Never one to miss an opportunity, Nicki Minaj just dropped the video for “Barbie Dreams,” a few days after Cardi B threw a shoe at her at a Harper’s Bazaar party at New York Fashion Week. It features fabulous neon wigs and a solid amount of puppets. But in the video’s comments—and in ongoing exchanges in the tabloids—it’s obvious the once-veiled feud between the pair is not going to die. So now we’ve taken upon ourselves the slightly depressing work of trying to understand it.
It started in 2017, as so many things do, with an errant Instagram like. Minaj appeared to like a comment on the platform that dismissed a Cardi verse as “dumb ass bars.” Minaj’s fans claimed it was Photoshopped. This became a minor news event, setting off sketchy rumors about the rappers’ rivalry that, of course, they both adamantly denied.
Fan-driven speculation followed about potential references and disses on various other tracks. On her guest appearance on London On Da Track’s “No Flag,” for example, Minaj sings, “Everything you getting little hoe is ’cause of me.” Minaj denied she was referring to Cardi, and the “feud” remained mostly imagined; everyone’s shoes are still on at this point. Minaj even congratulated Cardi for a historic No. 1 single.
The rappers then came together with Migos for the song “MotorSport,” which should have further defused the rumors. But there was speculation that the collaboration was forced on them, since their appearances on the video were recorded separately. Minaj claimed it was a scheduling conflict; then Cardi said she agreed to be on the song because Minaj’s “verse wasn’t finished.” Later, Minaj said the comment “hurt” and that Cardi had, in fact, “begged to be on ‘MotorSport.’ ” She added: “I have never seen her show me any genuine love during an interview. I just see how many girls wish they had been on a song with Nicki Minaj.” This seemed pretty feudy, but Cardi later told Howard Stern it was mostly engineered by the media. (“They just so thirsty to put women in hip-hop—not just women in hip-hop, color women—against each other.”)
And then, the shoe. On Friday, Cardi lunged at Minaj at the fashion week party. According to TMZ, Minaj was “cool as a cucumber,” which is probably because she was surrounded by bodyguards. Cardi was escorted out with a bruise on her forehead, reportedly from one of those bodyguards, and a torn dress.
Since then, Cardi posted on Instagram that the altercation happened because Minaj had questioned her ability to parent her daughter, which Minaj denied. Minaj says the whole thing was “mortifying and so humiliating”; Cardi, as of last night, reportedly said she has no regrets. We wish we could say the same.