2024’s musical scene has started off dramatically with the very public feud between Nicki Minaj and Megan Thee Stallion. After years of increasing tensions between the two artists, Megan fired the first shot, releasing the diss track single “HISS” on Jan. 26. Minaj was quick to respond, dropping her own diss track “Bigfoot” only three days later on Jan. 29. So far, “HISS” has enjoyed a more popular public reception, debuting at No. 1 on the Hot 100. Nonetheless, both songs are dynamic and scathing from start to finish, making both artists contenders in the debate of which song is better.

“HISS” kicks off with a short monologue, before building into a bass-heavy, aggressive beat. Megan’s rapping is fast-paced and assertive, bouncing from line to line with only a short interlude between the two verses. In comparison, “Bigfoot” leans even more heavily into monologuing, with an extended spoken outro and half-sung introduction. Minaj’s song also has a much different pacing and flow, ending each line with a drawn out vocal fry. “Bigfoot” also makes use of repeated lines and imagery, implicating Megan of lying on her mother’s name more than five times. “HISS” keeps its own lyrical content fresh, however, with two distinct verses. 

Examining the lyrics, it’s clear that neither artist pulls any punches. In her first verse, Megan takes aim at Minaj’s husband, rapping, “These h--- don’t be mad at Megan / These h--- mad at Megan’s Law.” Megan’s Law refers to the 2003 Supreme Court ruling mandating that neighborhoods must be notified when registered sex offenders move into the area. Minaj’s husband, Kenneth Petty, was accused and convicted of rape in 1995, and later arrested in 2020 for failing to report he was a sex offender when he moved to California. 

“HISS” also contains several references towards artist Tory Lanez, who is currently serving a 10-year sentence for shooting Megan Thee Stallion in 2020. In response to implied harassment by Tory Lanez fans, Megan sarcastically suggests they instead send the rapper commissary funds, or “schedule a conjugal visit.” By contrast, “Bigfoot” implies the Lanez shooting was faked or dramatized, as Minaj calls Megan a “glass-fragment a-- b----” in the outro and elsewhere asks “F--- you get shot with no scar?”. Minaj’s glass fragment line references the internet conspiracy based on Megan’s initial statement that she was not shot, and instead sustained a foot injury due to broken glass

Meanwhile, “Bigfoot” attacks other people connected to Megan, with repeated references to Megan’s deceased mother and several of Megan’s prior partners. In one instance, Minaj references Megan’s previous relationship with rapper Pardison Fontaine to suggest that Megan employs a ghostwriter for her music. “HISS” also attacks Fontaine, accusing him of substance abuse in one of the few seemingly shared animosities between both songs. 

The lyrics and surrounding content of each song also contain stranger insinuations. Megan raps about unnamed people that “hate on BBL’s and be walkin’ ‘round with the same / scars.” On X, Complex Music suggested this line is a reference to one of Drake’s perceived attacks towards Megan. As such, several fans interpreted that Drake has also undergone significant cosmetic surgery.  Meanwhile, Minaj comments through her outro, “You know I got a lotta tea / I went easy on you,” suggesting she has more as-of-yet untold dirt on Megan. Users on X have also been quick to discuss one of Minaj’s recent Instagram Live videos, where the artist seems to express strange freestyles and references to the Tory Lanez shooting. 

Although it’s obvious the feud between the two artists is far from over, this first round easily goes to Megan. “HISS” has established itself firmly above “Bigfoot” on most charts and contains more lively, entertaining beat and lyrics. Minaj’s song is more scattered and fragmented, suffering from inconsistent spoken portions and a dragging pace that adds more than a minute of runtime compared to “HISS.” Furthermore, Minaj commits to opinions that are factually incorrect, as she defends a convicted sex offender while denying a proven shooting. Time will tell what the rappers’ next conflict reveals, but until then, Megan Thee Stallion remains on top.