Everyone is Responding to “shEther”… Except Nicki Minaj

Rare footage of Nicki Minaj listening to “shEther”

image credit: Eva Rinaldi

It’s been well-publicized that Nicki Minaj’s career might have ended this week. Then again, she was also pregnant last month.

Nicki has managed her way around several public beefs in the past. She dismissed longtime nemesis Lil’ Kim with one of the most-scathing diss records of all time, called out both Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus over the VMAs, and terrified Mariah Carey on the set of American Idol. The irony being that this time, Nicki is up against someone who was only a B-list celebrity until this week.

Remy Ma, the Bronx rapper who garnered attention last year for her collaborative single “All the Way Up” with fellow New Yorker Fat Joe, recently released “shEther,” a seven-minute diss track spent deconstructing and destroying Nicki’s entire career. If it immediately sounds like Remy is dissing Nicki just for the attention, it’s worth noting that Nicki started the entire beef almost ten years ago.

“Dirty Money,” a freestyle over the instrumental for the song “Yeah Yeah Yeah” by Remy Ma (who went by the name “Remy Martin” then – I’m assuming she was legally obligated to change her name, ’cause Rémy Martin don’t play that shit). Some of the lyrics in Nicki’s song were interpreted by many as a subliminal shot at Remy Ma, who was a more established rapper at the time. However, Remy didn’t have a chance to respond; she would later be incarcerated from 2008 until 2014. In the meantime, Nicki would become one of the most successful rappers of all time and a major celebrity. During an interview in prison, when asked, Remy stated that she believed that the “Dirty Money” song was a diss directed at her, and, although she didn’t take it personally, she was planning on dissing Nicki in the future.

However, Remy, who only recently regained her footing in the rap game after her six-year imprisonment, hasn’t made any explicit attacks on Nicki since her release two-and-a-half years ago. She even expressed frustration with her lyrics being misinterpreted as such. Instead, it was Nicki who made two subliminal, seemingly unwarranted attacks on Remy in the past month. The first on Jason Derulo’s song “Swalla”, where she rapped “I gave these bitches two years, now your time’s up / Bless her heart she throwing shots, but her line sucks” (many interpreted “two years” as a reference to the time elapsed since Remy’s release from prison). The second attack was in a lengthy verse on Gucci Mane’s “Make Love,” where she seems to be talking to an unnamed female rapper, rapping, “One platinum plaque, album flopped, bitch, where?” and, “to be the queen of rap / You gotta sell records, you gotta get plaques.” Many have said that “One platinum plaque” is referring back to “All the Way Up,” which is Remy Ma’s first song to be certified platinum in sales, while her album Plata o Plomo with fellow Fat Joe has had disappointing sales since its release last month. Nicki’s only direct response to “shEther” thus far has been a quickly-deleted Instagram post mocking the album’s sales.

The paltriness of Nicki’s response, which has been so sluggish that Remy has even released another diss track, only attests to how baffled Nicki is to come up with something better. Furthermore, Remy has exploited her newfound popularity with grace and wit. Appearing on the Wendy Williams show alongside Fat Joe on March 3rd to promote their new album together, she wore a black ensemble, explaining that she “came dressed for the services” and quipped, “My grandmother told me never to speak ill of the dead”.

What’s also interesting about the interview is that Fat Joe stays silent through most of it. When asked about his opinion on “shEther,” he looks away and says nothing, then later jokes, “I’m a born again Christian.” As a rapper who has been releasing music for over twenty years and has been involved in his own fair share of rap beefs, it’s a laudable show of respect for his friend that Joe chooses to stay uninvolved and let Remy speak for herself.

Wouldn’t it be great if every man in hip hop did this?

What’s more surprising than Nicki’s silence concerning her own public roasting is how a bunch of dudes have gone about speaking for her. Trey Songz, who Remy implicates in “shEther” as having had sex with Minaj, denied that he had ever done so in an Instagram video that was quickly deleted, while keeping up an unclear Twitter post (seen above) that acknowledges Remy’s accusation without saying whether he had sex with Nicki or not. Nicki mistakenly attacked him for not denying it, then rightfully criticized Trey for “indirectly lyin on [his] dick”.

