Nicki Minaj has never been one to shrink from the spotlight, but in recent weeks the rapper has taken things to a new level, as though physically dragging the spotlight around in a little red wagon wherever she goes.
The blunt rapper doesn’t mince words and now, in the wake of the belabored release of her fourth album, “Queen,” Minaj is more confrontational than ever.
Maybe too confrontational, though?
“Queen” was originally scheduled for release in June, then rescheduled to Aug. 10, then pushed back to Aug. 17 due to a rights issue, before landing on its actual Aug. 10 premiere date. The new music dropped just after the debut of the rapper’s Beats 1 radio show “Queen Radio,” which went on air the day prior.
Since then, “Queen,” “Queen Radio” and, of course, good old social media have all been platforms that Minaj has been using to both promote her projects and register complaints about music, the world in general, and sometimes babies.
But things have gotten extreme lately. Even for Minaj.
“Barbie Dreams,” the third single off of “Queen,” started a firestorm after its Aug. 14 release, due in part, to the rapper sounding off on a laundry list of fellow artists including Drake, Meek Mill, Eminem, DJ Khaled and 50 Cent.
That day, Minaj also managed to get into a lengthy Twitter spat with ex-boyfriend Safaree Samuels, whom she accused of stealing her credit cards. In turn, Samuels accused Minaj of stabbing him. Also, the “Starships” singer supposedly paid to fix Samuels’ hairline. It was a whole thing.
Now, fighting with an ex is pretty commonplace, especially on Twitter. But things really started going off the rails for Minaj a few days later.
When Travis Scott’s “Astroworld” debuted at No. 1 ahead of “Queen” last Sunday, Minaj was less than impressed. She shared her (extensive) thoughts on Twitter.
Yes, this is when her beef with a baby begins.
For the uninitiated, Scott is currently involved — and has a 6-month-old daughter, Stormi — with reality TV star and entrepreneur Kylie Jenner. Minaj brashly accused Scott of exploiting Jenner and the baby for commercial gain.
“I put my blood sweat & tears in writing a dope album only for Travis Scott to have Kylie Jenner post a tour pass telling ppl to come see her & Stormi,” Minaj tweeted. “Lol. I’m actually laughing.”
Oh no, Nicki. Not baby Stormi. Leave the baby out of this.
The rapper went on to attribute Scott’s success to selling album bundles with merchandise and stated that she had spoken with him and “he knows he doesn’t have the #1 album in AMERICA!”
“Queen,” for the record, debuted at No. 2 in the U.S., according to the Billboard 200 album chart.
The next day, Scott, Jenner and Minaj all awkwardly avoided one another at the MTV Video Music Awards, where both artists performed and Minaj won best hip-hop video for “Chun-Li.”
But wait, there’s more!
Minaj was back Tuesday on “Queen Radio” joking (probably) that her real feud was with Stormi.
“Me against baby Stormi,” Minaj said. “We have this rivalry now.”
(It was a good and funny joke that based on Minaj’s recent erratic behavior didn’t at all seem like it could be a fact. She was still heated about Scott, though.)
Those concerned about ongoing Minaj/Jenner relationships can rest easy knowing that the former clarified her feelings about the latter on Thursday.
“We’re not gonna start a dumbass cat fight,” Minaj said on her radio show. “This is strictly about music. She has nothing to do with this. She supported her man as she should. My fans and I aren’t feeding into this. We love Kylie.”
Jenner has yet to weigh in on this ongoing catastrophe.
Later in the day the rapper announced that her North American tour had been postponed — not canceled — as she “decided to reevaluate elements of production on the ‘NickiHndrxx Tour.’”
After urging her fans to excoriate a Billboard writer who wrote a piece saying the tour was canceled, Minaj went on to clarify that she was merely reversing the order of her tour, to do the European leg first. Because she wanted to rehearse more. Because the album was delayed. Or something.
Also, the New York Post had reported that ticket sales for the NickiHndrxx Tour were in the crapper, but that was definitely not a factor in Minaj’s decision.
But still, the rapper persisted in the face of adversity. On Friday’s “Queen Radio” the artist gave Scott’s co-manager Irving Azoff an ignominious title and accused him of attempting to sabotage her.
“Allegedly, he tried to put out a smear campaign against my tour,” Minaj said, “and contacted people in the media to spread negative things about my tour.”
OK, as of this posting, that’s it. That’s Minaj’s last — give or take — two weeks.
What is happening there? Minaj is a proud, powerful rapper with the ability to spit rhymes with the best of them, but lately her diatribes are coming so fast and furiously that I’m left legitimately concerned.
Maybe she should unplug for a little bit. Take a vacay. Catch her breath before launching right into a tour. Enjoy the victory of a new album. Because all this is a lot.
Still, whatever sparked it, there’s a good lesson to be learned from whatever Minaj is experiencing right now: