We can pretend like we don’t see it about to happen but it’s inevitable.
As inevitable as Jay-Z vs. Nas, Drake vs. Kendrick, LeBron vs. Steph and any other clashes that involved the absolute tops of their respective games when faced with the arrival of a fresh face.
And the best OGs are always the ones that are all-inclusive.
They’re not Patrick Ewing who back in the days and after a hot performance reported told recent Knick recruit Allan Houston, “You had a good game, but remember this; around here, I’m the man.”
In a team situation, they want as much help lifting the burden as possible and when they’re all alone, they’re always cordial if not downright welcoming to newcomers.
Remember how LeBron, with Bosh and D Wade by his side, went out of his way to prop up young Steph Curry?
Remember how Jordan himself took Barkley out to dinner when their teams were playing against each other in the ’93 Finals?
Remember how Pac let Big get shine back when Pac was the known entity and Big was the nobody?
That’s how it’s done.
And Nicki Minaj, to her credit, usually gets that part of it right.
I mean, she has had missteps like the subs she sent at Iggy Azalea from that BET stage, but then again, that was Iggy Azalea who both didn’t and couldn’t clap back and Nicki proved Nostradamus at least as far as Iggy’s career prospects were concerned because we haven’t heard from her since.
And, of course, there was the “thing” with Remy Ma where Remy just relentlessly and aggressively went off on young Nick, dissing her repeatedly in two (or more) horrific assaults.
And this was after Nicki had gone out of her way to publicly plead for Remy’s freedom (from incarceration), making it clear that she at least, had and felt no beef and making it seem like there was enough room for all and enough for everyone to eat in female Hip Hop.
Her response to Remy was the old “I’m bigger than you” meaning that she didn’t condescend to directly respond at all.
She took a couple sub shots but was either shrewd enough on her own or taking sage advice from her handlers, decided that Remy’s point was like a fire with nothing to feed on.
Unless you threw gas, it would die on it’s own.
Now Cardi B has become the thing that we must talk about.
And it isn’t just because she’s had that brash I-wanna-fuck-her-mouth, eat-her-ass perspective from the time that she arrived on the scene in Love and Hip Hop.
It was the promise.
Could she MC?
She looked the part, talked that shit and, as a former stripper, had the street – well, pole – credentials of authenticity that we were looking for but could she spit?
“Bodak Yellow” has proven that she can at least, make a hit.
As time passes and they’re drawn into the inevitable clash that simply has to happen because second place is only a spot occupied thoroughly begrudgingly, will Nicki’s veteran savvy and established appeal keep her above Cardi or will Cardi pull a Michael Corleone, clearing Nicki and all the old-timers outta her path?
Right now, believe it or not, I’d say the ladder.