Another man Remy claimed Nicki had sex with was Ebro Darden, a host at the hip hop radio station Hot 97. Like Songz, Ebro denied the accusation, saying “Remy knows she’s lying.” But Papoose, Remy Ma’s husband, took Ebro to task, claiming that Ebro had texted him, saying “give Remy the biggest fist bump for me.” Ebro later definitively confirmed that he had not had sex with Nicki.

Yes, there’s a major problem in that “shEther” relies on common stereotypes about women in the entertainment industry, with Remy also insinuating that Nicki has had sex with her labelmates Drake and Lil Wayne as well. That joke is so old that Nicki made a song about it two years ago. But why does it take so much back-and-forth for both Trey Songz and Ebro to conclusively say no? Are they just enjoying the media attention, or is it just flattering to play around with the idea that Nicki Minaj had sex with them?

But the most embarrassing response to the beef was between Nicki’s former boyfriend Meek Mill and Los Angeles rapper The Game, who has worked with Nicki in the past. And for once, Meek is the one who doesn’t look like an idiot.

Here’s an essay-length Instagram post The Game wrote in response to Meek simply liking a meme depicting Remy beating Nicki up.

This the type of hoe shit I hate… This lil bitch @meekmill aka Meesha salty cause his woman left em. Instead of being a REAL NIGGA & leaving the situation with ya head up standing tall, you in ya feelings so you get her house robbed & do fuck nigga shit fronting for the followers she gave you… liking pictures & leaving comments on posts that disrespect the woman who gave you life, actually loved yo dusty ass, bought you shit you couldn’t ever afford on yo own & even stood by your side when Drizzy bodied you.. instead of leaving yo bum ass like she should’ve, she held yo skinny rat face havin ass down !!! Now she gone & all you can do is try & shit on her every chance you get over social media ?? Straight pussy shit… you know how many REAL NIGGAS would love the chance to wife up a Nicki Minaj, Rihanna or a Beyonce’ & you out here playing…. Had a bomb ass woman & blew it cause you wasn’t man enough to return the love that was given…. you a ass nigga, won’t fight me, but quick to tell Drake he can get a fade straight fuckin sucka… I shoulda never took my hands from around Nicki that day we shot #PillsNPotions… that was the last time she been held by a REAL NIGGA !!! #NiggasIsTheNewBitches #OurDayIsComingSoon #DickChaser #ThemHerFollowers #iRememberWhenYouHad600ThousandB4Her #KeepRidinDirtBikesWitYoNutsOnNiggasButts #NickiGetYouAREALMAN #HeyBigHead @nickiminaj Nigga you would’ve died after Drizzy bodied you if Nicki wasn’t on ya arm lil ungrateful pussy…. she the only reason you lasted long enough to beef wit me & trust me, the day is coming where I throw yo lil punk ass over 6 cars !!! What type of nigga wanna see the girl that gave him everything he got hurt.. bird ass bum #NickiBirthedYou #WhatREALMANwannaSeeHisGirlHurting ??? #AnswerDatShit !!!! #OnlySoLongFakeThugsCanPretend

A post shared by The Game (@losangelesconfidential) on

If you don’t want to read that wall of text, don’t feel obligated. It’s a confused, occasionally funny mess where The Game misdirects his own sexual frustration into feminizing Meek Mill and making some painfully obvious flirtations with Nicki Minaj (#HeyBigHead? seriously?). And it’s not like Nicki asked him to defend her. Granted, The Game is well-known for his pro-women agenda, having recently lost a sexual assault case and later referring to the defendant as a “thirsty Gatorade mascot of a transvestite.”

Now, while The Game, Trey Songz and Ebro don’t stand for every male in the hip hop world, they’ve all shown a callous disrespect to Nicki Minaj; for The Game it’s in the name of misguided chivalry (and a severe case of blue balls), but nonetheless. These are all people Nicki has worked with in the past. Nicki has already proven that she can speak for herself; and if she wants to respond to Remy, she can do it. But she doesn’t need a bunch of idiots putting in their two cents, especially if they’re only distracting from what’s really at stake:  her place in hip hop.