Since the jaw-dropping explosions and swift aftermath that broke the internet this past Monday (Oct. 29), both the Barbz, Bardi Gang and indifferent bystanders are racking their brains trying to figure out how we, alongside Nicki Minaj and Cardi B, ended up here. Though the tension has since ceased, for now, between the rival femcees, the start of this war is murky.
Some say the feud began as early as March 2017 when, according to MediaTakeOut, the Queens-bred rapper co-signed a comment slamming a budding Cardi’s freestyle as “dumb ass bars.” During this time, Nicki also signed her contract with Wilhelmina Models. Yet, in May of 2017, Nicki “name-dropped” Offset, Cardi’s then-rumored beau, with these eyebrow-raising bars— “Silly rap beefs just get me more checks/My life is a movie, I'm never off set/Me and my amigos (no, not Offset)/Swish swish, aww I got them upset” —on Katy Perry’s “Swish Swish.”
In a video that has seemingly been scrubbed from the internet, Bardi allegedly addressed how “fake” people in the industry are and how she was better off addressing critics directly. “I hate this sh*t, I really, really do… When somebody used to be fake to me it was cool because I could approach a b*tch and punch her right in her closure,” she began.
“Now that I’m in the industry, you don’t work like that... You gotta see people play you and just say nothing like a d*ck. That sh*t is so wack my n***a like that sh*t be breaking my heart because the people, your idols become rivals,” a subtle reference to Rick Ross’ diss track about Birdman.
Ongoing nemesis of the “Barbie Dreams” rapper, Remy Ma hosted a full femcee reunion during her Hot 97 Summer Jam set, which included Cardi B, prior to performing “shETHER” with Nicki memes as her chosen aesthetic, according to music critic Jon Caramanica. Bardi released her career-changing hit, “Bodak Yellow” days later.
Yet, in July 2017, Cardi's social media accounts were hacked and someone posted direct jabs at Nicki, "hi @nickiminaj you ain't sh*t compared to me..."
Though noted social commentator Joe Budden attempted to make something out of nothing and Nicki’s verse on “No Flag” had many side-eyeing the Queens-bred phenom— “Lil’ b*tch I heard these labels tryna make another me/Everything you getting little h*e is cause of me” —she denied the bars were about Cardi, while the Bronx-budding icon spoke to Billboard and stated she ain’t want no smoke. Instead, her focus was (and still is) making money.
In September 2017, "No Limit," Cardi B's hit with Oakland-bred emcee G-Eazy, dropped, and these bars sent Barbz into an aggressive frenzy. Bardi said, "Can you stop with all the subs? B*tch, I ain’t Jared/If you really want some smoke, you can pull up, you can get it,” but denied they were direct shots at Head Barb.
The two rappers seemed cordial in the public eye with celebratory sentiments, but Nicki's ex-boyfriend Safaree didn't think things were as genuine as they appeared. Due to their longterm history, he claims he knows her too well and could see right through her "facade." Safaree said she was "100%" upset over Cardi's "overnight success," but with her status, "One thing you can't look like out here is a hater."
Barbz and Bardi Gang were in shambles amid the song's release. Even with bars like this from Cardi, "Why would I hop in some beef (Why?)/When I could just hop in a Porsche?/You heard she gon' do what from who?/That's not a reliable source, no." Despite both femcees denying any ill feelings against each other, a month after the drop, Cardi revealed that Nicki changed her verse last minute. As the lesser of her two co-stars, she sat with Capital XTRA to discuss how the collab came into fruition.
Taking to her classic Instagram Live, she doesn't specifically name-drop the big time rapper who opted out of having her on a song, being the then hip-hop neophyte, but fans are still trying to unravel that mystery. From then until spring 2018, Nicki dealt with her breakup from hip-hop legend Nas while Cardi had to discredit rumors that she stole her single, "Be Careful," from fellow New York emcee Pardison Fontaine, born Jordan Thorpe.
The Invasion of Privacy femcee sat with Ebro Darden of Beats 1 and alluded their rumored beef was fan-driven and mentioned her deal with popular millennial brand Fashion Nova. Meanwhile, the “Chun-Li” rapper sat with Zane Lowe of the same platform to tearfully explain how Cardi hurt her during their “Motorsport” collab and Quavo denied speaking on the rumors. Nicki stated, "I really, fully supported her and up until this recent interview I did, I had never seen her show me genuine love in an interview and I can imagine how many girls wish they could've been on a song with [me]."
Also, receipts were dug over Nicki changing her verse moments before the song's debut. The bar that had Cardi ready to throw in the towel was "if CARDI the QB, I'm Nick Lombardi," insinuating Nicki is her head coach and the "Bartier Cardi" rapper wasn't feeling. It was changed to, "if Quavo the QB, I'm Nick Lombardi..."
Around this time, "Drip" featuring Migos became a single and that had controversy of its own. According to reports, trap phenom Future was originally featured on the song, but Nicki made him back out due to their joint tour. Fewtch denied ever agreeing to be on the original, so those alluding Nicki was the reason he was off the album version are false. He is featured on its remix.
Cardi clarified their feud and dubbed it as non-existent. “I never was feuding with anybody. There was a misunderstanding," she began. "I think she felt a certain type of way about something. I definitely felt a certain type of way about something. Didn’t want to ever talk about it in public because I felt like we are going to see each other again and we will talk about it. It’s always like little issues.”
Despite "Woman Like Me" premiering in October, screenshots dating back to July, British pop group Little Mix proposed a collab with Nicki, completely refuting Cardi's allegations.
Reports swirled that the Pinkprint femcee shelled out $5,000 for a lavish gift basket for the new mom moments after she gave birth. Yet, Mrs. Cephus quickly halted that rumor from spreading. In August, while Nicki was promoting her album Queen, she mentioned their Met Gala conversation and said she sent the "Foreva" star a text message thanking her for not feeding into "anymore bullsh*t." In spite of this, a few bars came across as subtle jabs aimed for the Bronx native.
On "LLC," these bars hinted at the accusations Cardi was using payola for radio play, “We don't pay n***as to front like they like my sh*t/We don't pay n***as to come in and write my sh*t." "Ganga Burns" alluded more towards that ghostwriting rumor, "At least I can say I wrote every rap I spit/Put my blood, sweat and tears in perfectin' my craft." At the 2018 Video Music Awards, Bardi directly addressed the payola allegations during her acceptance speech.
The volatile altercation during New York Fashion Week was fueled over a "tweet" allegedly liked by Nicki denouncing her parenting. Cardi's number was leaked "one hour" after the fight and days later, their blows turned virtual while both rappers blasted each other on their respective platforms. Nicki's Diesel collab dropped around the same time. Later that month, Queen femcee meme'd the notion that she was "stopping bags" and even sold merch.
Bardi was rumored to be in the studio with Nicki's ex-beau, Meek Mill. Despite Nicki accusing Cardi of lip-syncing while she unleashed wrath on the Barbz, this past week was when the bomb that ended the war detonated, even the CEO of Wilhelmina hopped into the warfare while Cardi dug up receipts that Nicki's Diesel deal was initially hers.
(Photos from left: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic, Bryan Steffy/Getty Images for Drai's Beachclub-Nightclub)