FEATURE: Bad Blood: The Toxic World of the Twitter Feud




Bad Blood


IN THIS IMAGE: Nicki Minaj and Cardi B/IMAGE CREDIT: Getty Images  

The Toxic World of the Twitter Feud


I might have time to concoct something…


 PHOTO CREDITS: Getty Images

a bit more ‘Hallowe’en-y’ later today but, as I have already done a Hallowe’en playlist; I feel like I should address something a little more serious and worrying. There is nothing new about artists taking to social media to rip shreds out of one another. The latest news-courting feud is between U.S. stars Nicki Minaj and Cardi B. A fairly new development has been reported:

Cardi B has accused Nicki Minaj of leaking her phone number to the public, which led to death threats against her daughter.

In one of a series of Instagram videos, Cardi B accuses Minaj of the leak following an altercation at a New York fashion week party that left Cardi B with a bruised forehead after she reportedly threw one of her shoes at Minaj. “How come my phone number got leaked one hour after that altercation at the Harper’s Bazaar party?” Cardi B says. “How come everybody that y’all have issues with, y’all have the numbers in your camp and they numbers got leaked?”

She goes on to show text messages she received after the number became public, including one that reads: “We coming to find you and your daughter. We ain’t resting till we kill Kulture”, her daughter with rapper Offset. She describes Minaj as “sick in the head”.

Minaj has denied leaking the phone number, saying: “I’ve never leaked a number in my life and y’all continue to lie on me to make me look like a bad person.”

Minaj has since tried to move on from the dispute, tweeting: “Let’s focus on positive things only from here on out”, with Cardi B agreeing, saying on Instagram: “Alright then! Let’s keep it positive and keep it pushing!

Not only is the feud between these two artists quite petty and unexplained but it seems like there are going to be severe repercussions from their spat. I am not sure who will come off worse in this feud but you wonder what is truly motivating it. This escalating war between the artists has, already, seen scuffles, mean exchanges and quasi-threats and many have claimed it is nothing but a bid for supremacy. Whether you consider Nicki Minaj or Cardi B as the Queen of Pop/R&B; you do not particularity want them going at it all the time and taking attention away from the music. Maybe that is part of the idea: gaining publicity and traction and creating this hype. You can sense the intentions and dislike is real but things have escalated to such an extreme length that death threats are being reported. It is okay if artists have a beef with one another but, when you open it to the unedited and capricious shark tank of social media, you are inviting a world of trouble! Twitter is especially notorious when it comes to superfans getting carried away; random trolls kicking off and assorted freaks seeing how far they can take it. Cardi B released her album, Invasion of Privacy, and it scored big with critics. Nicki Minaj released her record, Queen, in August and, whilst an accomplished record, it did not fare as well with reviewers.

Throw into the mix there were delays and problems with sample clearance and, at least for now, Cardi B has that commercial and critical edge. In terms of the ignited and escalating Twitter feud; you wonder where it will end and, indeed, what toll it will take on the artists. Some might write all of this off as tantrums and cynical publicity but, when things get as serious as death threats and endless insult; it goes too far and exposes those artists to something toxic and horrible. If you want the chronology and story of the Nicki Minaj v. Cardi B feud; here is an article from an exasperated reporter – who gives the timeline to us:

So, if you’re like me, and want to find out what happened so you can quickly go back to “not caring about it,” here’s your cheat sheet, presented in chronological order:

Nicki hops on “Queen Radio” on Monday afternoon to address rumors that her security team beat up Cardi B at the Harper’s Bazaar Icons event during New York Fashion Week. Nicki claims pal Rah Ali punched Cardi B “9 or 10" times. The Queens rapper paid $100,000 for surveillance footage of the fight that night, as well as claiming she had video of her own.

Nicki claims Cardi prevented her husband, Offset, and rapper 21 Savage from collaborating with Nicki on the “No Flag” video, and kept 21 Savage from doing a remix to “Krippy Kush.”

Nicki denies that she leaked Cardi’s number to her Barbz, which Cardi’s sister, Carolina Hennessy, alleged.

Cardi responds to alladat in an epic 10-video Instagram rant Monday night, countering that she:

Did not stop Nicki’s bag or practice payola (and threatened to sue Nicki for defamation of character for alleging so),

Did not get beat up by Rah Ali (and would never lie about such a thing when there were so many “footages”—a real word!—of the incident),

Called Nicki to discuss issues around “Motorsport,” the song on which they both featured (and displayed Nicki’s alleged phone number in the process—yikes! Cardi!),

Was initially offered Nicki’s Diesel jeans partnership before Cardi passed on the offer (people still wear Diesel jeans?), as well as declining a chance to feature on a Little Mix song Nicki eventually featured on….


