An Open Letter To Lil' Kim….
Dear Lil’ Kim,
I actually like you. Hard Core was dope. I even kinda liked La Bella Mafia, and I agree with The Source; The Naked Truth is classic material. I thought it was sad that you went to jail in order to protect so-called friends that wound up testifying against you in court to save their own asses. Hell, I wouldn’t even vilify you for being Biggie’s side jawn; I believe you when you say that what you and Biggie had was special. You probably didn’t deserve to be marginalized or portrayed unfairly in a certain biopic chronicling the Notorious one’s life either. You are undoubtedly one of the greatest and most influential female rappers of all time. You are a Hip Hop legend.
But enough is enough.
Your beef with Nicki Minaj is illegitimate on multiple levels, Kim. But you know what? So was LL Cool J’s tiff with Canibus. So was KRS-One’s legendary war with MC Shan. Hip Hop is littered with rap battles founded on shoddy evidence. The difference here is that your behavior over the past 6-8 months has come across as jealous, immature, and incredibly desperate. And you’ve taken it to another level of absurdity this week. Releasing a low-budget, entirely unnecessary Nicki Minaj diss fest of a mixtape called Black Friday, charging ten dollars for it, and then falsely claiming it sold 100,000 copies in 28 hours? Not a good look, Kim. In the words of Karen Civil, “If I wanted to buy a whole mixtape about Nicki Minaj I would just buy the Pink Friday LP again.” Such behavior is entirely unbecoming of a Hip Hop legend. And for the sake of your legacy, it really needs to stop.
Your main gripe regarding Nicki Minaj is that she hasn’t properly “paid homage” to you. But Kim, I’m not sure you fully grasp what it means to pay homage to someone. When you kiss a mob boss’s ring, or bow your head before the Queen of England, that’s paying homage to that particular figure. But Hip Hop isn’t organized crime, and you’re not royalty. In the music industry, an artist pays homage to artists that came before them by making clear references to their forbearers with their work. So for example, when Nicki Minaj posed like this in one of her early press photos, you were right to identify similarities between said photo and this iconic image of you from early on in your career. Anyone even remotely familiar with Hip Hop’s many iconic images would have immediately made that connection. That’s because it was done on purpose; Nicki Minaj was paying homage to you. She wanted her audience to make that connection. Such gestures are supposed to flatter you, Kim; not infuriate you.
Sure, she dresses pretty crazy and wears a ton of wigs. Is that really something to go to war over? Lady Gaga is clearly influenced by Madonna (have you heard “Born This Way?”). But when asked about Gaga, Madonna has nothing but praise for the ambitious youngster. You see, Madonna doesn’t feel jealous or threatened because she knows that everyone can see her influence all over Gaga’s work. It’s inescapable. It keeps her name and her legacy alive. It is living, breathing, singing, dancing proof that she is arguably the most influential figure in pop music today. She doesn’t have to scream this at anyone who will listen, or tear Gaga down every chance she gets. She just smiles, gives a thumbs up, and plans her next sellout tour. Kim, that’s called having class. It’s also called not being insecure.
Your incessant anti-Minaj campaigning has turned out to be an utter failure and a PR nightmare. Pink Friday is currently the number one album in the country. It has yet to leave the top ten since its release last November, and it’s pretty much the most successful Hip Hop album since Eminem’s Recovery. Her brilliant work on SNL has turned her into a superstar, and she’s poised to potentially outshine Lil Wayne on his I Am Music Tour later this spring. While you’re twittering and complaining, she’ll be rocking arenas. Kim, your strategy isn’t working. Game over bitch. Gatorade. Wet towel.
And sadly enough, it might be too late to change direction. Nicki Minaj has successfully tapped into a young, rabid fanbase that is practically obsessed with her. You could have given her your blessing, or maybe even collabed on a track. Instead, you have successfully alienated that very same fanbase. Nicki summed it up perfectly in an interview with Angie Martinez late last year: “’You’re gonna go down in history now as a sore loser as opposed to going down in history as the Queen.”
And honestly Kim, I’m sad about that. Really sad about that. It’s hard to watch a Queen Bee that’s finally lost her buzz.