On October 25, Nicki Minaj took to social media to address a concern women across all industries have been struggling with and continue to struggle with, tweeting, “In any field, women must work TWICE as hard to even get HALF the respect her male counterparts get. When does this stop?” The rampant sexism in the music industry and lack of respect for female emcees is a cause Nicki Minaj feels strongly about, and has always felt strongly about. Minaj pressed the issue further when she said most other artists will collaborate with male rappers because they are respected as good rappers in the industry, but when it comes to getting people to collaborate with her it’s because “someone pulled a gun to their heads.”
Bringing up an old tweet from Kendrick Lamar as an example, Minaj addressed the lack of respect she has received from men in the industry, saying, “I’d have to wear some baggy pants n timbs for men to openly give props.”
This is by no means a new cause for Minaj. On Twitter, she also revived a 2014 interview with Hot 97’s Ebro Darden, in which she disclosed her gripes with music journalism and male radio personalities. “When I came out, I was playful and people couldn’t really see past that. The game is run by men,” she said in the interview. “It’s almost like men feel like it takes something away from them to give a female props the way they would give Jay, or Kanye, or Em… my core fans give me my props, but it’s y’all,” referring to the male radio personalities who Minaj believes prefer to give more radio play to her tracks that feature male rappers.
“Because people listen to you guys, and that’s why I’m so hard on radio people. I’m like, come on. Tell the people the truth. Don’t sugarcoat s–t, don’t say I’m ‘good for a girl,’ say what it is. And if you don’t think I’m good, say I’m not good. But if you know but you just don’t wanna feel like, ‘Damn, am I a Barb now?’ Come on. That’s corny. That’s corny because any secure a– man in himself can give a female props for what she does,” she says to Ebro in the interview.
In her 2010 MTV documentary, My Time Now, Minaj addressed the dismissive labels applied to women who make waves in the industry and demand equal amounts of respect. In an often-quoted clip, she pressed, “Is that wrong? Wanting more for myself? Wanting people to treat me with respect?” She later quipped, “When I am assertive, I’m a b—h. When a man is assertive, he’s a boss. He bossed up. No negative connotation behind ‘bossed up.’ But lots of negative connotation behind being a b—h.”
Breaking both records and rules over the years, Minaj has never been one to back down against anyone, not even her closest friends and collaborators. For the seventh anniversary of Kanye West’s “Monster,” the track on which Minaj’s iconic verse is still quoted ad nauseum, she shared an anecdote of how Kanye West almost cut the song from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and how they fought about the creative direction of her verse “every step of the way but it worked out.” “Monster” became a platinum selling single for Kanye West.
While there are many who attempt to pit Minaj and other rappers against each other, she and some female emcees have killed those rumors. Earlier this year, a rumored beef between Minaj and Cardi B was squashed when Cardi B sat down with The Breakfast Club to discuss her respect for Minaj and other artists. When Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow” topped the Billboard Hot 100, Minaj congratulated her and shared her support on Twitter. Minaj’s support for up and coming artists is striking. A cosign from a force like Minaj could make or break someone’s career, and with multiple American Music Awards, BET Awards, Billboard Music Awards, and a Grammy—which she took home for her radio hit “Anaconda”—she has climbed the charts for nearly a decade, proving that she deserves the respect of fellow rappers and music journalists alike.