaining. To see people beefing is really entertaining.”
April 12, 2018: Nicki Minaj pays Zane Lowe at Beats 1 a visit and tells the host that Cardi’s comments from November actually really stung. Again—beef’s not what’s for dinner tonight! It’s still frozen! Back in the deep freezer! But she was hurt. “With Cardi B, she’s done exactly what she should’ve done. She’s just gone full steam ahead and, you know, congratulations to her,” she tells Lowe, adding:
“The only thing with Cardi that really, really, really hurt my feelings was the first interview she did after ‘Motorsport’ came out—I remember when I first came in the game, if a female of that stature had done a feature with me on it, I would only be, you know, singing their praises and saying thank you. The first interview she did after ‘Motorsport’ came out, it just really hurt me. ’Cause she looked so aggravated and angry. And the only thing she kept saying was, ‘Oh, I didn’t hear that, I didn’t hear that verse...’ I was like, ‘What?’”
And, as she’s been known to do, she tweeted about it:
May 7, 2018: Nicki and Cardi attend the Met Gala and are photographed talking to one another. They don’t look chummy, but they are standing near one another. Maybe there was never any beef?
May 9, 2018: Cardi B goes on Howard Stern’s Sirius XM show and smoothes things over:
“I never was feuding with anybody; there was a misunderstanding. I think she felt a certain type of way about something. I definitely felt a certain type of way about something. I didn’t wanna ever talk about it in public because I felt like we gonna see each other again and we will talk about it, and it’s always, like, little issues. The thing is, it’s always little issues, but you know, fans are always gonna make it a big thing. I spoke to her about it. I spoke to her at the Met Gala about it, and it’s just like, see? It’s just something that had to be talked about because it was an issue.”
July 12, 2018: Minaj gives Cardi a $5,000 baby gift. We can’t tell if this is shade or not.
August 16, 2018: Minaj pays The Late Show with Stephen Colbert a visit and tells him: “Give me a fucking break. I didn’t know Cardi and I had an issue, but I guess we do, since you and other people are saying it. You’ve got to have thick skin. People say shit about me all the time. You can’t expect to be liked and loved all the time. Give me a break.” The beef has thawed and is now room temperature.
August 29, 2018: Cardi retaliates...sort of? The beef, surely a stroganoff, has been sliced and tossed into a skillet. It begins to brown.
September 7, 2018: The beef has been cooked. The broth, salt, Worcestershire sauce, onions, and flour have been added. The dish is served: Cardi B allegedly threw a shoe at Nicki Minaj (she missed her) at Harper’s Bazaar fashion week party and yelled, “Write some shit about my kid again bitch,” in her direction. There’s video footage of it, where it’s clear Cardi also shouts, “Bitch come here!” and leaves the event with a large lump on her head, supposedly from a security guard’s elbow.
She took her heat to Instagram:
September 8, 2018: TMZ reports that Minaj won’t file a police report against Cardi.
September 10, 2018: Nicki Minaj addresses the altercation on her bizarre Beats 1 radio show Queen Radio. She says:
“The way they passed by looking at this disgusting commotion I was mortified. I could not believe how humiliated it all felt. Because we, how we made ourselves look.
I would never discuss anyone’s child. For someone to pin that on me...[That’s] because I’m the bad guy and they know people would believe them. I just want to let the world know that Onika Tanya Maraj will never has never speak ill of anyone’s child. I am not a clown. That’s clown shit.”
She also accuses Cardi B of building a career off of “sympathy and payola”:
“They put out a statement and I didn’t even feel the need to defend myself that night. We did just hear this woman say nothing is off-limits, even kids. She has built her career off of sympathy and payola... Who are you angry at, sweetheart? Do you know what it’s like to sit in your room for hours writing raps? You came into my fucking culture. I never had to fuck a DJ to play my songs.”
September 12, 2018: Cardi B hits back with real numbers, y’all:
September 13, 2018: Cardi B throws her support behind New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon. Minaj backs incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo. The beef is political now.
October 5, 2018: Nicki Minaj decides to brand the beef and begins selling queasy pink backpacks that read “Nicki Stopped My Bag,” a direct recollection of Cardi’s Instagram post the night of the shoe incident.
October 17, 2018: Cardi B considers taking jabs at Minaj on a diss track but ultimately does not.
