Keys Dissed Nicki Minaj to Save Hip-Hop

Baltimore isn’t a city known for its thriving hip-hop scene, but local MC Keys put the spotlight on her hometown with one controversial YouTube video. Her Nicki Minaj diss clip caught the attention of the online community but not everyone was a supporter. For every fan of her criticism of the Young Money princess there were 10 naysayers that attacked Keys, claiming that she was “hating” on Nicki’s success. Even G-Unit comedian Young Jack Thriller joined in the attack, criticizing Keys for being overweight.

Despite the negative backlash, Keys, who released an official video for her diss record, seemed to overlook it all, until Nicki Minaj delivered a subliminal diss via Ustream. Although Nicki never mentions Keys by name, she refers to “bum bitches” in the game taking shots at her. The B-More MC fired back with another YouTube clip and later linked up with rap veteran Lil’ Kim for a mini tour. With everyone on the Internet talking, caught up with Keys to discuss her career, influences and why she’s so mad at Nicki. The Nicki diss was the first time most fans outside of Baltimore heard of you. How long have you been in the game?

Keys: I’ve been in the game all of my life; I’ve lived and breathed hip-hop for as long as I can remember. I actually put out a mixtape before the Nicki Minaj diss and what a lot of people don’t now is the Nicki Minaj diss video was made in fun. I wasn’t out just to diss her, she came up in a conversation, I said I thought she was wack and decided to make a video; but I never dreamed it would get this type of response.

So there was nothing personal with the diss?

[Laughs] No, we were coming from the party and it was real spur of the moment. Honestly, the only reason it was her is because it was the topic of conversation.

In a previous interview, you were quoted as saying Nicki is all looks and no talent, but at the same time you have been on tour with Lil’ Kim, who is considered the pioneer of the Barbie movement. Can you explain to the fans the distinction?

It was important for me to do the shows with Kim and stand beside her to show my respect and pay homage to a female vet in the game. I don’t want fans to get it confused and think that I’m going to start walking around with pumps on and lingerie, I’m still going to be the same me regardless of who I am on stage with. Kim and I can only do so much together; we don’t fight the same fight or represent the same movement. My fight is about girls respecting themselves and their bodies by keeping their clothes on and not saying Kim’s isn’t but she is on a different page when it boils down to what we’re trying to do.

As a female MC, why do you feel it’s so hard for females in the game and what do you think can be done to change that?

I think it’s just hard for females to identify themselves in hip-hop period. When you have a genre that was primarily dominated by men pretty much since the creation and you have women that are coming in and don’t know their place, you’re going to see women who are hot and then drop off because in essence we are forced to be something we aren’t. As a woman in the game, you either have to be overtly masculine or hyper sexual and a lot of women find themselves trying to fit in one of the categories instead of trying to be themselves. In addition we also have women trying to fill the roles that the men are rapping about, if a man is rapping she got a donk and a woman like me comes up and says, “No, I don’t and I find that offensive,” people look at you strange, so you have to be willing to step outside the box in order to find happiness in what you do.

One of the last all-female records that was successful was probably Missy Elliott’s “Ladies Night” back in 1997. Do you think that women’s inability to band together contributes to the lack of staying power in hip-hop?

I think that our lack of solidarity does play a huge role in why there aren’t a lot of female MCs in the game. I think it’s also that women in general have a problem standing up for women. Look at the songs that are on the radio, most of us really don’t like those songs but a lot of women don’t stand up instead they ride the waves and go along with what a man says about us, but will bash another woman for saying that you can be better than you are.

Do you feel that hip-hop should be more responsible in the messages that it perpetuates; because some people could say that parents need to use discretion with their kids.

I’m not saying hip-hop is solely responsible, no. What I am saying is that we need to be more aware of what we are putting out there for the kids to hear and check out what type of example we are making for the kids. Because whether we want to be or not, we are role models so why not give the kids something more positive to look up to.

Many people criticize you and say that you gained notoriety by dissing Nicki Minaj, but on your Infiltration mixtape your sound is similar to hers. What do you have to say about that?

