Cardi B emerged on the hip-hop scene with her street anthem “Foreva” in 2016 just as her star was rising due to her spot on VH1’s reality series Love and Hip-Hop. But, it wasn’t until the Bronx rapper earned a breakout hit with “Bodak Yellow” that the comparisons to fellow female rapper Nicki Minaj started to arise.
As “Bodak Yellow” clawed its way to the top of charts, rumors began to swirl that both Cardi and Nicki were throwing barbs at each other in their songs, starting with Nicki’s “No Frauds” diss to Remy Ma and Cardi calling out a mystery woman for befriending her during a performance.
Both rappers have publicly denounced all rumors of there being a rift, which brings us to Migos‘ “Motor Sport” featuring the Atlanta trio with support from both Cardi and Nicki. Despite sharing the same track, many believed “Motor Sport” was just another track for the two rappers to insult each other, though both Nicki and Cardi, again, insisted that their verses were not aimed at each other.
“I feel like people just want that drama because it’s entertaining,” Cardi told Complex, while Nicki addressed all the “beef” rumors in a Twitter rant, saying that men in the hip-hop community only do this to female rappers and urged everyone to let it go. But Nicki, Cardi and the world know that won’t actually happen.
In April 2018, Minaj admitted that some of the “Motorsport” drama did “hurt” her while speaking to Zane Lowe about new songs “Barbie Tingz” and “Chun-Li.”
All was quiet for the next five months until New York Fashion Week, when tensions boiled over at a Sept. 7 incident at a Harper’s Bazaar party that ended with shouting, an airborne shoe and an Instagram rant from Cardi.
Below, Billboard takes a look at Nicki Minaj and Cardi B’s history.
May 2017 — Nicki Name Drops Offset in “Swish Swish” Verse
Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj used their latest team-up “Swish Swish” to address their respective beefs. The internet speculated Perry took aim at her rift with Taylor Swift, while Nicki continued to target Remy Ma following Rem’s scatching “SHether” diss track and Nicki’s response “No Frauds.” But on “Swish Swish,” Nicki rapped, “Silly rap beefs just get me more checks” and followed up with a line where she called out Cardi’s then-boyfriend and now-fiancé Offset.
“My life is a movie, I’m never off set/ Me and my amigos (no, not Offset),” she said. Nicki even promoted the single on her Instagram and wrote the same Offset lyric for the captioned, leading many to believe she intended to ruffle a few feathers with her “Swish Swish” verse.
#SwishSwish — #SwishGuard –Pink Ferragamo sliders on deck. Silly rap beefs just get me more checks. My life is a movie, I’m never off set. Me & my aMIGOS No not OFFSET — swish swish awww I got them upset! but my shooters’ll make’m dance like dubstep! Swish swish awww my haters iz OBSESSED! Cuz I make M’s!!!! They get MUCH LESS!!!!! —— #SwishSwishBish — @katyperry lets go katy cat — listen now on Tidal, iTunes & Spotify. Audio on YouTube.
May 2017 – Cardi B Vents on Instagram Live About Idols Becoming Rivals
Cardi may have caught wind of Nicki name-dropping Offset in “Swish Swish” because shortly after the single was released, the Bronx rapper went on Instagram live to vent about how “fake” people in the industry are and how she was much happier in the Bronx where she could address her detractors head-on.
“I hate this shit, I really, really do. A bitch like me, I was happier when I was macking in the hood. This shit right here is so fake,” she said during her live stream. “When I used to be a regular bitch from the Bronx — a hood bitch — when somebody used to be fake to me it was cool because I could approach a bitch and punch her right in her closure… Now that I’m in the industry, you don’t work like that, just have to watch shit go, watch shit go. You gotta see people play you and just say nothing like a dick. That shit is so wack my n—a like that shit be breaking my heart because the people, your idols, become rivals.”
July 2017 – Nicki Minaj Dances to “Bodak Yellow” at a Nightclub
During an appearance at a Miami nightclub, Nicki Minaj was seen dancing along to Cardi’s infectious summer hit “Bodak Yellow.” In the fan-shot video, Nicki didn’t recite any of the words, but it was a subtle way of showing the budding rapper support.
August 2017 – Nicki Minaj Takes Subliminal Shots on “No Flag”
Nicki, Offset and 21 Savage teamed up for London on da Track’s latest song “No Flag.” Speaking to XXL, London says that he encouraged Nicki to address her enemies on the track. He said that “No Flags” would be “perfect for you to be able to explain what you’re going through. If you want to go at someone or talk about somebody, this the perfect song to do it on.’ She said I was right.”
The Queens rapper wasted no time on her verse and opened it with the lines, “Lil’ bitch I heard these labels tryna make another me/ Everything you getting little hoe is cause of me.” Her “No Flag” feature comes just months after Cardi inked her deal with Atlantic Records, but Nicki denied that she was targeting Cardi.
