On Saturday, February 25, 2017, the world stood still for a moment. No, not because Ol’ Boy in the White House did something nice (that’ll be the day). Not because Drake dropped #MoreLife and definitely not because Sally Mae waived everyone’s student loans. I finished class and saw social media on fire because Remy Ma dropped, “Shether”, a scolding hot lyrical exercise over Ron Brows’ “Ether” track. Of course, I find the track on Remy’s soundcloud and I felt a familiar sting. The same kind of sting that many people felt when Ice Cube dissed the entire NWA with “No Vaseline”, the same sting that was felt when Nas called Jay Z a “Tae-Bo hoe”, and the same sting that everyone felt when Drake asked Meek Mill a very poignant question: “Is that a world tour or your girl tour?!” It was bars at its finest!
If you appreciate the art of hip-hop and battle rapping, you’d be doing your ears justice by listening to the song. After years of subliminal shots, the lines were finally drawn and Remy kept her word that if she had a problem with someone, she’d mentioned them by name. Now, it’s Nicki Minaj’s turn to talk that talk and let Remy know why she’s considered the queen of rap. Yet, that didn’t happen. Nicki took a slightly different approach by dropping pictures and videos of her gallivanting through Paris and showing a nipple during Fashion Week. Then she dropped a video of Beyonce deeming her the “Queen of Rap”, talked about the number of records she’s sold and awards she’s won, and has been silent since. People started saying that Nicki’s sold millions of records, won awards, and there’s no reason for her to respond. It seemed that because she agrees with the ethos of “number’s don’t lie”, she’s above responding to the diss. She already has the acceptance of the majority and money, so what’s the point? I’d say Nicki feels she’s above it because of this validation. This validation is dangerous because it can lull you into a deep sense of false security that many Black entertainers fall into and they forget where they come from or how they got there.
Immediately, I started thinking about many in the Black community that have the same issues. We go to college, get the degrees, the well-paying job, and cop the new Audi A8, but never go back to our own spaces to teach those coming up. We forget how to eat neckbones and collard greens because we’re too busy eating grits with sugar! I think this “beef” highlights a dangerous idea that when we “make it”, we forget our roots and think that we’ll be fine with our status and acceptance into the white culture (we saw what happened with OJ). I believe that its our duty to go back and “teach the babies” to help them make their way out of their situations. We can’t sit there and say, “well I got mine, you better get yours!” Don’t get me wrong, having awards and recognition is important especially when you earn them, yet we can’t get too wrapped up in them and allow them to forget give us a sense of inflated self. Awards and records are meant to be broken, yet our community is not.