I think people need to learn how to be smart enough to know when I’m mimicking someone and also they need to stop letting their emotions get in the way of hearing what I’m trying to say. I heard a lot of people saying that I sound like Nicki on this [mixtape], but I think that comes with my initial song being a diss record at her; so now people are constantly comparing me to her. If people really listened to the [mixtape], they’ll see that this is really an angry CD to get my feet wet and to establish to all the critics that I’m not going anywhere and to the haters if you think you can do better, try and stop me. —Tiffany Hamilton

Recommended for You

Around the Web

Best of XXL

  • billi cobley

    blah blah blah zzzzzzzz

    pakistan is under water, haiti in ruins and were worrying about this sh/*t

    get the f*ck outter here

    • dNisha

      Yet you have time to respond? Fuhk outta here lol

      • SPARATANMimsqb


  • killa

    bitch so fat thats why you cant walk around with a lingerie hahaha

  • Sha

    All niggas wanna do is fight and cause confusion. If you didn’t have a reason to diss the chick, why did you do it? Get your own shine.

    • Dinero

      “Many people criticize you and say that you gained notoriety by dissing Nicki Minaj, but on your Infiltration mixtape your sound is similar to hers. What do you have to say about that?”… This bitch jus needs to b real and say I dissed her cuz I knew it would b a good way to get my name out there… I can respect that aspect… I think tha bitch is wacc too, well I wont say wacc, she is overly annoying but tha lyrics are decent, so I wouldnt of mind Remy Ma dissin her or Foxy dissin her cuz tha bitch annoys me… Further more, I think this Keyz chicc is gonna get herself written out tha game real fast, u hav nuthin to talk about honey, and unfortunately the best thing she got is tha diss… Now if she takes on a Nun like persona, she might b alright… But watt chicc (rap or no rap), dont talk about sex, sounds like a boring bitch to me…. And if u dont wanna b seen as sexy, put on ur grannies panties and paper bag over ya head (u certainly not cute) and do yo damn thing… B a dyke if u gon b a dyke… But dont tell little gurls to not wanna b pretty and to not hav sex (which will only make them more curious) because that is not watt Hip-Hop is about and its not watt Hip-Hop needs… U wanna protest, become an activist… I appreciate tha gesture of tryna b different and not hyper sexual or overtly masculine(which u can pass for), but Mc Lyte didnt fall under none of those and to me she still tha illest femcee… So jus let yo bars do tha talkin and tha ears will(or not) follow…

  • vhingrhamesonyo’momma

    this tactic old as hell…niggas been goin at whoever in the #1 spot for attention. no news here really..jus part of the game.

  • my opinion

    this girl is fake on another interview she sed she never was rapping before she dissed nicki now in this one she saying she made a mixtape and was in the game before you dissed nicki #keepyourliesstaightma

    and nicki was not talking to her on ustream she was talking to everybody who dont like her ..why do she think she is the only one who dont like nicki & nicki been calling the ppl who dont like her bum bitches she sed that in her “gettin paid” freestlye which came out long before this girl dissed her i just dont understand if you dont like somebody why look at they usteam …if you dont like nicki dont listen to her music simple as that its no need to diss..females should stick together you didnt see nicki make a diss track to trina or eve to get in the game did you NO she worked hard for years and finally got noticed then worked hard some mo and build up her fan base and finally got signed last september ….see if keys would have come in that way i may have a lil bit of respect for her instead of knocking nick’s hustle

  • ohh boyyy!!!

    bitch please that broad nikki minaj cant rap for shit shawtie rhymes is weak as shit sumbody please help us and make a time machine so i can go back to the 90′s when rap was raw as shit the game is so fucked up to the point that grown men can kiss eachother on the lips and niggas will still look up to em wtf? dis bitch rhymes dont even make any sense wtf is she talkin bout? “my opinion” cant even say what shes talking and shes all on that sluts clit truth be told the game is fucked up and it will never be back to its true form but i appreciate what wiz khalifa and currensy is trying to do too bad their shit aint gon sell tho eminem keep doing what you doing too

  • No Name

    “I think that our lack of solidarity does play a huge role in why there aren’t a lot of female MCs in the game. I think it’s also that women in general have a problem standing up for women. Look at the songs that are on the radio, most of us really don’t like those songs but a lot of women don’t stand up instead they ride the waves and go along with what a man says about us, but will bash another woman for saying that you can be better than you are.”

    Has to be the smartest thing I’ll read all week. Props.

  • GIFT

    this chick had maybe one or two valid points, but really and truthfully, if this chick wouldn’t have done the diss, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. She’ll get her 15 minutes of fame, then be out of style like throwbacks. If you can’t grind and get your own shine, you’re in the wrong line of work. some people may get on by winning some fuck ass contest, but the fruits of the labor from that avenue, are usually very sour. This chick and Kim need to sit the fuck down, blow one, and come up wit a better strategy then dissing Nicki, cuz Nicki ain’t worried at all about they ass.

    p.s. Minaj look better than both them chicks too. LMFAO!!!!!!!

