Rap beefs can be unpredictable things. Jay-Z and Nas's rivalry buoyed hip hop for nearly a decade, the infamous West Coast vs. East Coast rivalry is blamed for the deaths of Tupac and Biggie, and Drake and Common's feud resulted in a hug.
Enter Nicki Minaj and the ever-excitable Hot 97 DJ's. The former dropped out of the Hot 97 Summer Jam (one of hip hop's biggest concerts) Sunday. Minaj (and Lil' Wayne) were enraged by comments made earlier in the day by Peter Rosenberg, a Hot 97 personality. Rosenberg slammed Minaj's "Starships" as a pop song and suggested artists like Minaj have no place on the festival's stage. (Which, to be fair to Nicki, seems like a foul move. Hot 97 booked her to perform, then publicly bashed her integrity as an artist).
UPDATE: Hot 97 Program Director Ebro broke his silence on the matter on Rosenberg's morning show. He reiterated the station's longtime support for Minaj, detailed its history of drama with her label and explained what went down on the phone call between him and Lil' Wayne. The original story continues below.
Lil' Wayne, the Young Money Cash Money Billionaires label boss, immediately tweeted that he was pulling his artists from the show:
That's when things got really exciting. Nicki confirmed that she wouldn't be appearing (caution: graphic language):
And then legendary Hot 97 DJ Funkmaster Flex went ballistic, tweeting up a storm throughout the day and eventually bringing out pretty grandiose threats:
Eventually, Minaj called into Flex's show. The DJ and host is known for his "Flex rants," so part of this is pure schtick. (His fiery rant after DJ Clue beat him to debuting Kanye's "Mercy" is a gem). A lengthy conversation ensued, during which Flex grew more and more irate and Nicki Minaj appeared more and more reasonable. At one point during the argument, Flex had blasted Nicki's album sales, a poor decision that resulted in Minaj ably dispatching the DJ. From The Observer's transcript:
FF: Everyone was wondering if you were really gonna touch the stage. I’m just keeping it real with you. Nicki, look: There were people who were wondering if you were afraid to step on the stage. I’m not saying that’s how I feel, but people feel that way.
NM: Do you see the kind of places I’ve gone to? Did you see how many people we were with yesterday? We were two-hundred deep. Let’s not go there. There isn’t a bitch alive—and when I say bitch, I include men, because you’re a bitch when you act like that—that could scare me from performing a show. I get money. I get money. Flex…
NM: Flex…I’m not even going to say what could’ve happened yesterday, and please don’t interrupt. Relax. Relax. This is the real reason why I called you. You said something about my record sales.
FF: Yes, I did.
NM: And I want you to pull up your roster from everyone who was performing on your show. My first album sold 375,000 copies in its first week. My first album has gone on to sell 3.5 million records. My second album is at 900,000 worldwide, plus a three million selling single. If you don’t know, call Matt Voss at Universal, Flex, do the math, m-a-t-h, that’s one-point-two-million on my second album. Even without the single, I’ve sold. Three. Point. Five. Million. Albums. In Two Years. I want you before you ever open your mouth -- it’s so misleading, when I saw Foxy Brown, she said, Nic, why are they saying things about your sales when you’ve gone number one in four countries? You know who the last one to do that was, Flex? The person previous to me was Eminem in 2010.
Eventually, the two half made-up and Nicki hung up. Ms. Lauryn Hill came to Nicki's defense:
No disrespect to Nicki, but I need to clear up an inaccuracy. I was not scheduled to be a special guest on her set at Summer Jam, I was invited by Nas to perform with him. I don't have details on exactly what transpired between the station and the artists, but I do support artists standing by their beliefs, and walking with integrity. We have to find a better way to commercially exploit music, while giving artists their proper respect. This cannot be done while taking their contributions for granted, or trying to control the scope of their growth and power through threats and fear tactics. We can do better than this, there is a better way, or else 'we' (the proverbial we) find ourselves in danger of being hypocrites!!!
The beef appears to be mostly over, though Rosenberg still wants in:
Full Uncensored Audio Of Nicki & Flex's Conversation:
From earlier in the year, reactions to Nicki's latest album: