When Terror Squad rapper Remy Ma dropped a blistering diss track directed explicitly at Nicki Minaj, the music world not only took notice but grabbed popcorn to watch what’s now being touted as one of the most significant rap beefs ever. What’s important to remember, however, is that this feud between two of rap’s most talented female emcees is actually several years in the making. Here’s what you need to know.
February 2006: Remy releases her first studio album, There’s Something About Remy: Based on a True Story, which raises her profile as the first lady of Big Pun’s Terror Squad and a dexterous rapper in her own right. On the track “I’m,” she declares, “I’m the queen of rap and there is none higher.”
July 2007: Minaj releases her mixtape Playtime Is Over which includes the freestyle “Dirty Money.” There are a few bars on the track that could be interpreted as a diss against Remy’s claim that she is “the queen of rap.” One of the lines in question reads: “Tell that b—h with the crown to run it like Chris Brown/She won three rounds, I’mma need a hundred thou/Oh, y’all ain’t know? Bet y’all b—hes know now.”
Feb. 23, 2010: At this point in the timeline, it wasn’t only a feud that Remy Ma was asked to address when it came to possible ties to Minaj. She also went on record to shut down rumors that she and Minaj had a romantic relationship during a Hot 93.7 interview with Jenny Boom Boom. In the same interview, Remy says that she’s “happy for her…I like Nicki.” No animosity here…yet.
May 2010: During an interview from jail, Remy tells a story about confronting Minaj about the lines from the “Dirty Money” freestyle. “When I seen her at her party, I was like, ‘Yeah, what was that line about?'” Remy said. “To this day, I think it was a stab at me. That’s what you do in rap, and I’m cool with that.”
Aug. 3, 2014: After being released from jail, Remy joined Funkmaster Flex for her first post-prison interview. During the interview, Remy says that Minaj was supportive of her during her incarceration. “Even when you get to people like Nicki, throughout my entire bid, numerous times I’ve seen interviews she’s done where she like, ‘Free Remy’ or ‘tell Rem holla at me,’” she said. “So, I could definitely say on my behalf, I haven’t gotten any shade from any of them. Old school, new school, nothing.” Remy also expressed a desire to make a record with Minaj and other female MCs.
Aug. 20, 2014: When asked by Ebro Darden on Hot 97 about the “Dirty Money” conversation she had with Minaj, Remy Ma elected to keep the talk private. She was, however, generous with her praise for Minaj. “What I can say is that she’s a wonderful woman,” she said. “She’s on the same page with me. Like, there’s no need to tear somebody down. I can say what I said. I let her know that I’m super proud of her.”
Dec. 10, 2014: Remy releases a freestyle over Minaj’s 2014 song “Only.” However, true to her interview with Hot 97, she doesn’t take any shots at Minaj.
March 2015: Remy Ma releases a freestyle over Minaj’s 2014 hit “Truffle Butter.” Some view her opening lines as a subversive diss toward Minaj, especially since Remy remixed her song. “I’m like in a minute let me body b—hes’ records/Yea, for the millions I will kill these pop h—s/Ain’t no one in these streets like me and potholes/’Bout to put yall all out of business, shop closed.” Hot 97 and others interpret Remy Ma’s choice to call out pop artists as a hit on Minaj, who had been pegged in the past for her pop crossover appeal.
June 27, 2016: Remy Ma squashes rumors of a beef when she congratulates Minaj via Twitter on her win for Best Female Hip Hop Artist at the BET Awards.
Sept. 17, 2016: Less than three months later, Remy Ma’s sharp cypher at the BET Hip Hop Awards is perceived as another diss toward Minaj. In the clip, Remy reminds everyone that she’s the “queen of NY” and uses the phrase, “I’m a mothaf—kin monster,” in the same manner as Minaj does during her explosive feature on Kanye West’s “Monster.” Fans take to the Internet (most notably, the forum Lipstick Alley and Twitter) to discuss whether or not Remy was throwing shots at Minaj.
Nov. 11, 2016: Remy releases “Money Showers” with her Terror Squad collaborator Fat Joe. On the song, Remy calls out an opponent who refers to herself as the “queen,” a title that Remy says she doesn’t deserve. “B—h claiming she the queen, what? Not hardly/Who the f–k gave you your crown b—h? Steve Harvey?”
Nov. 22, 2016: On a remix of Phresher’s “Wait a Minute,” Remy raps about a rival that some fans perceive to be Minaj, according to XXL. On the track, Remy claimed that her female rival has “that ghostwriter bout to call her,” which some fans believe references the ghostwriting allegations that have surrounded Minaj in the past.