  • js

    “I said I thought she was wack and decided to make a video; but I never dreamed it would get this type of response.”

    sure u didnt bitch

  • Eddie Blanco

    This keys chick hating on Nicki, just like old ass Lil Kim is. How the fuck do you say you don’t have a problem, yet you put out a diss record. Bitches is just hatin cause Nicki’s fame grew so fuckin fast, plus she’s beautiful, she has a sexy ass body, and she can motha fuckin rap, yeah she might act goofy, but that’s what sets her apart from these chicks who rap with a deep voice. And Lil Kim should have put out a little more effort in her music instead of waisting her time on all those plastic surgury’s that ruined her face. And Keys who the fuck is her. Grow the fuck up!!!!!!!!

    • Anonymous

      ^^^^^^^^^ nicki stan

      u ain’t hittin’ that potna. let it go. the ass & tits are silicon, so u can keep hatin on Kim for that too. & wut the fuck does kims age or kim have to do wit it? we talkin bout keyz. ray j said that nicki shit first, not kim. you hatin on kim, face da factz.

  • eastsider79

    real talk though most of yall is haters. keys is lyrically superior than nicki by far hip-hop is about competing to be the best last time i checked so if nicki cant make a good diss track back then she aint a good rapper. nicki is a clone copy of wat kim used to be when keyz sets herself apart from the rest she gets hated on.This is why there is no females in the game because the retard rappers are getting shine and yall think they the best. when the real female mc’s come back nicki wont exist so her five minutes is almost up as soon as she drops her album which wont push 200,000 copies and if u think im a hater look at drake’s first week sales and hes a bigger artist than nicki

  • ms_spittuh

    I’m not in the game yet because both of my managers wanted naked pictures last year.I said “no” and everything crashed.Good for you Keys. At least you have self respect. If I gave up naked pictures I would of been on tour with Mef & Red last year. But I would of been classified as a hoe which I am not. If I have to start from the bottom and never pull a Nicki and take longer to get into the game I will. I feel Keys. And a lot of you don’t understand that. If you’re not a female emcee posting on this topic shut the fuck up. And to the fool who said she is too fat to wear lingerie you need to have your balls in a toaster. Lane Bryant models are 10 times more sexy than them 90 pound Victoria Secret Models. I am proud of my 42D/32 waist/45 – 46 inch ass. And if that makes me fat along with Keys than dammit I’m going to be one fat sexy emcee. Fuck you niggas.

  • LEEK

    I got Keys’ mixtape and it’s straight, she’s in her early 20′s and she has alot of potential.

    As far as her dissing Nicki to get on, KRS-One did it to MC Shan, Roxanne Shante did it to UTFO, Salt N Pepper did it The Get Fresh Crew (Dougie Fresh & Slick Rick), Kool Moe Dee did it to Busy B, it’s not haing it’s apart of Hip Hop.

    What she does with her new found fame matters at this point, can she parlay a youtube vid into a career.

  • spartan

    keys speaks for all women while nicki speaks for the record company…even before YM nicki was a medicore artist that recycled rhymes and images…keys is creative, talented and openning the door to real hip hop
    I WILL NEVER EVER SUPPORT NIKKI or any other plastic bitch (muah)


    tht fat bitch trash hating ass hoe your fifteen minutes of fame is up its the countdown NOV. 23 (PINK FRIDAY)…..BITCH

  • BmoreSpartan

    I am proud that a young women from Baltimore is standing up and saying enough is enough. In today’s hip hop there is only talk about money, sex, hoes,etc. It’s disspoints me to read these comments and see that people are so stuck on what was discussed and explained amost 6 months ago. Keys sounds like nicki, or Keys is too fat to rap. Some of you are just proving what Keys is saying is the truth. That there is no brainpower in people anymore and it’s depressing. I’m proud to be a Bum Bitch from the plant Bum. Salute!!!!

  • GABE

    it’s Hip Hop! Dissing is what make’s it thrive. Now everybody is pussies… OHHH you hating.. Shut the fuck up! When did Hip Hop get soo soft.

  • dNisha

    Keys is THE shit. If you don’t like her…tell me why? Wait wait…I’ll do it for all of you so you don’t have to waste your time.

    She’s big- Bxtch please you probably falling out of your computer chair right now.

    She can’t rap- download the mixtape. listen. then get at me. If you don’t like it delete it from your hardrive and move on with your life.

