Updated: Apr 16, 2020
The "King of Rap" talk is long past that one lyricist who reigns supreme and probably hails from one of the five boroughs. Current Hip Hop fans are satisfied with the new era having three kings and not one being from New York. Similar to Beyonce, Rihanna, and Nicki Minaj, collectively known as "The Holy Trinity," Hip Hop fans have christened their kings "The Big 3." Kendrick Lamar, Drake, and J. Cole are viewed as the current kings of rap, who freely occupy different lanes within the genre.
Even with all three asserting their "King status," the media has not created a narrative that any of them "wants to be the only one," even if you can make an argument for that. They are allowed to "rule" from their respective lanes.
ONE HEAD, TOO MANY CROWNS
This is the type of mentality that needs to be taken with female rappers for the genre to stay competitive. While there have always been multiple female rappers,
the media's need to push this "there can only be one" narrative created limitations for not only the genre but for Nicki Minaj.
As diverse as Nicki Minaj is, critics and fans always want more. Folks require Nicki to be a street rapper, pop rapper, conscious rapper, sex talk rapper, introspective rapper, political rapper, feminist rapper, and on top of all that make sure "Roman" gets a verse too. It is an unfair burden for one rapper to carry. They say the crown is heavy, but damn this is crushing.
Furthermore, this one crown policy hurts the genre because Nicki Minaj is HUMAN. One female was not meant to be the "alpha and omega and everything in between" of an entire genre. This is no diss to Nicki. She succeeded where many have failed. She is the chosen one. However, one crown limits the genre to the health, impulse, and mood of one person. For example:
When Nicki gets sick - female rap is on bed rest
When Nicki takes a personal break - female rap sits idly by watching the men
When Nicki decides she wants to hang with Ariana Grande all day - female rap can't say, "thank u, next."
Nicki Minaj taking a break, like she currently is, causes much more restlessness with fans than when Kendrick Lamar takes his breaks. Female rap fans do not have a Drake or J Cole to lay some of their expectations on.
ONE LANE, TOO MANY QUEENS
Female rap fans have got to stop allowing a male-dominated media to dictate who is what within female rap. The press loved the drama Lil Kim brought to
Hip Hop and have been carrying her grudges for years. Many female rappers fell for the Okie-Doke, by believing that their success is bolstered by Nicki Minaj's downfall.
It is 2020, and you can't celebrate this female rap renaissance, and still support the "one crown" theory. Now that does not mean we start acting like Oprah and handing out crowns to every female Instagram rapper. Excellence is still required. The bar that Nicki Minaj and those before her have set will not be lowered to make record labels and ghostwriters happy. However, we do need to allow female rappers to blossom in their own lanes.
Hip Hop DX did an excellent breakdown of "The Three Lane Theory" using Kendrick, Drake, and J Cole as examples. FULL VIDEO HERE
Hip Hop Lane - J Cole
Hip Pop Lane - Kendrick Lamar
Pop Lane - Drake
These different lanes allow for growth and healthy competition between male rappers. However, women are restricted to ONE LANE. This only fosters resentment, jealousy, and blackballing.
Now, let's not get amnesia. Female rappers were able to find success in their own lanes in the 80s and 90s. The problem started with Lil Kim not being able to handle her decline as graceful as those before her. So all we have to do is re-open those lanes and, most importantly, make sure women can find SUCCESS in them. I stress the word SUCCESS.
UNSPOKEN TRUTH ABOUT THE INDUSTRY
Male rappers benefit the most from there being "one queen." Men in the industry will yell there is enough money for everyone, but what they mean is there is enough money for MEN. The rise of other female rappers does not hurt Nicki Minaj, any more than the rise of Da Baby. Men use Nicki Minaj and the "she wants to be the only one" trope to distract female rappers from the bag. While female rappers are focused on taking Nicki down, the men are signing money deals.
This is why men push the false narrative that Nicki Minaj had no competition because they do not want women to believe they can compete with them on the mic or for bags. Remember when Dream Doll diss Tory Lanez, and he bowed out because he did not feel comfortable rapping against a girl. But, he felt comfortable using her name in his diss to another man.
When I saw Megan Thee Stallion and Da Baby in the same commercial for Foot Locker, I was excited. I don't see brands, besides Fashion Nova, doing deals with multiple rappers at one time. Cardi B got a Pepsi deal. What male did she beat out for that deal? Men will allow one woman to make "money moves," but multiple female rappers...HELL NAW! Can you imagine if Megan, Maliibu, Asian Doll, Rapsody, Cupcakke, Lizzo, and Nicki Minaj were all dominating the charts, therefore being offered the big money deals? One Queen cannot fulfill all those offers.
Think about it...
TO BE CONTINUED...
This was not written to tell you who the queens of rap should be. That is determined by SKILL, DISCOGRAPHY, COMMERCIAL SUCCESS, AND IMPACT. I wrote this to spark a discussion about WHY are women limited to one lane, one Queen, while the men are benefiting from having multiple lanes and Kings? Is toxic STAN culture part of the problem?
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*Females using payola and fake beefs to promote their careers will always be peasants.