Cardi invites Nicki to talk it out or just fight already.

Nicki counters back, on Twitter and in Instagram comments, tapping her inner Maury Povich and inviting Cardi to take a lie detector test on her podcast, and accuses the Bronx hit-maker of not writing her verses.

For some reason unbeknownst to anyone with common sense, Wilhelmina CEO Bill Wackermann waded into the tumultuous Instagram waters and claimed the Diesel campaign was always built around Nicki.

Cardi, apparently perched on Instagram like a merciless macaw, quickly posts receipts—i.e. emails of the Diesel contract offered to her. She also forgets to blur out the email accounts (Cardi! Think of the notifications! The overflowing inboxes! The rabid Barbz! The humanity!).

Wackermann deletes his Instagram account post, because bruh. No one wants that Nicki/Cardi crossfire smoke.

Nicki continues to ask Cardi where her pen’s at.

Cardi asks Nicki where her #1 songs are at.

We reach peak “everything is funny right now” and everyone’s face melts off.

Nicki decides she’s done with all this mess and, depending on how you feel about her, decides to a) tap out or b) be the bigger person and says she “won’t be discussing this nonsense anymore.”

Cardi concurs, saying “let’s keep it positive and keep it pushing.”

The person (or people) running The Shade Room’s Instagram account finally exhales and rests their weary fingers, which had been flying for the last 4 hours (seriously, we owe y’all a drink...or 10).

People who think “females” only started rapping in 2010 find something else to do with their time (or not)”.

Something less catty and just as serious is the ongoing war between Eminem and Machine Gun Kelly. The two have exchanged diss songs and it seems there is this intense beef and heat that threatens to ignite once more! On the song, No Reason; Machine Gun Kelly provides a low-key shade of Eminem – some of the lyrics not as cryptic as he’d hope! One line, “To remind y’all you just rap, you’re not God” is a direct reference to Eminem and it seems like, in this case, there is professional jealousy. Rap Devil also came out and poured more fuel on the fire! Back in 2015, Machine Gun Kelly was banned from radio stations following inappropriate comments aimed at Eminem’s daughter, Hailie, and her looks. Hallie was about twenty at the time and it was seen (the comments and lust) as a step too far. Turn this back as far as 2012 and, at aged sixteen. Hailie was subject to more attention from Machine Gun Kelly. He claimed she was “Hot as f*ck” and, considering the age of consent in the U.S. is eighteen; there is something seedy and pervy. There is no surprise Eminem has taken umbrage at Machine Gun Kelly and their feud, for the most part, has been in the press and through songs. Eminem seems to be the bigger man in this case but is clearly unhappy about Machine Gun Kelly and his attitude.


 IN THIS PHOTO: Machine Gun Kelly/PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Considering what could happen between the Hip-Hop/Rap artists if it did spill out into the public; you have to wonder whether steps need to be taken to resolve the problem or keep them apart. I am not suggesting they have crews that will attack one another in the street but, again, the feud has been highlighted on Twitter and like the ‘CarNaj’ debacle; one feels things are going too far. You see these artists taking strips off of one another and it is so unseemly and sets a bad example. There are young fans who are seeing and hearing words from Eminem and Machine Gun Kelly and it does rather leave a bad taste. Maybe, again, there is that need to gain press focus and escalate so that the music sells well. Machine Gun Kelly can shade Eminem in song and that will get him millions of YouTube streams. Eminem can retort and that will push his profile and, like days past, you have this feud that is being played out in music. The feud in music is not a new sensation at all. Classic bands like The Beatles and The Beach Boys have seen their leaders separated and spitting cruel words at one another. Although Paul McCartney and John Lennon resolved their differences; Lennon took to the press after The Beatles dissolved in 1970 to attack McCartney’s overbearing nature in the studio.


 IN THIS PHOTO: Paul McCartney and John Lennon/PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

McCartney provides a subtle stab-back in 1970 but it many saw this attack coming – tensions in the camp of The Beatles has been growing since 1968. Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour and Roger Waters have been balkanised and divided for years and Ray and Dave Davies have been at each other’s throats since the 1960s. The Kinks’ surviving members recently shared the stage for the first time in years and many are speculating a reunion. Other music feuds, including that between Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, is seen as pretty serious but the lack of social media intervention/input means, in a way, the fire has been contained somewhat. Maybe social media is not to blame for feuds exacerbating and becoming vile but it does not help. There is a more humorous side to some of the feuds. The brothers Gallagher (Liam and Noel) might have been a bit spicy and intense during their Oasis heyday but now, as slightly ageing Rock gods; they are taking to Twitter to jab at one another. Although Liam is keen for an Oasis reunion; he cannot help poking Noel and taking the piss when the moment calls. It is quite funny the brothers have this unbreakable sense of conflict but you know, underneath it all, they love one another. There have been some recent feuds that have, one hopes, come to an end.


