“I have a loyal fan base. And, also, I have a loyal hate base.”
Nicki Minaj said those words in the middle of a long episode of Queen Radio on Tuesday afternoon. The Beats 1 show featured Minaj talking at length about everything from her high school grades (she claimed she made the honor roll) to her issues with her former manager Fendi (he forced her name change to “Minaj” and pushed her to have a “sexual image,” she said). By the end of the two-hour-plus episode, listeners had a very good idea of who was up and who was down in Nicki Minaj’s world. Here are Nicki’s winners and losers—at least this week.
Harriet Tubman, Aretha Franklin, Normani, and Ariana Grande
These four women tied for Nicki’s “Queen” award, to the surprise of basically no one. Nicki had already compared herself to Tubman earlier this week (something that got her a little criticism—but more on that later), so that was no shocker. Paying tribute to the Queen of Soul days after her death makes sense. Nicki said on Monday night that Fifth Harmony’s Normani is “that bitch.” And, according to Minaj, she and Grande (her “lil sis”) share a similar heart-on-your-sleeve style. Also, Grande is apparently a fashion lifesaver.
Chance the Rapper
Nicki called Chano “a king in its truest form” for defending her on Twitter.
The Interscope/Beats 1/Apple Music mogul has Nicki’s undying love for unspecified reasons. Minaj called him “my true husband” and said, “All the love goes to you.”
The Queen’s “FeFe” duet partner wasn’t abandoned at the VMAs—at least, not by Nicki. She claimed MTV didn’t want him. “I wanted Tekashi to perform with me at the VMAs,” she said. “Somewhere along the line, he didn’t get approved to perform… I really, really fought.”
In the middle of a segment about her time working with Fendi, Nicki remembered, circa 2007-08, how encouraging it was when she heard that Juelz Santana was excited about her performance on a The Come Up DVD.
Nicki played the mixtape cut “Dreams ’07,” a precursor to her hit track “Barbie Dreams.” That got her reminiscing about the underground rap scene of a decade ago. One name she shouted out? Philly rapper Freck Billionaire. She revealed that there’s a small tribute to him embedded in “Roman’s Revenge”—the way she says the word “bars” is modeled after Freck’s exaggerated pronunciation.
Of course, Nicki’s fans were first and foremost in her mind. “You guys are always at the forefront of what I do and how I live,” she said. And, she added, “I will continue being your voice.”
The ASTROWORLD rapper (who Minaj memorably referred to as “AutoTune man”) caught heat for bundling his album with merch and concert tickets—and thus, Nicki argues, unfairly knocking her out of the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200. Billboard, in response to Nicki’s criticism, pointed out that Nicki is doing the same thing.
The outlet found itself in trouble with the Queen for publishing an article about the Twitter backlash to Minaj’s Harriet Tubman comments. The publication was in the running for, though it did not win, Nicki’s Cock Sucka of the Day award.
Streaming Services and Record Labels
Minaj talked at length about streaming services and their cozy relationship with major record labels. (The big record labels each own about 5 percent of Spotify, which is what the rapper seemed to be referring to). Therefore, she explained, the streaming services and labels are colluding to keep money out of the pockets of artists.
Mumblers and Cacklers
Minaj struck back at artists who were talking smack about her—though she didn’t name any names. “[I] did 200K in my first week. I heard that there were people who were mumbling and cackling who can’t do 10K,” she said. “I want you guys to stop mumbling and cackling, and start charting.”