A short audio track spread across the Web like a forest fire a couple of days ago, as Nicki Minaj reignited her feud with rival rap diva, Lil Kim. The dis track, entitled “Tragedy,” is allegedly an incomplete cut from Lil Wayne’s upcoming album, Tha Carter IV.
With both Nicki Minaj and Lil Kim having backgrounds in acting, it seems appropriate to describe the conflict in basic dramatic terms. Â Both Nicki and Lil Kim suffer from what is known as hubris, or excessive pride, which is a common theme in Greek drama. Â Hubris, a necessary element in the hip hopping world, has lent its hand in various rap feuds such as the beef between Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G., 50 Cent and Kanye West, Weird Al Yankovic and Coolio.
In “Tragedy,” Nicki Minaj satirizes Lil Kim’s boast of selling 113K copies of her “Black Friday” mixtape on PayPal. Â Nicki refers to the rapper as “tragic,” short for “tragic hero,” which describes a privileged character who is led to catastrophe by her own tragic flaw. Â Although Nicki has the upper hand, her rhymes are watered down in this latest sample, hardly leaving a dent in her supposedly washed up antagonist. Â This parallel offers the audience a form of dramatic irony. Â Nicki’s words hardly hold a flickering candle to Lil Kim’s harsh albeit immature and bitter parody of “Pink Friday.”
Something else to pay attention to is the allusion “Black Friday,” makes to a catastrophe. Black Friday often refers to the Friday after Thanksgiving, the most violent day of shopping for Americans. Â Lil Kim simultaneously accuses Nicki of being a product of the commercial market, and an omen for impending catastrophe. Â In Greek tragedy, catastrophe represents the approaching denouement of a play, wherein the intricacies of the play are unraveled and resolved. Â Unfortunately for Lil Kim, the prophesied catastrophe has not been at work in her favor. Â Nicki has continued to monopolize the market for female rap vocals, and Lil Kim is hardly anywhere to be found.
“Tragedy,” the snippet which has put an end to an apparent lull in the feud, has blown up and spurred a great deal of controversy among fans of both Nicki Minaj and Lil Kim. Â An article atÂ MTV documented the eloquently articulated fan banter. Â Nicki’s supporters have been saying, “Niki runs sÂ—t over kim! Sorry Kim youre done! You should have quit when my dude 2pac DISMANTLED YO ASS!” On the side of the underdog, fans argue that,Â Â“Niki is extremmely wack. Kim is going to wup the the silicones out that tramp.Â”
Nicki once said, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. You don’t have to feel the need to put somebody down to make yourself feel better.” Â Prior to “Tragedy,” Nicki was applauded for her mature grip on the situation, but theÂ premature leaking of this track makes it unclear just how firm that grip was. Listen to a sample of “Tragedy,” atÂ BlackBook and decide for yourself which character’s hamartia will lead to her tragic downfall.