BET Awards 2023: Breaking Down the Biggest & Most Star-Studded … – Billboard

When Nicki Minaj first took home the BET Award for best female hip-hop artist, the 2010s had just begun, Barack Obama was enjoying the halfway point of his presidential term, and the Queens rapper was mere months away from unleashing Pink Friday, her much-anticipated debut studio album, upon the world.

The 2010 race was Minaj’s to lose; her fellow nominees — while all talented in their own rights — simply could not match the “Bedrock” breakout star’s momentum. Ester Dean, an instrumental collaborator on Minaj’s 2011 hit “Super Bass,” could only boast the Chris Brown-featuring “Drop It Low” as her sole single as a lead artist going into the June 2010 ceremony. Lil’ Kim, who picked up three prior nominations in this category between 2001 and 2006, had not released a studio album in five years, due to her finishing out her prison sentence. Rasheeda was coming off her first Billboard 200-charting album, Certified Hot Chick (No. 89), but she was nowhere near the burgeoning crossover sensation that Minaj was at the time. Finally, Trina headed into the race off the strength of her No. 13-peaking Amazin’ album, and she had not placed a single as a lead artist on the Hot 100 in half a decade. Minaj, who was riding high on massively successful singles like Ludacris’ “My Chick Bad” and her own “Your Love,” was the inevitable victor.

Nicki Minaj’s 2010 best female hip-hop artist victory was the beginning of seven consecutive years of domination. While she faced formidable opponents in some of those years (Azealia Banks, Iggy Azalea, Young M.A., and DeJ Loaf among them), Minaj just as often faced competitors that were laughably out of her league in terms of commercial and cultural impact. Take her 2011 victory against “B.B. (Boss Bitch)” rapper LoLa Monroe, or her triumph the following year over “Shake It to the Ground” rapper Rye Rye. Nicki’s victories became so predictable that her “fake surprised” reactions to her wins became a running jokeon social media.

Even before Nicki’s streak began, however, the best female hip-hop artist category was in something of a drought. The category was suspended for the 2007 ceremony, and the 2009 ceremony boasted just three nominees in the category. In the years following her streak, Minaj remained a fixture in the category, but faced heartier competition from the likes of Remy Ma (who won in 2017), Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion (both of whom have bested Minaj twice in the past five years).

This year’s lineup, which features seven of the most successful and defining women in contemporary hip-hop — the largest number of nominees the category has seen in its 22-year existence — is a far cry from the uneven playing field of 2010. In fact, it is a lineup where, for the first time in some years, every nominee is a genuinely plausible winner. Comprised of Minaj, Cardi B, Coi Leray, Ice Spice, GloRilla, Megan Thee Stallion and Latto, this year’s best female hip-hop artist lineup boasts a rising generation of female rap talent, as well as the two now-iconic artists who helped paved the way for them.

The bulk of this year’s nominees are the progeny of a combination of Minaj’s top 40 navigation skills and Cardi B’s social media savvy, making them worthy competitors to the two previous victors. Moreover, the lineup reveals the ways in which hip-hop’s emphasis on regionality has helped bolster the simultaneous sustained mainstream success of multiple female rappers, after so many years where a single artist towered over the conversation, for better or for worse.

Ahead of this Sunday’s BET Awards, Billboard breaks down the resumes of this historic group of best female hip-hop artist nominees and their respective cases for taking home this award.

This post was originally published on this site