— NICKI MINAJ (@NICKIMINAJ) August 25, 2017
August 2017 – Cardi Addresses a Mystery Woman During a Performance in New York
Cardi B hit the stage at the MoMa PS1 Warm Up event in August with A$AP Ferg, Kelela and more to perform her smash hit. At one point in her set, the rapper took a moment to call out an unnamed woman who Cardi felt was acting a bit fake to her. “You know this bitch,” Cardi said in the video over loud screams from the crowd. “She never fucking liked me and now, all of a sudden, she wants to be friends with me. No, bitch. I still don’t like you bitch.”
At the time, Cardi received a lot of love and support for “Bodak Yellow” from a heap of celebrities from Drake, Migos, and 21 Savage.
September 2017 – Cardi B Hops on G-Eazy’s “No Limit”
Another Cardi B verse, another rumor of a beef brewing between the Bronx native and Minaj. On G-Eazy’s “No Limit,” Cardi takes aim at someone who continues to through “subs” at her and assures the targeted subject that “You can pull up, you can get it.”
September 2017 – Cardi B Addresses “No Limit” Verse on The Breakfast Club
Following her verse on “No Limit,” Cardi couldn’t seem to escape all the Nicki Minaj rivalry questions. During a visit to Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club show, the hosts questioned Cardi about who she was addressing on her verse, but she insisted it wasn’t aimed at anyone in particular. Cardi said she and Nicki did speak before and the verse was more directed at females from her old neighborhood.
September 2017 – Nicki Congratulates Cardi For “Bodak Yellow” Becoming No.1
Cardi earned her first-ever Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 with “Bodak Yellow,” a feat that makes her the first female rapper since Lauryn Hill to top the charts without having any guest features. Minaj congratulated her fellow New Yorker in a tweet saying, “Congratulations to a fellow NEW YAWKA on a RECORD BREAKING achievement. Bardi, this is the only thing that matters!!! Enjoy it.” Cardi responded, telling the “No Frauds” rapper that “This means sooo much coming from you!!”
Congratulations to a fellow NEW YAWKA on a RECORD BREAKING achievement. Bardi, this is the only thing that matters!!! Enjoy it—— @iamcardib
— NICKI MINAJ (@NICKIMINAJ) September 25, 2017
Thank you!! This means sooo much coming from you!! ?? https://t.co/vPGwFiBAiQ
— iamcardib (@iamcardib) September 25, 2017
October 2017 – Migos Recruit Cardi B and Nicki Minaj for “Motor Sport”
Migos are gearing up for their upcoming album, Culture 2, and released “Motor Sport” as the first single off the project. To spark some controversy, however, the Atlanta trio brought together two of the hottest female (and most talked about) rappers on wax as Cardi compared herself to the late Selena and Nicki shouted out famed actor Jackie Chan.
Unsurprisingly, the internet did its best to decode the lyrics and determine if the two rappers were once again throwing barbs, but Minaj hopped on Twitter to shut down the rumors.
When the song was released, Joe Budden offered his stance on the buzzy record and said that he felt like the features on the song were a bit calculated and pointed the finger to Kanye West, who may or may not be the executive producer for Migos’ forthcoming album.
“I think that Kanye suggested to Migos to put Nicki on this song,” Joe said during an episode of Everyday Struggle. “I do not think that Migos or anybody stepped to Nicki and said, ‘We have a record featuring Migos and Cardi and we would like you to get on it.’ I don’t believe that happened.”
April 2018 – Nicki Minaj on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1
After releasing new music on April 12, Nicki Minaj stopped by Zane Lowe for an interview and clarified that — despite rumors — her new songs were not directed at Cardi B. She did, however, say some of the “Motorsport” drama bothered her: “Y’all all still jumped around that just to paint Nicki as the bad person so that you could play the victim. That really, really hurt me. I really, fully supported her and up until this recent interview I did, I had never seen her show me genuine love in an interview and I can imagine how many girls wish they could’ve been on a song with Nicki Minaj.”
Sept. 2018 – Tension Boils Over at New York Fashion Week
Cardi B and Nicki Minaj reportedly exchanged barbed words at a Harper’s Bazaar event at New York Fashion Week on Sept. 7, but that’s not all — Cardi got into a physical altercation and threw a shoe at Rah Ali, a member of Minaj’s entourage and one of Cardi’s Love and Hip-Hop co-stars. The “I Like It” rapper aired her grievances with the offender in question on Instagram following the incident. According to Cardi, the last straw came when comments were made about baby Kulture and her motherly love, and that’s what prompted the Instagram post.
“I let you talk big shit about me!!,” she wrote. “I addressed you once in person, I addressed you a second time in person, and every time you copped the plea!! But when you mention my child, you choose to like comments about me as a mother, make comments about my abilities to take care of my daughter is when all bets are fuckin off!! I’ve worked to hard and come too far to let anybody fuck with my success!!!! Bitches talk all that shit in they raps but in real life they pussy!! This shit really is for entertainment!!”