Controversy sells. Just ask Eminem: Besides his novelty skin color, cocksure flow, and Dr. Dre’s beats, his career was launched on a series of scathing tirades on any celebrity who happened to be in the line of fire. Moreover, mixtapes are now the foremost means of keeping an artist relevant in our topsy-turvy musical climate. Just ask Lil Wayne: His express production and distribution of a seemingly constant stream of new material has ensured he’s never too far from public consciousness. Kim’s Black Friday, then, is the mixtape that ticks both boxes, geared toward arresting her decline into obscurity with a barbed, relentless attack on urban music’s latest It Girl.
Though Nicki Minaj isn’t the first female to feel the wrath of the fork-tongued Kimberly Denise Jones, her serving is perhaps the fiercest to be dished out to date. On “Black Friday,” a not-so-subtle spin on the title Minaj’s Pink Friday, Kim drops torrential abuse for five minutes while hardly coming up for air. There are some pert jabs dotted among the tactless insults, but for the most part, it’s a senseless rant. “Black and yellow will pull up in your ghetto/Giuseppe’s when I step out, posted up in stilettos/Pussy so pink like my kitty saying ‘hello’/If I whistle, they’ll pistol-whip you in all five boroughs” is the sharpest Kim ever gets, while lines like “I leave you bloody like you menstruated” are indicative of the inane rhymes that saturate the rest of the album. “Pissin’ On Em” is a woeful reworking of Minaj’s already poor “Did It On ‘Em,” while “Hustle Hard” is a similarly dreadful take on Ace Hood’s track of the same name. Even for a mixtape, a medium in which samples are often recycled unchanged, Kim’s lack of originality is painfully evident.
Indeed, if this is supposed to be ammunition in the battle for crowning hip-hop’s queen, then it isn’t a war worth winning. As was the case with Kim’s beefs with Foxy Brown and Eve, it’s clear she believes there’s only enough room for one woman in rap music, and that any argument is based on this presumption robs it of all relevance. Kim’s incessant avowal to being the alpha and omega of her field has been decaying for some time now, which is why Black Friday feels even more redundant: It’s the same old Lil’ Kim shtick, just with a different victim.