 IN THIS PHOTO: Remy Ma/PHOTO CREDIT: Shareif Ziyadat/Getty Images

Rolling Stone ran a piece about, again, Nicki Minaj and her feud with Remy Ma. The battle had been rumbling for a while but things started to intensify around 2017:

Remy responded by launching an all-out assault with the seven-minute diss epic, “ShETHER,” which took aim at Minaj. “I’m jealous? Bitch, you was happy when they took me/Best thing that ever happened to you was when they booked me,” she seethed on the track.

Remy gave Minaj a 48-hour deadline to respond to the song, which she did – sorta. Instead of a response track, Minaj shaded her on Instagram by posting a (since deleted) screenshot of Plata O Plomo‘s “disappointing” album sales with a caption reading “yikes.” She also shared a video in which Beyoncé, pop royalty in her own right, acknowledged Minaj as a “rap queen” on her rework of Prince’s “Darling Nikki.”

Remy dropped an equally brutal diss track four days later, “Another One,” and continued the taunting with a (since-deleted) throwback Instagram photo of Minaj captioned “#B4TheButtJob.” Addressing the feud on The Wendy Williams Show the following day, Remy, resplendent in funeral attire, quipped, “My grandmother told me to never speak ill of the dead.” Minaj eventually came for her with some help from her Cash Money friends Drake and Lil Wayne to serve up the “#3PackFromPARIS,” a trio of diss tracks led by “No Frauds.”

Remy scored her biggest triumph at the 2017 BET Awards in June, when she ended Minaj’s seven-year run as the Best Female Hip Hop Artist. She paused during her acceptance speech to rap a few victorious verses from “Spaghetti,” an anti-Minaj Plata O Plomo album cut. The following day, Minaj chose to perform two of her Remy disses, “Realize” and “No Frauds,” at the NBA Awards”.


 IN THIS PHOTO: Katy Perry/PHOTO CREDIT: Covergirl

Maybe not as spiked and potent as the current feud between Nicki Minaj and Cardi B; two other mainstream females, Katy Perry and Taylor Swift, were at each other’s throats for ages. Here is this history of the war between Swift and Perry:

The bad blood apparently started flowing back in 2013, when a dancer named Lockhart Brownlie (who had toured with Perry for her California Dreams world tour in 2011) was interviewed for Australia’s The Examiner. During the interview, Brownlie admitted that he and two other dancers stopped working for Swift on her Red tour after Perry called and invited them to come join her on her Prism tour instead.

"I was with Taylor for the first six months [of the Red tour]," he explained. "It was a great experience and she’s a great person to work with, but then Katy contacted us. We weren’t really dancing in Taylor’s tour anyway, so I had got a little bored and I really wanted to do a promo tour."

So yeah, that happened. Then, in a 2014 interview with Billboard, fans thought Swift basically confirmed that her hit song "Bad Blood" was about Perry and the whole debacle. Of course, she didn't actually say Perry's name, but fans drew their own conclusions. Here's what she said:

She did something so horrible. I was like, 'Oh, we're just straight-up enemies.' And it wasn't even about a guy! It had to do with business. She basically tried to sabotage an entire arena tour. She tried to hire a bunch of people out from under me. And I'm surprisingly non-confrontational – you would not believe how much I hate conflict. So now I have to avoid her. It's awkward, and I don't like it.

Whoa. Things only got worse from there. After Swift got herself into a Twitter war with Nicki Minaj over the VMA nominations in 2015, Perry used the opportunity to weigh in and throw some serious shade Swift's way…

A year later, Perry got dragged into a different Twitter fight — this one between Swift and her ex Calvin Harris. In July 2016, shortly after the two broke up, the news got out that Swift had secretly co-written Harris' hit Rihanna collab "This Is What You Came For." Harris went on Twitter rant about how Swift leaked the credit in order to tear him down. "I know you're off tour and you need someone new to try and bury like Katy ETC but I'm not that guy, sorry," he wrote in a since-deleted tweet. "I won't allow it."

Perry responded with a subtweet that featured a gif of Hillary Clinton, because of course she did”.