Dec. 8, 2016: Remy Ma and her husband Papoose appear on Funk Flex’s show on Hot 97. During her freestyle, Remy seems to reference Minaj’s signature phrase, “all these b—–hs is my sons” in her line “all this talk about my son and your son/I’m hot and your whole world revolve around me—b—h, I am the sun.” Papoose concludes his freestyle by rapping that “there can only be one queen.”
Nov. 21, 2016: Remy Ma and Papoose take a photo with Minaj’s ex Safaree Samuels, who had said he helped co-write some of Minaj’s early work. Samuels has since claimed that he ghostwrote many of Minaj’s hits, including “Feeling Myself”and “Only,” leading some to speculate that this gives Remy’s claims some extra weight tied to Minaj.
Feb. 23, 2017: Less than a week later, Minaj releases verses on two different songs, Jason DeRulo’s “Swalla” and Gucci Mane’s “Make Love.”
On “Swalla,” Minaj calls out an unnamed rival, saying that she had two years—a number that could correspond with the time that Remy Ma has been out of prison. “I gave these b—hs two years, now your time’s up/Bless her heart, she throwing shots, but every line sucks.”
However, it was Minaj’s verse on Gucci Mane’s “Make Love” that had the Internet buzzing with the notion that she appeared to be dissing Remy Ma and the less-than-stellar sales of Remy’s latest album with Fat Joe, Plata o Plomo, despite the fact that Remy got her first Platinum hit last year with the album’s single, “All the Way Up” — “Oooohhh, oh you the qu-e-e-the queen of this here?/One platinum plaque, album flopped, b—tch, where?”
Minaj also doubles down on her boast that she is the “queen of rap,” in another verse: “You see, silly rabbit, to be the queen of rap/You gotta sell records, you gotta get plaques/S, plural like the S on my chest.”
Feb. 25, 2017: Minaj’s indirect shots must have hit a nerve because 48 hours later, Remy releases “ShETHER,” a nearly 7-minute diss track that directly calls out Minaj. Set over the instrumental from Nas’ seminal track about Jay Z, “Ether,” Remy unloads on everything from ghostwriting rumors to plastic surgery gossip. True to her Breakfast Club statement, Remy is explicit about her track’s target, calling Minaj out in the style of Nas’ original. The cover art directly calls out Minaj by featuring a dismembered Barbie doll, a reference to Minaj’s “Black Barbie” alter ego.
To make sure there’s no confusion, when Remy shares the song on Twitter, she includes Minaj’s handle.
Feb. 26, 2017: Minaj responds to Remy’s blistering diss track by posting an Instagram video of Beyoncé calling her the rap queen.
March 2, 2017: Remy Ma releases a second diss track titled “Another One,” where she calls out Minaj for not yet responding to “ShETHER” and references Nicki posting photos from a video shoot instead of releasing her own diss track. “Now they so busy shooting videos, and I’m like nah/ Where the f–k is your song?/ I mean, come on.”
March 3, 2017: Remy Ma goes on The Wendy Williams Show to discuss her diss her tracks in detail, for the first time since she released “ShETHER,”, explaining she created them because of things she says were happening “behind the scenes.” She dressed all in black, implying that her outfit was funeral attire. Remy later said she wasn’t going to speak any more about Minaj, because her grandmother told her “to never speak ill of the dead.”
March 10, 2017: After two weeks since Remy’s first diss, Minaj releases three singles; one of the tracks, “No Frauds,” which features Minaj’s Young Money compatriots Drake and Lil Wayne, appears to address Remy’s “ShETHER” diss track with lyrics like “I don’t need no, frauds/I don’t need no, drama when you call/I don’t need no, fake/Soon as I wake up keep an eye out for the snakes, yeah.” Minaj then took to Instagram to further express how she felt about Remy Ma and explain why it took her two weeks to respond to Remy’s diss track.
June 9, 2017: During a listening party for 2 Chainz’s album Pretty Girls Like Trap Music, a clip of Minaj’s verse on “Realize” was played. The lyrics take shots at Remy by insinuating that Remy’s husband Papoose wrote the lyrics to “Shether” and pointing to Minaj’s own record-breaking achievements.
June 25, 2017: At the 2017 BET Awards, Remy dethrones Nicki’seven 7-year run as the Best Female Hip Hop Artist. Lest anyone think that this isn’t a development in the femcee beef of our time, Remy opens her acceptance speech with lines from “Shether.”
The next night, Nicki (who coincidentally skipped the BET Awards) performs two of her own Remy Ma diss tracks (“Realize” and “No Frauds”) while appearing at the NBA Awards. She also posted an Instagram that listed all of her accomplishments as a rapper, in case the public needed reminding after Remy’s win.