Nicki Minaj has become increasingly known for her participation in beefing with other artists. However, Minaj didn’t always have such a bad reputation. When the rapper arrived on the scene, she seemed a likeable, benign character. However, it wasn’t until Lil Kim popped up that we heard shady stories about how Minaj managed to push herself into the forefront.
Aside from her featherweight 2012 diss track ‘Stupid Hoe’, Nicki Minaj didn’t pay Lil Kim much attention at the beginning of her mainstream career. However, what lit the fire for Nicki was when established hip-hop figureheads began to critique her music.
It’s fair to say that Minaj has never responded well to criticism regarding her music and pays attention to the press. It is undeniably true that she works hard on her music. However, she put herself in a precarious position when she entered the pop-rap world. Making music with tracks like ‘Super Bass’ that can appeal to a hip-hop and pop audience is exceptionally tricky, and Minaj has had both hits and misses.
For her 2012 album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, Minaj sought to carry on down the pop-rap route that worked incredibly well for her 2010 debut album. However, the album was a little pop-heavy for many of her hip-hop audience, including radio host Peter Rosenberg.
Born and raised in the suburbs of Washington DC, Peter Rosenberg began his career in radio through his university campus radio. Here he hosted a late-night hip-hop show, From Dusk ‘Til Dawn. With quite a knack for hosting from university, Rosenberg transitioned straight into Maryland local radio DJing on various Maryland stations, including WPGC, WHFS and WJFK-FM.
As a hip-hop lover and personality (akin to DJ Akademiks), Rosenberg also began making waves online through videos. His presence as a hip-hop radio personality on America’s East Coast got him recognised by Ebro Darden. Ebro Darden was the programme director at New York City’s HOT97 radio and would go on to hire Rosenberg.
As a powerful voice in hip-hop, by 2012, Rosenberg was co-host of New York City’s most popular urban morning radio show, Ebro In The Morning. Furthermore, he had his own late-night radio show, Late With Peter Rosenberg, as well as his own YouTube series in partnership with Complex called The Process. This meant that he had multiple platforms to spread his views, and in 2012, one thing that he publicly declared his hatred for was Nicki Minaj’s new single, ‘Starships’. He did so on multiple occasions.
Produced by the EDM artist Red One, ‘Starships’ was not well received by hip-hop fans as the lead single of the album. Fans lashed out at Minaj for releasing what was dubbed a “techno-pop” record, and Rosenberg did not hold back in addressing Minaj. While hosting HOT97’s annual Summer Jam Festival, Rosenberg speaking to the crowd, proclaimed, “Before I get to the real hip-hop shit of the day, ’cause I see the real hip-hop heads sprinkled in her, I see ’em! I know there’s some chicks here waiting to sing ‘Starships’ I’m not talking to y’all right now FUCK THAT BULLLSHIT!”
On the Cipha Sounds & Rosenberg Show, Rosenberg further attacked Minaj as he stated, “Can I just keep it 100? Let me keep it real about my girl Nicki Minaj. Nicki loves reminding us every chance she gets that she’s an underground rapper from Queens, and for us hardcore hip-hop fans, I think it warms our collective heart when we hear something like that. She is real hip-hop. She’s from Queens, the birthplace of Run-DMC and Nas. But the day after the Grammy’s, she decides to drop a new heatrock and you knew this was gonna be hip-hop because you know she’s in Queens and she’s hanging out with all her boys from Queens”
Referencing ‘Starships’, he continued, “Is that Nicki Minaj or Katy Perry, tell me!! I mean no disrespect to Nicki Minaj, but it was nice having you in hip-hop….I am a hip-hop, and to be frank, this song here, ‘Starships’, is literally one of the most sellout songs in hip-hop history!”
Following this, Minaj demanded an interview at HOT97 with Rosenberg one on one so she could refute his claims and address him face-to-face about his critiques and where he really stands in hip-hop history. She looked to ground him and remind him of his stature. Below you can hear Peter Rosenberg’s scathing comments about Minaj on the Cipha Sounds & Rosenberg Show and watch their tense and awkward one-on-one interview.