    She’s a hater- And you are doing what exactly by posting this?? Excatly Sit yo ass down.

    She just want her 15 minutes of Fame- 15 minutes have surpassed and she’s STILL here working on the next 50 years of her career.

    Nicki wasn’t talking to her on USTREAM- ::blankstare:: bxtch you love Nicki that much? She can’t do NO wrong huh?

    and my ALLTIME fave one!!!!!

    She dissed Nicki to get into the game- *********NEWSFLASH**********************
    Thousands of people dissed Nicki. KEYS IS THE ONLY FEMALE MC THAT MASSACRED HER. That’s why she’s fucking famous.

    Un bunch your panties, fix yo face and please get that “I’m a angry ghetto ass black girl neck roll” out cha system before you respond. You’re mad because KEYS is A BEAST. She KILLED Nicki and it hurt your feelings. BXTCH why?? Nicki ain’t did shit for you except teach you how to NOT wear a lacefront, the right amount of silicone to put in your ass and breasts. Seriously get a fucking life and stop fighting for her. Cuz she damn sho ain’t gone fight for you. ::whispers::…us spartans though…we always got each others back, we will ALWAYS fight. ::SALUTE::


    I think all you haters need to get the f*ck outa here.. she can rap about what ever the f*ck she wants to.. if you dont like it then listen to something else!! shes a lil amateur.. but she is very talented. nicki is pop.. she is hip hop

  • Rugby Jay

    Nicki Minaj is playing with yall right now; WAIT TIL THE ALBUM DROP ! all this hate wont amount to nothin on that day when she shut all yall hater the fuck up… NOV 23 PINK FRIDAY ! lets get it QUEENS…

  • Moe

    Not understanding how the hell people can say keyz is wack! WTF are ya’ll listening too?? Nicki stay saying the same shit! The only time she sound half way decent is in ushers “lil freak”. She nothing but 30lbs of make-up, ass injections, wigs, and b.s. raps! Keys is not bad looking so I wish ya’ll stop acting like the girl is ugly!! and her word play is sick!!! Open ya’ll ears and stop giving Nicki the props just because she plastic. her ass gonna melt on stage one day!!

    • minaj security

      Nicki called her fans barbies, what does keys do, she decides to go on twitter and call her fans spartans.

      Nicki said she flys on her broom, Keys decides to say Im flying on my rocket.

      Nicki blows kisses at the most of a lot of her interviews. I saw keys do this same shit.

      Nicki Signs boobs so Keys gives her fans some swords and salute or some shit.

      Nicki calls her fans on her ustreams. Keys did it too.

      Yes I pay attention because to know is to see. This chick is studying Nicki’s formula and trying to counteract. ITS OBVIOUS.

      Usually when u diss someone you have a history in the industry, something to go by, you built up something, or its personal. Something to go by. This ain’t no damn hip hop beef because Nicki wouldn’t benefit. Who the fuck is keys?

      Im mad xxl even gave this chick the time of day with the state of female rap these days. Its many more female rappers dat deserved that article. This magazine loses!

      • tee

        you sound dumb. first, a lot of people call their fans on ustream. a lot of people blow kisses, also. nicki is not the first and she won’t be the last. second, wtf does signing boobs have to do with passing out swords? *waits* now, i understand why you’re a nicki minaj fan. you ask why they’re even giving her the time of day. they’re giving her the time of day, because she actually has some real stuff to say! o yeah, and just in case your almighty leader, nicki, didn’t tell you, a broom and a rocket have nothing in common and a broom doesn’t fly, sorry hun.

  • ms_flavors

    keys is whack first off! she said that she had a mixtape out before the nicki diss??? ummm ok but we still didnt hear about you so then her fat precious bummy look a$$ stood on a corner in a treach jacket that was extra smedium and dissed nicki cause she said she killed every rap chick in itty bitty piggy ok she did so what once keys realized she starting getting buzz from that *diss* thats when she started putting videos of her music up???? ok why didnt she do that before #exactly keys aint gon be nothing more than what she is right now and thats a youtube star lmao!!!!!!! #cute

  • Minaj security

    KEYS Is INVALID cuz that bitch did a spoof like she mad tv or some shit and got a little bit of fame. I can’t respect that. That rhyme she did over a beat Nicki used was to me respecting nicki. Its clear she wants to be her. She mimicks everything she does, from the lingo, to the use of words, to her blowing her damn kisses. talking about she wants to be a positive role model when she spittin lyrics about glocks and shyt. She’s not hip hop to me Nicki is. This Keys chick is fooling all of u ignorant dumb a$$es.

