Did Usher, 41, just throw shade at Nicki Minaj, 37? In an Instagram live chat with producer Swizz Beatz, the pair got chatting about potential upcoming Verzuz battles fans are begging for — including a few involving the legendary Lil’ Kim. “I see a lot of, Lil’ Kim versus Foxy Brown. Then I see a lot of — Lil’ Kim versus Nicki? I see a lot of that,” Swizz said to Usher, who responded, “Nah, Nicki is a product of Kim.” Ouch! While Nicki’s Barbz — a nickname for her loyal fans — took it as an insult, others realized Usher was referencing that the two talented ladies come from different generations of hip-hop: Lil’ Kim was a trailblazer for female emcees in the 90’s, while Nicki didn’t hit the scene until well over a decade later.
“You already trending on Twitter right now, by the way,” Swizz quipped as soon as Usher made the comment. “This is the Verzuz effect, king. I see you trending on Twitter! This is special, this is fun,” he added. Interestingly, Usher has worked both Lil’ Kim and Nicki in the past: Kim appears on his My Way tune “Just Like Me,” which came out in 1997, and he teamed up with Nicki for 2010’s “Lil’ Freak.” The Nicki collaboration arguably helped put the rapper on the map, as it dropped several months before her massively successful debut album Pink Friday.
Fans of Nicki and Kim were divided about Usher’s comments, and took to Twitter to express their thoughts! “Barbz refuse to admit there would be no Nicki Minaj without Lil Kim. Even I can admit there would be no The Weeknd and Bruno Mars without Michael Jackson. GIVE CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE! RESPECT YOUR ELDERS AND THE LEGENDS THAT CAME BEFORE YOUR FAV!” @LandOfXO tweeted, while others were quick to defend their Queen Barb! “comparing lil kim to nicki at this point is disrespectful. last time i checked nicki was #1 on billboard. nicki queen of rap,” Nicki stan @nickisdaughter1 posted.
Other fans reposted a clip of Mary J. Blige from an old documentary to clear the air! “Lil’ Kim paved the way for a lot of female rappers. She ushered in the Cardi B‘s and the Nicki’s — she was always ahead of the game,” Mary says in the interview. “She gave other women courage to just be themselves and not be apologetic at all…the men had to respect her because she was able to stand toe-to-toe with some of the greatest male rappers in the business and she opened the door,” the R&B legend added.