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In this op-ed, a culture writer unpacks the feud between Nicki Minaj and Megan Thee Stallion and its ramifications. Content warning: this story includes mentions of gun violence, sexual assault, and murder.
For the past few months, we’ve watched our favorite Hot Girl enter a season of training similar to that of prized fighter Rocky Balboa. In her casual, personality-infused workout videos, we watched her conquer the StairMaster and coin the term “Stallion Kicks.” It was obvious that Megan Thee Stallion was putting in some serious work, both in the gym and the studio, and after a seemingly quiet period of hibernation, the Hotties knew something was brewing — and that she planned to come out swinging.
Megan’s journey through grief and trauma has been public — most of the time not by choice — and her recovery even more so. She knows what her haters have to say about her, she knows what her fans want from her. And in between is Tina Snow, her fierce alter ego, who made her triumphant return on Friday, January 26. And she had a few things to get off of her chest.
Meg’s newest release, “Hiss,” starts with an intro that proves she is not to be f*cked with. She’s fed up with the news cycle revolving around her with her name always in another artist or blogger’s mouth. So what does she do? She calls out the bullsh*t.
“Hiss” packs in a number of disses and jabs in three minutes, with the artist taking hits at gossip sites, commentary around her sex life, and most importantly, her opps. No one’s safe from her strikes, as Meg has a bar for everyone who's dissed her: including ex-boyfriend and collaborator Pardison Fontaine, Drake, and Nicki Minaj. Crucially, she never calls anybody out by name.
And still, the reactions came, predominantly from Nicki Minaj, who spent her weekend ranting on livestreams and hinting at a direct comeback to air Meg out, which came in the form of “Big Foot,” the song she dropped on Sunday night. However, Minaj’s dozens of posts, along with the discourse that ensued, have only really served to make her look bad. The feud goes beyond the rich history of rap beefs into something more indicative of where the culture is today — misogynoir posing as cutthroat comebacks.
What is Megan’s Law?
Of all the quick-witted one-liners Meg doles out on “Hiss,” one verse in particular had everyone in a tizzy over the weekend, especially Onika.
“These hoes don't be mad at Megan, these hoes mad at Megan's Law,” she raps.
This verse alludes to the federal law requiring registered sex offenders to disclose their status publicly; the law was named after Megan Kanka, a child who was raped and killed in 1994.
Many believed the line was a direct hit towards Minaj, since her husband Kenneth Petty was convicted back in 2022 of failing to register as a sex offender. He was sentenced to probation and has since been ordered to serve house arrest after breaking the terms of that probation in September 2023.
How did Nicki Minaj respond to Megan Thee Stallion?
Diss tracks and rap beefs are nothing new in the Hip-Hop community, with their main purpose being to rile fans up and promote both feuding musicians’ careers. However, “Hiss” seemed to hit personally hard for the Queen of Rap, who instantly took to her social media accounts to address it, taking to Instagram Live almost instantly to workshop different jabs about Megan.
What started off as cryptic rants on IG Live quickly turned into a series of increasingly intense posts on X, which turned into the erratic response track “Big Foot.” It could be easily dubbed as a Nicki Minaj livestream set to a beat, as much of the song relied on comments she had repeatedly made prior to its release, with the crux of her material revolving around questioning Megan’s gunshot wound at the hands of Tory Lanez, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for assault, and the referencing of Megan’s late mother, who died in March 2019.
“Get up on your good foot… F*ck you get shot with no scar…Glass fragment foot a**, bitch,” Minaj raps, while repeating several times that Meg is “Lyin’ on your dead mama.”
It was the climax of the end to a friendship that once appeared mutually beneficial. Minaj and Meg first worked together on “Hot Girl Summer” in July of 2019. Meg had mentioned to Minaj that she had been a Barb since her formative years, and Minaj had returned the love publicly, even after Megan collaborated with Minaj’s rival Cardi B for “WAP.”
Signs of their relationship souring began to arise in early 2021 when Minaj reportedly unfollowed Megan on Instagram, with Meg doing the same shortly after. The feud seemed quiet until Minaj turned to Queen Radio in 2022 to tell listeners that Megan allegedly pressured Minaj to drink during her pregnancy and that she suggested Minaj get an abortion prior to giving birth to her son Papa Bear in 2020. Megan responded to the allegations with just one social media post, writing “LIE.”
More subliminals began to arise in Minaj’s 2023 single “Red Ruby Da Sleeze” where she takes a jab at Megan stating “700 on them horses when we fixing to leave/ But I don’t f*ck with horses since Christopher Reeves.”
What does this all mean?
While Minaj’s fans continue to ride for her, the truth is that her comments were both ugly and tired, regurgitating gossip blogs and perpetuating misogynistic narratives about Megan… all in defense of a man. We’re a long way away from the Minaj who cemented herself as the Queen of Rap, having to defy all industry odds and obstacles, including misogyny itself. It’s been increasingly hard to celebrate her as such when so much of her recent existence has been cluttered with frivolous animosity towards other successful female rappers, such as Latto, Cardi B, and Remy Ma.
From the moment it was revealed that Megan had been shot in the foot, it seemed like she had been solidified as the butt of a joke, as opposed to a victim of gun violence. Many online — including celebrities — made light of the situation, and while it wasn’t shocking to see a number of men rush to add fuel to the fire, it was particularly disheartening when lashes came from women… especially Black women.
It seems as if this is just the beginning of Nicki’s Meg-themed disses, as she allegedly has more on the way. But it’s only hurting her legacy at this point — Minaj isn’t trafficking in well-constructed jabs or clever critique, but in low-blow insults and mockery of Megan’s deepest traumas, borne of the vitriol and misogynoir Black women face on the Internet every day. Instead of moving the culture forward as she once did, she’s adding fuel to the machine that wants to destroy us all.
Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue
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