    Keys needs to work on her flow and how to master riding a beat, try studing that from Nicki a little harder and then u may earn a few more points.

  • ms_flavors

    @minaj security exactly nicki released itty bitty piggy last year on sept 1 2009 keys released her diss march 13 2010????? ummmm thats a 6 month gap damn! it took keys that long to say that

  • Dat Nika

    This chick is Wack… Str8 up .

  • Nobi

    To answer the XXLMag’s first question, nobody in Baltimore has heard of Keys before the diss either. And if you live here, then you definitely know about the thriving hip hop scene, it’s whack bitches like this that are making us look bad. She is phony as shit by the way, I love how she tried to “sexy” up her image after she started getting all this attention, unsuccessfully, might I add… especially after she dissed Nikki now she is trying to talk about self image. Fakoutahere.

    • L I

      Nobi you hit some very good points!!! Now she just said in this interview that she put out a mixtape BEFORE the Nikki diss…..But just did a radio interview last week and another video interview a week or so before where she says she wasn’t pursuing a rap career but she had entered a contest in April of 09 for Who’s Got Next and lost and was sending hate messages to the female that won! And to further go on about her whole female image thing….Why when a prominent local underground rapper in Baltimore disses Keys and made a video did her and her “followers” go the same route as to try and belittle her? Everything that was said negative about Keys by “Nicki” followers was reflected on to the female artist? So how are you supposed to be “helping” the females emcees by doing all the things that Nicki Minja has done? LOL

      Does anyone else NOT see this??? Hmmmm talking about not having a brain of your own!!

      Just about everything this girl says is a contradiction. She has always been rapping and put out a mixtape before the diss but she wasn’t pursuing a rap career. She’s not commercial but she is doing SPOOF videos. I’m not getting it.

  • aljee20

    nicki’s album like her raps will be garbage. keys will extort her!

  • peedie

    women dont own the “we dont stick together title” and they dont all need to stick together.. just like dudes dont all stick together..woman want equality? then stop lookin for excuses not to take “heat” like a few other ppl already said.. this is hip hop.. idc why ppl make diss songs .. as long as they can spit that crack.. its been done since the beginning from male and female.. and real fans of “THIS THING OF OURS” appreciate whatever is dope… .

  • peedie

    btw this isnt an endorsement for any1. i endorse the spirit of hip hop… and….. BALTIMORE HIP HOP IS ALIVE AND WELL.

  • Hip Hop lover

    Yes but what has this chik spit that was crack as you put it? Nothing. People only relay her to that Nicki Diss track which was funny because Nicki is easy to make fun of not saying that in a bad way by the way. You know colored hair, funny faces, craziness.

    In the other songs she put out she couldn’t even stay on beat. Now I am willing to give everybody a chance so I listen before I critique but she is not the “female hip hop” answer. Anyway I like what nicki is doing becuase she is doing what other people are afraid to do. They worry about what people will say. She goes out on a limb and she still has room to grown. Not too many do what she does in the game right now. People are always afraid of “different”



  • G-Major of Arsonists Camp

    Way to go babe! Baltimore stand ya self hatin asses up! Grrr! “A.C.E!”

  • greg

    u aint learn from bossman? u can’t idss someone that’s hot and can spit if u aint twice as nice….



  • Stress-D

    you people on here chat shit, who did nicki diss in her early mixtape so go eat a dick, obviously u dont no shit about hip hop otherwise ud b glad that keys is comin back with the raw shit like EVE. i like keys alot n i dont think she sounds like nicki apart from when shes taking the piss. kim, keys let them do there tingz coz quite fankly nicki’s got talent meaning id fuck the shit out of it jus like every other man out there. but if she was ugly as a mother fucka u’d people would think shes shit, so shut up. nicki makes stupid noises n barks like a dog, she might aswell get on all 4′s n eat her food from a bowl. simples

  • Kira


  • http://youtube none

    damn i feel like she did because she felt like had too be done but we all know nicki aint done yet so dont trip but keyss did diss her pretty good lol … lbvvs

  • Maraaaa Thee PROBLEM

    NICKI Will End Keys Shit , How The Fuck Shee Gonna Just Gonna Attack Nickii For Noo Reason ? Tell That BITCH Keys To Sit Her Ratchett Ass Down , Because Shee Mad Cornyy , YOUNG MONEY Biiiiiiiiiitchhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh .