As is the case with the longstanding debate of the hip-hop G.O.A.T., the same argument for who wears the queen of rap crown still goes on.
The controversy was thrust to the forefront by way of Remy Ma and Nicki Minaj’s fiery femcee feud, however, and both ladies went bar-for-bar to snatch the crown with their respective diss tracks. But if we’re getting into the root of the debate, the real question is whether such a crown should even exist. And who better to hear that from than femcee veteran Queen Latifah herself?
The Grammy Award-winning rap royal bumped elbows with Hot 97 for the second time this year with Ebro in the Morning. The nearly 40-minute interview went into all things Queen, like her star role in the upcoming film Girls Trip, her Summer Jam performance in June, the current state of hip-hop and the femcee circle of the genre.
Queen revealed that the surprise appearance at Hot 97’s annual music fest came about after she was told that Remy asked for her stage assist, which she agreed to. However, to her pleasant surprise, she had no clue that the other legendary ladies of hip-hop would be showing up as well. Lady of Rage, MC Lyte, Lil’ Kim and Cardi B were just a few of the rap starlets she shared the stage with as the women joined forces for femcee “U.N.I.T.Y.”
“This was a class reunion for me,” she said. “Remy gave me my own class reunion.”
Unfortunately, not everyone saw it that way. With Rem’s anti-Nicki beef still heavy, and growing even thicker when she performed the scathing “shETHER” diss record live, some fans jumped to the conclusion that the rap leading ladies were picking sides.
“I didn’t really care,” Queen said of the speculation. “Like I said, I didn’t know it was all of us, so I didn’t even really think about that. People can think and say whatever they want to say. This wasn’t really a moment for all of that. This was a moment for us and for hip-hop.”
Queen also recalled first hearing Remy’s diss track, which sampled Queens-bred rap legend Nas, while she was in Switzerland. Fellow femcee Missy Elliott sent it to her, and her favorite part about it wasn't the beef, but the bars. And when it comes down to it, there really isn’t a need for the former.
“Let me tell you something: I support females in hip-hop,” Queen declared. “I always have, I always will — there’s room for all of us. And nobody, to my knowledge, that’s younger than me invented this. So you don’t get to claim it. You don’t get to rule it. This is all of ours. All of ours. And my name is Queen, so what am I supposed to get into everybody throwing the queen thing around? Come on, it’s stupid.”
She expanded on her sentiments by reminding that the most important thing is for femcees to have a space for themselves in hip-hop with radio play and having their voices heard. According to her, just one lady snatching up all the credit is counterproductive, to say the least.
“Nicki was like the only one, practically,” she said of recent women’s spots in hip-hop. “And that was never cool with me. I’m like, ‘What about everybody else?’ This can’t be a movement, we can’t keep this thing going with one person. We need a bunch of us.”
As an artist from femcee rap’s golden days, Queen recollected her time collaborating with her fellow lady hip-hop artists. When all femcees come together, she stated, they elevate together, and that’s needed now more than ever because they are outnumbered by male emcees.
The rest of the conversation is spent touching on the mens’ section of hip-hop as well, to which she echoed Jay-Z’s sentiments about giving the rap youths a chance to catch up. She even sent a shoutout to Drake for helping advance the millennial rap generation.
The Queen hath spoken.
Hear her full hip-hop declaration in the video below.
(Photos from Left: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic, David Livingston/Getty Images, Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for TNT)