The 10 Best Pop Music Shade-Fests Of 2015

Kathy Iandoli | December 22, 2015 9:00 am
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Tis the season to be… shady? 2015 was a powerful year for music, but drama didn’t exactly take a backseat. The ether was strong in the atmosphere, as artists feuded with each other, with everyone else, and even with themselves. It trickled into the music, the #squadgoals, oh and of course into social media. But you know how the story goes — sometimes these things get uber-sensationalized and everyone is tuned into a fight that basically never happened. Or did it?

Hey, either way we’re here for the fiction and the non-fiction, and this year had enough to fill some shelves (or frames in iBooks). So let’s take a look back at some of this year’s most infamous feuds. Some were carried over from 2014, while others were brand new and may continue well into 2016. Healing takes time, people. Seriously though, can’t we all just get along?

Nicki Minaj vs. Everybody

Before we launch into this whole shady round-up, here’s a huge disclaimer: a lot of people fucked with Nicki Minaj this year. Nicki endured tidal waves of shade — some of it warranted, some of it petty. So in honor of her year of darkness, let’s deep dive into her shadiest moments first. This is a story with many chapters.

Chapter 1: Taylor Swift vs. Nicki Minaj

Gather ’round the campfire, kids. So the Prologue to this shady novel began with Nicki Minaj vs. MTV. When the nominations for Video of the Year were announced, “Anaconda” was conveniently not listed. Nicki wasn’t having it and clapped back on Twitter to voice her frustrations. Through a series of tweets, Nicki alluded to women with “slim” bodies, and “other” girls, to which Taylor Swift took it as a direct insult (her video for “Bad Blood” was nominated… and ultimately won). “I’ve done nothing but love & support you,” she tweeted to Nicki. “It’s unlike you to pit women against each other. Maybe one of the men took your slot.” Nicki responded confused, considering she never mentioned Taylor’s name. Taylor offered to invite Nicki on stage with her if she won (semi-shade, tbh), and the internet all dove in. The result? These two made peace timed perfectly with a performance mash-up at the awards show ceremony. No harm, no foul. Right?

Chapter 2: Miley Cyrus vs. Nicki Minaj

WRONG. Someone should move the New York Times to Las Vegas, because every time someone shows up to talk to them, it’s like a winning slot machine. Everything falls out. In August, Miley spoke to NYT and the interviewer asked her about Nicki Minaj’s issue with her video for the single “Anaconda” not being nominated for Video Of The Year at this year’s VMA’s (Miley was the host as you already know). Her response to Nicki’s suggestion that the snub was race driven was… complex. “What I read sounded very Nicki Minaj, which, if you know Nicki Minaj is not too kind,” Miley told The Times in addition to some layered yogi mantras about approaching your shade with love. Oh, kay. Fast forward to the VMAs, where Nicki accepted her award for the Best Hip Hop music video and birthed the now infamous phrase “Miley, what’s good?” (so long “I’mma let you finish…”). The exchange felt half-joking half-serious, but you know Nicki had to say something. Barbz have zero time for shade via sound bytes in interviews. This point was further proven when she spoke to the New York Times Magazine herself in October and told the interviewer “Do not speak to me like I’m stupid.” She also made another quiet jab at Miley in her interview.

Chapter 3: Azealia Banks vs. Nicki Minaj

So then… Azealia Banks had to comment on Nicki’s Miley name drop in her NYT interview, and chastised her rap predecessor for playing the victim. As we reported in October, Azealia hopped on Twitter for her commentary. “I wish Nic would stop trying to turn this Miley thing into a race issue cuz she was mute about cultural approp. until she became ‘victim,’” Banks tweeted. “Plus how u gonna complain about a video with skinny women when ur body is enhanced .. You too were once a skinny woman.” YIKES. Just a month prior, she called Nicki, Miley, and Taylor’s music “basic” so there’s that. Azealia takes no sides.