Erica Banks and Baby Tate are some of the latest Female Rappers to get upset about not getting a Nicki Minaj feature. Why is a collaboration with Nicki Minaj so important to newer Female Rappers, even in the second decade of her career? In this post Blessing Mukosha breaks it down.
The Nicki Minaj feature is at this point an essential for Female Rappers on the rise. They all seem to consult Nicki first, and above all others when looking for an artist to collaborate with and boost their profile. We’ve seen almost every Female Rapper who wants to touch the mainstream either get, request or ask for a Nicki ft when they are introducing themselves to the world.
However, past experiences with Cardi B and Motorsport and Megan Thee Stallion after Hot Girl Summer have understandably made Nicki Minaj reticent towards collaborating with Female Rappers. Although, she has had very successful collaborations with a verse on Doja Cat’s ‘Say So’ Remix , BIA’s ‘Whole Lotta Money’ Remix and ‘Blick Blick’ with Coi Leray in the past two years.
Things can get slightly odd though when Female Rappers appear to want to only use Nicki Minaj’s name for a feature, and switch their energy towards her when they don’t get what they want – as Rappers Baby Tate and Erica Banks were recently accused of doing.
So why is a feature from this one woman in such high demand, even nearly 15 years after her debut into the music industry?
Nicki Minaj is a unique Female Rapper who has been active and prominent consistently for over a decade
Nicki Minaj is still the highest selling, and most followed/engaged with Female Rapper. Whether or not they like to admit it, Nicki Minaj is the influence and muse for this entire generation of Female Rappers. She is competing with the artists she influenced to Rap, and so a feature has only increased in value.
Whether as an act of homage, or to show that they can compete with her and are ‘different’ enough to deserve attention – the Rap girls recognise the importance of laying down a verse side by side next to Nicki Minaj.
Because she is an OG, she gives advice and support to every Female Rapper she works with. This can be very beneficial to a new Female Rapper: Megan The Stallion confirmed that Nicki helped her reorder the verses on Hot Girl Summer, though they didn’t release the collaboration UK Rapper Ms Banks confirmed that Nicki helped her improve her lyricism and delivery, and BIA confirmed that when she went to the studio with Nicki she gave her tough love and inspired her to push her pen even harder.
Some of these feature requests are manipulative
The issue is that the Rap girls KNOW from the INSIDE that Nicki Minaj is disrespected, and so they think that by being nice to her and giving her what’s she deserves as a bare minimum she should give them a platform that they haven’t earned/worked for yet.
This relates to the Nicki Hate Train conversation, and the ongoing ‘Nicki Minaj Problem’ that the industry has. This ties back to entitlement: the Rap girls feel entitled to a Nicki Minaj feature, because they are aware that within the industry she doesn’t get the respect and flowers that she deserves. They approach asking Nicki for a feature as if they are doing HER a favour by asking for one, or naming/mentioning her. In reality, they’d like access to her fanbase, and that is where artists get in trouble for ‘pandering’ to the Barbz and Nicki Minaj (something I discussed in Ep #4 of my Podcast, CLOUT IS NOT CURRENCY).
This is the difference between Baby Tate and Asian Doll – two Rappers who have been vocal about Nicki Minaj being an inspiration, have had acknowledgements but haven’t had a feature yet. Whereas Asian Doll is happy to wait her time, and hasn’t changed her tune towards Nicki Minaj in the 5+ years she has been active, Baby Tate threw a tantrum because she was hurt that Nicki had not responded to her DM’ed feature request, and was following another Rapper ‘Cuban Doll’ but not her. BIA – who eventually did get a remix verse from Nicki, had been sending her DMs, unreplied, for YEARS until she got through.
The Rap Girls are not asking Nicki Minaj to work – they are asking for charity and that comes with asking her to do work via the DM
Another point is why Rappers think that feature verse requests in the DM are going to get a response – why not pay and go through the proper channels? This links to a comment that Nicki Minaj made in her interview with Joe Budden – where is her equity and percentage share for the careers that she is expected to support on her back? Is there really a value exchange for Nicki Minaj by doing these Rookie Rap girl features?
This ties to a wider theory I have about major labels not wanting to lose the market share over Female Rap to Nicki Minaj and tying up all the Female Rappers she could have signed, and controlling their access to budgets for features: probably why they have to consult the DM and can’t access her through proper channels – because their label would not support it.
It makes sense that a Nicki Minaj feature is highly coveted, she is the biggest and best Female Rapper alive with an incredible fan base. However, requests for features from Nicki are not always genuine, or made through appropriate channels where Nicki can be paid for the value she brings. It seems Nicki is expected to support all other Female Rappers above being supported/compensated herself.
Drake also does features with upcoming artists, but in his case these artists are not being signed and groomed by an industry machine to look like, sound like and take his entire brand. These features almost always benefit Drake by giving him a new sound to tap into, and a new generation of listeners.
As Nicki Minaj owns the biggest Female Rap fanbase, and is the style others copy – these collaborations almost always come at her expense.