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Nicki Minaj Adopted Social Media Warfare, but Cardi B Was Born in It

After a banner episode of ‘Queen Radio,’ Cardi had ample time—and space on Instagram—to deftly respond

Nicki Minaj and Cardi B Getty Images/Ringer illustration

Since you’re reading this, chances are a chunk of your Monday was eaten up by the fallout of another banner episode of Nicki Minaj’s Queen Radio. For the show’s 10th installment, she again addressed her long-simmering feud with rap’s other most-successful woman, Cardi B, setting the internet, by which I mean Twitter, ablaze. (To note, in this rap beef, there are still no actual rap songs to speak of.)

Minaj said so much, but this feels like the noisiest thing: That the infamous almost-fight at the Harper’s Bazaar Icons party during New York Fashion Week was an actual fight, and it didn’t happen the way Cardi B said it did. The gumball-sized knot on Cardi’s head didn’t come from event security, but from Minaj’s friend and TV personality Rah Ali, who was, according to Nicki, a little too thorough.

“Rah really, really beat Cardi’s ass bad. Rah beat you so bad that I was mad at Rah. You went home and told people security hit you, and we let that ride for legal reasons. Anybody that wanna pull up the surveillance footage, I will give you $100,000. The minute Rah let your head up, I saw the knot on your head.”

Gauntlet, thrown. Minaj has been so mad that she’s actually laughing for months now, and this feud with Cardi B has been going on since “MotorSport.” In addition to drama over whose verses were laid when, there was also public debate over who “won” the late 2017 Migos song. Since, the two women have more or less been at loggerheads about who gets to hold the solitary Female Rapper Spot in the mainstream consciousness. The most recent flare-up came on the heels of Cardi’s sister, Hennessy Carolina, accusing Minaj of leaking Cardi’s phone number to the Barbz, her notoriously rabid fan base. It was an accusation that, during Monday’s data dump, Minaj also denied. “I just want everybody to leave me alone, then my fans will leave you alone,” she said.

And now, gauntlet, picked up:

Screenshots via Cardi B’s Instagram

This is but a screenshot of nine-tenths of Cardi’s searing and thorough response to Nicki Minaj, which she posted to Instagram on Monday afternoon, in digestible minute-sized bits. I would be here until next week transcribing and unpacking all of it, but trust me when I say that no stone was left unturned—the leaked phone numbers; the comparative commercial success; the narrative reframing. “Do you wanna be the victim, or do you wanna be the gangster,” Cardi asked rather fairly. Also: there was a reference track, screenshots of DMs, scores of texts, and at one point, Cardi appeared to share Nicki’s phone number. For awhile, it even seemed that Cardi had invented a new word, but as it turns out, “footages”—as in “what footages you talkin’ ’bout?”—is already standard English.

I would expect nothing less from someone who—amid rumors of a rift forming between her and her fiancé—took to Instagram Live on Christmas Day to clear the air by simulating (fully clothed!) sex with Offset. Cardi’s populist, dogmatic approach to fame is occasionally to her detriment, but it makes her a uniquely tricky proposition for Nicki, who places high value on things no one cares much about anymore, like reverence and respect. Nicki is more popular (based on Instagram followers) and more powerful (at least by tenure), but if you’re lured onto unfamiliar ground, you run the risk of being beaten with experience. As evidenced by the hastily uploaded selfie videos, each a haymaker in its own right, social media is Cardi’s battlefield. She was born in it, molded by it.

Nicki Minaj tweeted some more on Monday evening, stating that Cardi doesn’t write her own raps, and alleging that Cardi’s team has now threatened legal action because they can’t handle the truth. At some point, Wilhelmina Models CEO Bill Wackermann got involved, and then on Tuesday, so did Steve Madden. Eventually, Minaj sued for peace, and Cardi accepted. So where does that leave us?

Having learned my lesson with Pusha-T and Drake, I’m not declaring a winner—again, there still aren’t any actual songs to speak of—but it feels as though Cardi B has more points now, doesn’t it? Either way, “#DipVideo OUT NOW.”