Nicki Minaj’s “Barbie Dreams” record has everybody talking. But the QUEEN emcee may have unintentionally reminded us that rap’s double standard is far from gone.

Nicki Minaj’s ‘QUEEN’ LP, her third studio album (or fourth, if one counts ‘Pink Friday: Reloaded’ as its own entity), released on Friday to mixed emotions. The album suffered from one of the worst roll-outs of the year, if not of the decade.

Its singles were ill-received. Dual single “Chun Li” and “Barbie Tingz” could’ve been released better. “Barbie Tingz” didn’t even make it onto the standard cut of ‘QUEEN.’ But the fact that “Chun Li,” despite becoming meme-worthy on the internet due to the “It’s King Kong” refrain on the hook and Minaj’s gaffe of using Mortal Kombat imagery (Chun Li was a character in the ‘Street Fighter’ franchise), emerged as a hit could be counted as a small victory.

Then Minaj went on to give an interview that appeared to be an attempt at a rebranding, telling younger girls they shouldn’t have to feel a need to sell sex and that “it’s okay to keep your legs closed.” The interview was side-eyed by many given Nicki’s penchant for sexually charged lyrics in her songs and imagery in her videos – and the side-eyes grew wider still when the single Nicki released on the same week after giving the interview, the Ariana Grande-assisted “Bed” turned out to be sexually charged, as well. Not to mention the fact that Minaj’s own legs were far from closed during her BET Awards performance.

Then, towards the end of July, Nicki Minaj shared that Queen’s slated release date of August 10th, might have to be pushed back due to a sample not being cleared. That Minaj and her team allegedly didn’t catch it until so close to the album’s anticipated drop date, seemed like it was a joke. With the release date allegedly moved to the following week, Nicki announced that she’d be launching “#QueenRadio” on Apple Music, on Thursday, August 9th, with the promise to play some of the album. And after THAT, it was revealed that ‘QUEEN’ was back on track to release on the 10th again, but at noon.

While not enough time has passed for ‘QUEEN’ to be properly digested, one track in particular has caught fire very quickly: “Barbie Dreams,” the album’s third track. As of Monday, the track sits at #2 on the iTunes charts, just behind Travis Scott’s “Sicko Mode” cut with Drake. Placed between the poorly-executed Eminem collaboration “Majesty” and the single-in-the-making “Rich Sex” with Lil’ Wayne, “Barbie Dreams” has raised eyebrows and stuck in listeners’ ears primarily because of its content.

In the song’s first half, Nicki namedrops a number of rappers and entertainers, using what sounds like playful jabs to imply that they couldn’t keep up in the bedroom. The list includes people Nicki has been publicly associated with, like Drake (“I don’t know if the pussy wet or he cryin’ and shit”) and Meek Mill (“he still be in my DMs, I be having to duck him/ ‘I used to pray for times like this’-face ass when I fuck him”); and others like Lady Luck and even Mike Tyson.

Smartly, Minaj tried to get ahead of the curve and clear up what “Barbie Dreams” was about before it could take off. On ‘#QueenRadio’ show with Beats 1, Minaj said, “You guys know ‘Barbie Dreams’ is not a diss, right? It’s just some funny shit. I love [the people I mentioned]. I said things about people who I know can take a joke and won’t be emotional about it.” And an hour after ‘QUEEN’s’ release on streaming platforms, Nicki again tried to clear the air on Twitter –

The punchlines on “Barbie Dreams” are witty, and Nicki’s tongue sounds sharper than ever. The energy that most fans have come to expect on her features, is finally present on one of her solo records again. But that’s not being talked about. Instead, the name-dropping is the main point of conversation. The argument is either that Nicki is bragging on her sexual resume or relying on the clout of others, in order to get spins. The jokes are going to fly on social media as they always do. But why is Nicki’s credibility the focal point and not the song itself?

A friend pointed out to me that “Barbie Dreams” is a literal spiritual successor to the belated Christopher Wallace’s “Dreams (Just Playin’).”

Biggie described dreaming of “fuckin’ an R&B b*tch” (a phrase that would be echoed by many rappers to come, like The Game on his own song “Dreams”). Lil’ Kim flipped “Dreams” for HER own version, the hook changed to “dreams of fuckin’ an R&B dick,” back in 1996. And now in 2018, Onika Maraj similarly fantasized about “fuckin’ one of these little rappers.”

Biggie’s original is just as blatant. He goes as far as to say he’d “make Raven-Symone call date rape,” explicitly cites Chaka Khan and Sade, and even mentions a collaborator, Mary J. Blige, as one of those on his “hit list.” It’s possible that, back in 1994, Biggie got his share of flack for some of the things he said (at one point, he implies he’d sleep with RuPaul because he finds her more attractive than the women in the group Xscape). Or maybe he didn’t, considering “Dreams” didn’t REALLY take off until much later as it was attached to the more popular song “Juicy” in its initial release.

It wouldn’t matter because B.I.G. would likely have been given props for sleeping with any or all of the women he named. He wouldn’t have been critiqued in his own circle for saying he’d give Tina Turner “flashbacks of Ike.” His homies and other men would’ve dapped him up in the spirit of, “That’s my boy!”

But for Onika Maraj? It’s not the same. Instead of accepting a homage to Biggie for what it is, the first half of “Barbie Dreams” has to be her trying to score points. It has to be her potentially bragging on her “CatFax.” It has to be her “spilling tea.” And even if she has actually slept with any of the named, so what? It’s a setup if nothing more – the namedropping on the first half of “Barbie Dreams” is just to keep the listener intrigued long enough for the second half, when the beat flips and Nicki’s flow is more fluid. The second half was mistaken by many as being another song and truthfully, it probably SHOULD have been its own separate record.

Women emcees are far more blunt and unfiltered about sex in their lyrics than ever before – the roads that were paved by the likes of Lil’ Kim, Trina, and Missy Elliott, are now proudly being walked upon by Cardi B, The City Girls, Megan Thee Stallion, and Queen Key, in addition to Minaj herself. But the fire Nicki Minaj is coming under for “Barbie Dreams” proves that women rappers still aren’t being taken as seriously as they ought to be.

Yes, “Barbie Dreams” plays upon our generation’s current obsession with “tea” and messiness. It’s a highlight of ‘QUEEN,’ but it’s far from THE highlight of ‘QUEEN.’ That honor would be better bestowed to the solid collaboration with Swae Lee, “Chun Swae,” or Nicki’s joining forces with Foxy Brown on “Coco Chanel”… or to “LLC,” which calls to mind the Nicki of old that was pure bars and skillful execution. Some might even call “Good Form” – a song that’s essentially “Chun-Li 1.5” with a bit of flavor in tune with the current “make a bounce music record for the radio” trend that’s taking over present-day hip-hop – the album’s peak.

Look, it’s okay to not like “Barbie Dreams” if you’re not a Nicki Minaj fan. Truthfully, there are probably more than a couple of self-proclaimed “Barbz” who don’t like “Barbie Dreams,” either. And Nicki’s antics on social media don’t make her the easiest person to root for. You don’t have to like Onika the person, but Nicki the emcee should get some respect. Let’s not dismiss “Barbie Dreams” and, by extension, Nicki Minaj as a rapper, just because she followed the blueprint (or the B.I.G.-print) to the letter, of someone else before her time.