#PopCultureClass: With ShETHER, Remy Ma Just Schooled Us on the Entertainment Industry
As most of us were running errands, in the hair salon/barber shop, or otherwise minding our own business on Saturday morning, Reminisce Smith Mackie (also known as rapper Remy Ma) was plotting to take over the internet and other people's careers. By the middle of the day, and just in time for the end of Black History Month, she released one of the nastiest diss records of our lifetimes. The song, titled "ShETHER," was directed at rapper Nicki Minaj and the internet (black Twitter especially) was here for it. Here's the song. FYI: for those of you who (like myself) are the kinds of parents who still listen to music with cuss words, use your headphones. You don't want your babies to hear this. If you don't like cuss words, you probably just want to move on.
So how did we get here? And by here I mean the 2017 attempted murder of Nicki Minaj's career.
Remy Ma has been rapping since 1998 and first appeared on an album in 2000 (Big Pun's Yeeeah Baby). So she's been around for a minute. Nicki Minaj has been around since 2004, though most of us probably didn't hear anything about her until 2009-2010. Apparently Remy and Nicki used to be cool and Remy was originally a fan of Nicki's music.
As we learned this weekend, that didn't last. Here's the history as I understand it:
The Remy/Nicki beef started ten years ago, when Remy felt some of the lines of Nicki's 2007 "Dirty Money" freestyle were directed at her.
The specific lines Remy thought were about her:
Tell that bitch with the crown to run it like Chris Brown/She won 3 rounds, I'mma need a hundred thou/Like china town, bitches better bow down
Around this time, Nicki was on the come up and looking to make a name for herself. It seems that she was taking shots at the biggest women in the rap game at the time - Remy Ma, Foxy Brown, and Li'l Kim. Much of this has been reported all over the internet if you're interested in those backstories.
According to ShETHER, Remy also felt that Nicki stole some lines from a 2009 tweet Remy posted when she was in jail.
Nicki has often referred to other rappers as her sons, which Remy tweeted about back in '09. There's been back and forth over the years, with subliminal messages being thrown back and forth. Here's one example - a video of Remy Ma rapping from jail where she says "ever since I was young I pulled the heads off my barbies."
Nicki famously uses the barbie reference in her music, has a song titled Black Barbie, and there's even been a Nicki Minaj barbie made by Mattel. Also, Nicki's fans are called Barbies or Barbz.
In all of this, IMO, it seems like the media and fans have tried to hype it up in ways that perhaps it didn't alway exist. It sounds like it started with the typical I'm-the-best-no-I'M-the-best type of thing that happens a lot in the industry. If you want to read more about the play by play over the years, this Complex article has one of the most complete recounts of it all.
At any rate, Remy and Nicki seemed to be on decent terms in 2016, when they exchanged pleasant tweets about Nicki's BET award.
Recently, however, new fuel was added to the fire with the release of Gucci Mane's "Make Love," on which Nicki appears:
Here are lines that Remy took issue with:
Oooohhh, oh you the qu-e-e-the queen of this here?/One platinum plaque, album flopped, bitch, where? (bitch, where?)/Hahaha, ahhhhh I took two bars off just to laugh/You see, silly rabbit, to be the queen of rap/You gotta sell records, you gotta get plaques/S, plural like the S on my chest/Now sit your dumbass down/You got an F on your test
Remy's response/diss track is seven straight minutes of verse with no hook. And wow. Just wow. The internet collectively lost its mind once we heard it. Think pieces will likely abound in the coming days (though the best reaction I've read thus far comes from Awesomely Luvvie, who must have been sitting by her computer the moment ShETHER dropped because she had her article posted well before the close of business on Saturday).
As I was listening to it myself, I truly believe that ShETHER deserves its own series of articles about what we can learn here. I know some of ya'll don't like us talking about this when there are "so many other important things happening in the world." To that I say:
Some of ya'll have become so evolved that you've evolved yourselves right into an elitist penthouse where you look down at others while fanning yourselves with your multiple degrees. We don't have to be monofocused or monolithic. People can care about multiple things at the same time. So relax, please. All of us writing/talking/tweeting about this will still be simutaenously caring about other stuff.
I'll be posting my ShETHER Class series over the coming days. First article should be up soon. Right after I buy Remy'a newest album, Plata O Plomo, out of respect alone.