Things are looking “All the Way Up” for rapper Remy Ma. Arguably one of the best female rappers in the game, Remy Ma’s career can be described as an uphill battle. She experienced the success typical of emerging rappers when she gained her footing in the industry during the early 2000s. After a few hot features with Big Pun and Fat Joe, she released her own album. She is one of only five female rappers to ever top the Billboard charts and was well positioned to move ahead in her career. But a weapon and assault charge in 2007 brought her momentum to a standstill. She emerged from a six-year prison stint in 2014 to a completely changed industry. And while she has done well for herself, landing a leading spot on VH1’s popular reality show, Love & Hip: New York, her latest moves suggest that she is ready to handle her unfinished business in the music industry.
On Wednesday, she debuted a new single, “Wake Me Up,” with iconic female rapper Lil Kim. This collaboration has come about after a 2017 that has called into question the fierce competitiveness of female rappers and the sexist music industry that encourages it. Remy found herself at the center of that conversation thanks to a very public beef with another lady rapper, but more on that later. But working with Lil Kim is just the latest example of Remy basking in the glow of her female peers. She collaborated with Cardi B. earlier this year, partied with Cardi and Def Loaf on yacht, and has formed a rap girl group with veteran MCs Shawnna and Jacki-O. She is supporting other women, and the universe is blessing her for it. “Wake Me Up” is the first single release after being signed to Columbia Records. According to Billboard, it’s worth a few million dollars.
Not only has Remy put in her time — an understatement if there ever was one — she has proven that she is a true talent. This summer, she made headlines when she released a scathing diss track against Nicki Minaj titled “ShEther” — a play on the iconic diss record “Ether” by rapper Nas and aimed at Jay-Z. Initially thought to be a response to shots taken by Nicki in songs like “Make Love,” Remy made it clear during an appearance on Wendy Williams' show that she was taking down someone she viewed as a “bully.” And take her down she did. Not only did Minaj respond in an untimely fashion, waiting nearly two weeks to respond, her rebuttals didn’t pack nearly as much punch as the lines on “ShEther.” As rap battles go, Remy was the clear winner.
Remy is an amazing lyricist, a lovable but level-headed reality star, a well-paid artist, and an advocate. She has spoken out about unfair prison conditions since her release and publicly denounced the prison industrial complex. If there is anyone who deserves their shot at the big leagues, it’s her.
Nicki’s strategy for dealing with the loss, which has also been critiqued by hip-hop fans, has been to remind everyone of her commercial and mainstream success. While Remy was in prison, Nicki was crossing over into pop music markets and growing a global fanbase. With Remy’s new deal with Columbia signed and sealed, Nicki might be given a run for her money, even on that front.