Minaj explained, “I used to say I wasn’t in a relationship even though I was in a 12-year relationship and now, I feel like going back to that and saying I’m single… For instance, Valentine’s Day passed and I didn’t put up my Valentine’s Day gift on Instagram. People said, ‘They’re not together.’ We were getting anonymous messages saying, ‘She wasn’t with him. She was crying all day.’ They put up all these things. Meanwhile, we were really in bed all day on Valentine’s Day.”
What did this little social media maneuver illuminate for Minaj? “That made me realize that no matter how great your life is, you can’t impress people,” she continued. “You just have to do you and make yourself happy and forget about trying to get everyone’s approval. It’s better to just keep those things sacred. So now, I don’t really care to say I’m in a relationship or I’m engaged or whatever. There’s a boy that likes me. That’s all.” In one fell swoop, Minaj managed to on-air dump her boyfriend of more than a year, while simultaneously reducing Meek Mill, a man who’s been to prison two times, to a little boy with an adorable crush.
Let’s go back in time—as I’m sure Meek wishes he could—to 2014.
Meek and Minaj had been digging each other’s music, but it took Meek getting booked for a real relationship to start. The unapologetically vague Minaj explained to GQ that, “when he went to jail I was left in a house my myself.” The two started kicking it on the phone, forming a “strong mental connection” that blossomed into a full-fledged affair. Minaj has famously said that she’s only been in three relationships in her entire life—and was with her ex, Safaree Samuels, for over 12 years. So when Meek and Minaj took it public, fans were immediately thrown by the quick turnaround. But trust, Nicki set them straight: “We were friends for a very long time and he was someone that I was able to really confide in. Nothing that we do is for TV. My decision to be public about my relationship came before I even met Meek. I was in another relationship and I said after I drop my third album that I don’t care anymore what people think. I’m going to be vocal about who I’m with. It just so happens that I’m with a new guy.”
So what caused Minaj to all of a sudden drop Meek—at least publicly—like a white girl at the “Formation” back-up dancers’ audition? For one, it hasn’t been all double-dates with Jay and Bey and beautiful sunset nights spent sipping Myx Moscato and listening to acoustic versions of “Only.” Meek and Nicki have hit their fair share of rough patches. Back in May, rumors spread that the duo was on the rocks after Minaj stopped wearing the diamond-on-diamond ring Meek bought her, and started posting a series of Instagrams of the “strong independent woman who don’t need no man” variety. These posts included a photograph of Minaj that quoted lyrics from another bomb lady, Beyoncé—“Thank God ya blew it!!! Thank God I dodged the bullet!!!!” Got to love when a grown ass lady just needs to act out her inner dumped high schooler.
And then, of course, there was the Drake feud. In July 2015, Meek Mill committed to one of the odder plays in recent hip-hop history, tweeting a long rant claiming that Drake doesn’t write his own raps. Drake, who definitely doesn’t have feelings for Nicki Minaj and definitely wasn’t sporting an awkward boner after that “Anaconda” lap dance, took the shade in stride and focused on his career and upcoming album. Just kidding! He went off. Drake responded with two quick diss tracks, an unanswered back-to-back whupping that served to cement his place as the No. 1 rapper in the game. He also gave us the gift of the line, “Is that a world tour, or your girl’s tour?”: a new universal shorthand for scrubs and the hard-working ladies who love them. Meek’s diss track was already moldy by the time he got around to dropping it, and was met with a general air of indifference and a host of dismissive memes.
This all adds up to a lot of dead weight for a woman who doesn’t usually let anyone or anything (Samuels, Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, clothes) drag her down. As Minaj has testified before, “I can’t stop working, because it’s bigger than work to me. It’s having a purpose outside any man.” One doesn’t have to look any further than her bravado verses on “Anaconda” to see that Minaj is winning the game that male artists have been playing for decades: using men as status symbols and sex objects, and dumping them the second they get in her way. It’s nice to be reminded that Minaj isn’t here to play games—she’s here to check white privilege, redefine BBW on a daily basis, and make great music. And she’s not going to skip a beat dumping a loser (on Ellen, no less!) the second she feels like dusting off that single status. While it’s hard to say what this news means for Meek and Minaj IRL, if there’s one thing that we do know, it’s that somewhere—maybe in the Hooters on Peachtree—Drake is buying everyone a round.