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Gritty in Pink: Nicki Minaj’s 10 Fiercest Disses

The Queens rapper is known for writing the sharpest lyrics in rap. Here are the best of the best

Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj

Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

It's an agonizing task picking out Nicki Minaj's 10 best one-liners – a lot like selecting hay from a haystack. Hell, on 2012's "The Boys," she crowns herself "Punchline queen, no boxer though," and when inspired, she even bests Lil Wayne, her boss and mentor. There may not have been enough room for some of her topical one-liners ("You're like balloon boy, mama, you was never there!") or wordy subliminals ("Now which bitch want it, 'cause that bitch get it/I gave him to you, bitch, don't fucking forget it") here, but these 10 disses are all close to perfect, showing the rapper at her sharpest, funniest and most ferocious.

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LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 19: Recording artist Nicki Minaj (center) performs onstage during the 2014 iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 19, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Denise Truscello/WireImage)

Denise Truscello/WireImage

“No Flex Zone” (Remix) (Internet, 2013)

"Yes I am an icon, that's me on your T-shirt/Thought you knew better! Do your fucking research"

As inescapable as Rae Sremmurd's song is and was, the tune is all hook and more filler. It was thus was nothing short of refreshing to hear Nicki chew through Mike Will's beat like it was frozen popsicle. Her voice may be inviting, but her words are as ferocious as ever. The preceding two lines? "Running this game for five years/Guess that's why my feet hurt/Wonder when they bite me/Do these bitches' teeth hurt?" Yikes.

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Nicki Minaj

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“Boss Ass Bitch” (Remix) (Internet, 2013)

"Yo, I employ these niggas/They be grown men but I little boy these niggas/Want the cookie so I gotta Chips Ahoy! these niggas"

In late 2013, Minaj had been quiet – too quiet, as these things go. Then at year's end, she threw a bagel to the birds, dropping an unofficial remix that opens with these three lines. It was a shock to the system – as far from pop radio as she could've gone – and with that she announced she was back in "album mode." (Not to be missed: this interview with the girls of PTAF, who were as surprised as anyone to hear Nicki rapping on their song.)

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Nicki Minaj

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“Dance (A$$)” (Remix) (‘Finally Famous,’ 2011)

"Y-y-you fuckin' little whores, fu-fuckin' up my decors/Couldn't get Michael Kors if you was fuckin' Michael Kors"

Once again, Minaj – ever the performing arts school graduate – steps in and steals the spotlight. While Big Sean was busy thinking up more ass (a$$?) puns, Nicki ran to the well, signing an "I'm here, you're not" postcard in blood. To make it clear, though: Michael Kors has been in a committed relationship since 1990, so that hurdle's even higher than probably imagined.

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Nicki Minaj

Ethan Miller/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

“Monster” (‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,’ 2010)

"And I'll say, Bride of Chucky is child's play/Just killed another career, it's a mild day"

Nicki's voice – one of them – shows up at 3:36, ferocious purr and claws out, Giusseppe heels firmly in the sure stance. Then here, amid an unforgettable whirlwind of a verse, time slows down and she baby-talks her way through Temple of Doom-type surgery before returning to a caps-locked "Pink lips, thick ass, give 'em whiplash." Honestly, who even cares that Kanye, Jay and Ross are sharing her space.

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Nicki Minaj

Ethan Miller/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

“Beef Stew” (Internet, 2008)

"She got it twisted like a cock-eyed bitch/That's why I be in Mr. Chow's, you a Popeye's bitch"

Rare in every sense of the word, "Beef Stew" has Nicki breaking the "Money in the Bank" instrumental open with a crowbar. Lost to the sands of broken links – in 2008, the Internet wasn't prepped for loosies the way it is now – the verse could never be confused for her best, but there's absolutely no arguing with this couplet's pure, just-crossed-the-bridge neck snap. When people talk about Mixtape Nicki, this is what they dream of.

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