IRL: Meek Mill, Drake, and the evaporating line between the ‘real’ and ‘online’ world

Drake at OVO Fest 2015
Drake at OVO Fest 2015

It was an ordinary Tuesday night. Until it wasn’t.

When the day started, Meek Mill and Drake were most closely linked by the Dreams Worth More Than Money single “R.I.C.O.” By night’s end, the two were mired in one of the biggest rap beefs in recent memory. Yet whereas previous public conflicts began and ended in the streets, on the airwaves, this latest iteration of the “rap beef” largely existed in an online form. Until it didn’t. Continue reading “IRL: Meek Mill, Drake, and the evaporating line between the ‘real’ and ‘online’ world”


CURRENT: Le1f – “Ooh”

“Truffle Butter” is one of Nicki Minaj’s best singles in a minute, with its bubbly, strutting beat offering the perfect template for boasts from Nicki, Drake, and whatever Lil Wayne is doing with his leg on the toilet. For rising, unapologetically queer rapper Le1f, rapping over “Butter” makes a ton of sense, even on paper. He’s carved out his own lane in a genre with a tricky relationship with alternative male sexualities, with the only thing the rapper not conquering being urban and top 40 radio.

On the remix, Le1f delivers full-bodied verses that assert his proud, brave persona. But, it’s when the beat gets chopped & screwed that Le1f really begins his lyrical assault. He delivers a message to any homophobic rapper still worried about a dude’s sexuality in 2015. “I rap about dicks like you rap about clits,” he pointedly raps. “I’m turning down niggas cause I’m so legit,” he later boasts, flexing his muscles. “Ooh” finds Le1f operating within his own space, unconcerned with toning down his image for a larger audience. But, more and more, he’s forcing audiences to come to him.

CURRENT: Beyoncé – “***Flawless” (feat. Nicki Minaj)


The flawlessness that is Beyoncé’s late 2013 masterwork hasn’t resulted in the smash runaway singles we all expected (I see you, “Drunk In Love” and “Blow”). But that hasn’t stopped Yonce being on the tip of everyones’ tongues, and her internet-rattling remix of “***Flawless” featuring Nicki Minaj is the victory lap we’ve been waiting for. “Of course some time shit goes down when there’s a billion dollars on an elevator,” Beyoncé asserts, taking the terrifying video of sister Solange and husband Jay Z in an elevator altercation into her own hands, and when she follows that with the original’s “My sister told me I should speak my mind / My man make me feel so damn fine,” she’s able to make that incident feel like nothing more than a minor blip on her impressive career arc. And then there’s Nicki, whose verse is introduced by a sublime sample of OutKast’s raucous “SpottieOttieDopaliscious”, which even inspires Bey to join in for a few bars. Minaj delivers a verse fit for royalty, and perhaps her best this side of “Monster”.

CURRENT: Jessie J, Ariana Grande, & Nicki Minaj – “Bang Bang”

When Beyoncé put the industry on standstill when she dropped her self-titled album in December 2013 out of the blue, marking the pinnacle of pop music’s flirtation with a more minimalist approach. Kanye West made his shortest record to date that summer, while also only announcing the album’s existence a mere month before it’s shelf date. On the opposite end of the spectrum stands Jessie J, who’s been promoting her new single “Bang Bang” for the past month. When first announced, the track turned heads due to her two collaborators, rising star Ariana Grande and the unimpeachable Nicki Minaj. The track pleasingly does not disappoint, and its bombastic, enormous chorus is impossible to ignore, while Nicki Minaj delivers another great feature, fitting in perfectly with the two belting chanteuses. “Bang Bang” is not shy in its intentions of world domination. In this instance, I’m not shy about giving in to the summer’s most explosive single.

CURRENT: Usher – “She Came to Give It to You” (feat. Nicki Minaj)


Usher’s been on a bit of a hot streak lately. After teaming up with Disclosure for a rejuvenating remix of “Good Kisser”, he returns with the second single from his as-yet untitled new album, the Nicki Minaj-assisted, Pharrell-produced “She Came to Give It to You”. The song is the next logical leap in this funk revival we’re currently immersed in, as it takes the best moments of Pharrell’s “Blurred Lines” production as well as his work on G I R L, and puts those qualities in the more-than-capable hands of our reigning king of R&B. And praise the higher powers that Nicki Minaj is still generous enough to grace other artists with her presence, this time with yet another essential guest verse. Her most quotable line: “He only lasts six seconds like a Vine”. Both artists are back atop their respective genres, and “She Came to Give It to You” is the green light at the top of the mountain.

(Hip-Hop Wired)

CURRENT: Nicki Minaj – “Pills N Potions”

Let’s take a trip down memory lane for a second; back on the last day of 2013, superstar rapper Nicki Minaj released her remix of PTAF’s “Boss Ass Bitch,” completely annihilating the track. Then, a couple months laters, she hopped on Young Thug’s “Danny Glover” remix, showing the kids how to effectively commandeer a preexisting track. “Lookin’ Ass” and “Chi-Raq” followed, both further pushing Minaj towards her rap-based persona.

She has a new album on the way, and she just dropped the first single, the change-of-pace “Pills N Potions”. She’s one of two artists in hip-hop that can do a song like this and fill it with genuine emotion, the other being Drake. “I still love / I still love / I still love” she emphatically sings during the chorus, showing us a new side to her pop tendencies. Because before, with songs like “Super Bass” and “Starships”, while fantastically infectious, there weren’t many layers to those recordings. But with “Potions”, Minaj has effectively married her two musical genres, as much as hip-hop heads have claimed they must remain mutually exclusive. Nicki Minaj knows better.

The Pink Print is set to drop later this year.

CURRENT: Nicki Minaj – “Lookin’ Ass Nigga”

At first hinted at during her guest verse on the remix of Young Thug’s “Danny Glover,” Nicki Minaj’s recently released video for new single “Lookin’ Ass Nigga” is set for inclusion on Young Money’s compilation album Rise of an Empire, as well as Minaj’s own album, release date TBA. The hard-hitting, no holds barred verses she spat on PTAF’s “Boss Ass Bitch” as well as “Danny Glover” remixes end up sounding like child’s play when heard next to this most recent of singles. There are so many quotable bars it would seem unfair to single out one. An incredible production sets the serious tone of the track, while Minaj eviscerates the competition. Arguably her best rhetorical strategy for asserting her dominance comes in the simplest terms, as she raps, “Bitch I’m ME!” Now, more than ever, that’s all that needs to be said to defend Nicki Minaj’s growing legacy.