It seems like any bad blood between the has ended – or cooled at the very least! Another Taylor Swift-featuring feud was her standoff with Kanye West. To be fair; Kanye West initiated things and made it worse but it is another case of this toxicity spilling into song – there were potent and laced tweets from West (and Swift) that brought in fans and seemed to take it to another level. Rolling Stone show where it all went wrong:

Then he dropped The Life of Pablo in February 2016 and everything went sideways. The track “Famous” made waves for the line: “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex/Why? I made that bitch famous.” The collective national gasp had barely faded away when he released the accompanying video in June, which featured nude wax figures of several West-related celebrities – Swift among them – in bed next to a replica of himself and wife Kim Kardashian. Protestations from Swift’s camp were blunted when Kardashian leaked a videothat appeared to show West clearing the offending lyric with the singer…


Swift posted a lengthy note to her social media accounts objecting to the use of the word “bitch,” which had not been discussed previously. But that was just the preamble for her earthshaking “Look What You Made Me Do,” a lethal revenge track released in late August 2017.

Though West isn’t mentioned by name, the lyrics are littered with hints about its target. “I don’t like your tilted stage,” she sings, seemingly alluding to the slanted set West used during his Saint Pablo tour, and the faux phone call proclaiming, “the old Taylor is dead” recalls the taped call controversy. The final scene of the music video features Swift mockingly reenacting the VMAs moment while pleading, “I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative” – her famous rebuke to West’s “Famous” controversy, thus confirming that West is at the top of her enemies list. In red. Underlined”.

Although a lot of these feuds are played out more through music; it is coming into social media and Twitter is playing a big role. Sending a sarcastic, insulting or baiting tweet is an easy way of getting things heated and, as I mention, fans of each party are having their say. It catches on in the press and this attention seems to fuel the fire and leads to escalation. Wherever you look, there seems to be sort of beef playing out through Twitter. Azealia Banks and Lana Del Rey have not been immune to Twitter wars:

Allegedly, it all started when Azealia Banks took to Instagram at the end of September 2018 to lambaste Lana Del Rey for speaking out against Kanye West and for doing, what Banks claimed, was "bootleg witchcraft." It was nearly two weeks before Del Rey finally responded via Twitter, saying: "Banks. u coulda been the greatest female rapper alive but u blew it. dont take it out on the only person who had ur back…


IN THIS PHOTO: Lana Del Rey and Azealia Banks/PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images  

Banks fired back immediately, and on an otherwise calm afternoon on October 9, the internet sat back and watched as the two music artists lashed out at each other with a barrage of petty shots and insults. Del Rey threatened to "f*ck you the f*ck up," then Banks responded that she felt "powerful," cryptically plugged her line of soap, the followed it up with some detailed body shaming, accusing Del Rey of having plastic surgery - but not enough of it - and advising her to invest in appetite suppressants. Del Rey, in turn, clapped back, announcing she would give Banks the number for her psychiatrist and creating a new trending hashtag, #uneedanewcocktail, in the process”.

There are many other occasions when there have been spats and misjudged comments on Twitter and it seems like the social media channel is a perfect place for misinterpretation, escalation and general spitefulness. We have seen some brief battles and Twitter feuds and long-runners like that between Taylor Swift and Katy Perry that, we hope, has burned out. The long-standing and intensifying war between Nicki Minaj and Cardi B got into my head and it seems like things will get even uglier in the weeks to come. Maybe there is something petty and childish about the retorts and comments but it does not take too long before one takes it too far and something serious happens. There have been recent development, whether they are true or a red herring, that suggest the feud between Cardi B and Nicki Minaj might be over. ELLE reported the news:

The great Nicki Minaj and Cardi B feud has come to an end after less than two months. The two rappers, whose Harper's Bazaar ICONS party fight (where Cardi B allegedly threw her heel at Minaj after she believed Minaj liked a tweet insulting her parenting) really started their public war with each other, came to peace last night on Twitter and Instagram—but not without some drama first.

Yesterday Cardi B called Minaj a liar on her Instagram stories after Minaj said on her Queen Radio show that she was innocent regarding multiple aspects of their fight, per The Cut. Minaj then suggested Cardi B take a lie detector test with her on Twitter (and also promoted her new music video because of course):

Let us hope this reports are well-founded and they are going to bury the hatchet. I wonder whether things will spark back up and whether one sly comment can get that fire burning. Twitter seems to be this platform where artists can air their grievances and it can escalate so quickly. Whether there is that commercial aim or the publicity is the only way of staying in the public eye; it leaves a bitter taste and I do wonder what the point of it all is. I am not sure how many other Twitter feuds are going on but every one of them seems to be pointless and they all get out of hand before you know it. As we have seen already; if things get carried away then it can turn really ugly. I know the Twitter feud is a way of airing beefs without getting physical but, when it is all said and done, you have to ask yourself…


 IN THIS PHOTO: Nicki Minaj and Cardi B/PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images/Kevin Tachman

IS it all worth it?!