October 24, 2018: Cardi B drops her new single, “Money,” early because Nicki Minaj Stans (Barbies) leaked it. She went on Instagram Live to tell her fans:
“We tried to retract it, but you know the Barbz. They always posting me. They always post everything I do. You know what I’m saying? They claim they hate me, but they really love me, because they be on my page before my fans. Everything that I do, they be on it before my fans. So clearly, that seems like love to me. Seems like you love me. So it’s like fuck it, I can’t retract it, I might as well put it out.”
October 28, 2018: Cardi B’s sister, Hennessy Carolina, claims Nicki Minaj leaked her number, resulting in hundreds of spammy texts, some of which threaten her and her three-month old daughter Kulture:
October 29, 2018: Nicki Minaj goes on her absurd Beats 1 Queen Radio show, again, and says a lot of shit, Variety reports. So much shit, I have to break it down into mini sections.
On the phone incident:
“And then you have your sister calling me a crackhead and leak numbers? You can’t control your sister, but you want me to control millions of fans? I’ve never leaked a number in my life and y’all continue to lie on me to make me look like a bad person.”
“I told my engineer I didn’t know anything about her. It was clear she wanted to turn them against me and that’s what she did. On Krippy Kush record, she wanted to be on it. It went from 21 Savage to Travis Scott — he wasn’t allowed, because he was on her single. I can say you stopped two bags!”
On the bump on Cardi’s head, which Minaj claims was the result of her friend Rah Ali beating her up, not an accident by a security guard:
“Rah really, really beat Cardi’s ass bad. Rah beat you so bad that I was mad at Rah. You went home and told people security hit you, and we let that ride for legal reasons. Anybody that wanna pull up the surveillance footage, I will give you $100,000.”
On Cardi’s friendships with other female rappers:
“You asked me to be on your second single [‘Bartier Cardi’]. And I said no because I felt it was too much because ‘MotorSport’ was about to come out. Now you all lovey dovey with them girls, why you not ask Remy and Kim to be on your second single?”
On wanting to end the drama despite perpetuating it:
“We can just be happy. There’s nothing that really makes me not like you like that, you know what I’m saying? You know the things I spoke to you in the hotel room — we going to keep them between me and you, for now. I hear the shots you taking, but I’m a rapper, remember that.”
October 29, 2018: Cardi B posts 10 (that’s 1-0) Instagram videos in response to Minaj’s claims, which my colleague Rebecca Fishbein eloquently explained in the following points:
1.) Cardi is tired of the Internet back-and-forth, so Nicki contact her to talk it out or fight it out, whichever.
2.) Cardi might sue Nicki for defamation of character, “since you want to claim that I’m using something called payola, because you don’t understand why I’m so fucking successful.”
3.) Cardi B SHOWED HER PHONE.
4.) 21 Savage didn’t do a music video with Minaj because her song wasn’t that good.
5.) Cardi has more fashion stuff in the works (!!!!!)
6.) “You lie so much you can’t keep up with your fucking lies. First you say you’ve got the footage, but then you say you wanna pay somebody $100,000 if they give you the footage? Make sense when you’re talking.”
At some point Cardi deletes the videos (possibly on Halloween) but YouTube never forgets:
October 30, 2018: In one of Cardi’s many Instagram videos, the rapper digs at Nicki Minaj’s latest collaboration, a guest verse on British girl group Little Mix’s new single, “Woman Like Me.” She said:
“That ‘Woman Like Me’ record? Yeah, I had to decline it because I’m doing a lot of pop records, so I can’t, you know, over-exaggerate myself. But that came to me first, and then they give it to you. You out here tryna say that I’m tryna stop your bag, right? But I’m actually helping you get a bag!”
Little Mix, just happy that someone in America cares enough to mention their name, decide to enter the beef with their own tweet:
And this classically English passive-aggression:
Also on October 30, shoe brand Steve Madden tweets and deletes a comment alluding to an earlier claim by Minaj: She says she was asked to work with the company long before Cardi got the call.
That night, writer Adelle Platon debunked the claim, citing a 2015 Vibe article wherein Steve Madden brings up the Nicki deal.
October 31, 2018: TMZ confirms that Little Mix did reach out to Minaj first, but when the rapper started dragging her feet and taking a hot minute to respond to the offer, they went to Cardi B. She said no and Minaj eventually made herself available.
And Steve Madden friggin’ apologized for being so embarrassing:
And that’s all she wrote, folks! At least, for now. Minaj has yet to respond to Cardi’s Instagram videos but be sure that’s coming. Honestly, if all this ends in some collaboration between the two, it will have been worth it. Otherwise, uh, I need a nap.