Are Taylor Swift And Nicki Minaj Friends? What We Know About The Once-Feuding Hitmakers

Taylor Swift doesn’t have any patience for “haters.

” When Tina Fey and Amy Poehler poked fun at the artist during the 2013 Golden Globes, she responded with a Madeleine Albright quote: “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women,” per Vanity Fair. Nicki Minaj also isn’t afraid to speak her mind on social media — or on stage at the Video Music Awards. Over the years, she’s clapped back at Miley Cyrus, Cardi B, and even Mariah Carey. However, in 2015, Swift and Minaj got mixed up in a messy situation of their own.

Swift was in the midst of her leather-clad Reputation era, and “Bad Blood” was nominated for (and won) “Best Music Video of the Year” at the MTV VMAs. Other artists under consideration included Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran, Mark Ronson, Bruno Mars (“Uptown Funk” was virtually inescapable that year), and Kendrick Lamar. Strangely, Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda,” which has since received over one billion — yes, billion! — views on YouTube, didn’t get a mention in the top-billed category. Instead, it was up for “Best Hip Hop Video.” Understandably frustrated, the rapper called out the situation on Twitter, writing, “If I was a different ‘kind’ of artist, ‘Anaconda’ would be nominated for best choreo and vid of the year as well,” and later adding, “When the ‘other’ girls drop a video that breaks records and impacts culture they get that nomination.” She also noted that women with “slim bodies” are celebrated in the industry. Taylor Swift, who saw this as a direct call-out, got offended.

Taylor Swift apologized to Nicki Minaj for the misunderstanding

Taylor Swift clapping for Minaj

Reading Nicki Minaj’s series of tweets in the lead-up to the 2015 VMAs, Taylor Swift felt targeted, assuming she was the “other girls” in question. “I’ve done nothing but love & support you,” she publicly wrote to the “Starships” artist, per The Atlantic. “It’s unlike you to pit women against each other. Maybe one of the men took your slot.” Minaj, who never mentioned Swift by name, was confused. “Huh? U must not be reading my tweets. Didn’t say a word about u. I love u just as much,” she responded. Swift later apologized for the misunderstanding (via The Los Angeles Times). “I thought I was being called out. I missed the point, I misunderstood, then misspoke. I’m sorry, Nicki,” she wrote, also adding that the “Anaconda” rapper was welcome to join her on stage if “Bad Blood” won.

Some felt Swift had missed the larger point, arguing that Minaj was referring to the racial biases within the music industry, biases which have directly benefited the “Blank Space” singer. Katy Perry also seemed to weigh in on the situation, writing, “Finding it ironic to parade the pit women against other women argument about as one unmeasurably capitalizes on the [takedown] of a woman…” Fair point. By all accounts, Swift’s award-winning song, “Bad Blood,” refers to her famous feud with Perry.

That being said, Minaj thanked Swift for the apology, and it seems the two have officially buried the hatchet.

They partied together after the 2022 VMAs
Michael Tran/Getty Images
Nicki Minaj made it clear that there’s no longer “bad blood” between her and Taylor Swift. In a 2015 interview with Good Morning America, Minaj explained that Swift apologized during a private phone call as well as publicly. “It takes a big person to do what Taylor did,” said the “Super Bass” rapper, adding that they were “cracking up” on the call. In fact, the two went on to perform together at the 2015 MTV VMAs, proving once again they were on good terms.

Years later, this time at the 2022 VMAs, they proved their friendship was still going strong. It was Minaj who excitedly announced Swift’s “All Too Well” win, giving her a hug as she got up to claim her award. The two were also seen living it up together at an afterparty later that night. In one Instagram video, Minaj calls Swift the evening’s “big winner,” adding, “Barbs, I know you love her; we all love her.” After Minaj performed that night, Swift was seen encouraging the crowd to give her friend a standing ovation. Here’s to hoping for more Minaj-Swift collaborations… maybe a new single?

Swift and Minaj performing together

Taylor Swift is undebatably one of the most influential musicians of our times. In the summer of 2006 when her debut single “Tim McGraw” was released to the era of “Midnights,” Swift sold over 30 million albums and won 12 Grammy Awards. With deeply personal lyrics rich with symbolism, Swift’s music speaks to humanity without the borders of age or gender. From providing cathartic entertainment to proving haters wrong, Swift’s music has many purposes. From a country pop darling to the recent switch to indie pop icon, Swift’s music has evolved through the years, right in front of the anticipating eyes of Swifties (Taylor Swift fans).

Millions of Swifties around the world recognize the attention to detail that goes into every Taylor Swift album. Each album marks the beginning of an era characterized by unique aesthetics that goes with the concept of the album, easter eggs (puzzles about details of the albums left by Swift for fans), breathtaking visuals, and gorgeous outfits. All this goes hand-in-hand with her magical voice and strong writing to birth some of the most streamed albums in history. Whether you are a new or seasoned Swiftie, sometimes the task of remembering the details of every era can be more difficult than expected. Fret not, we have compiled brief explanations of every Taylor Swift for your perusal.

Taylor’s debut album introduced the world to a country music darling

Taylor Swift singing on stage in purple coat

Ah, the era that started it all! The year was 2006, and a young aspiring country star named Taylor Swift entered the world of music with nothing but a guitar (and a pair of cowboy boots). After years of performing in bars and venues in Nashville in hopes of getting a record deal, the singer-songwriter debuted her first and self-titled album, “Taylor Swift,” at the mere age of 16 years old — and soon enough, the young singer was opening for famous country acts like Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw, and Faith Hill, all while having hits like “Teardrops on My Guitar” and “Tim McGraw” topping the charts (via Billboard).

The success of her debut album, of course, had Swift emerging into the music world as a teenage country darling, instantly recognizable by her tight blond curls, floral sundresses, and signature cowboy boots — and all of it coming together to form a monumental breakout era defined by Swift’s country-chic style and sweet girl-next-door status, as noted by Fashionista. And who could forget her adorable country twang?

The Fearless era was full of sequins and teenage romanticism

Taylor Swift performing on stage

With the release of her highly successful sophomore album “Fearless,” the year 2008 had Taylor Swift beginning to emerge as a household name, with now-classic hits like “You Belong With Me” and “Love Story” quickly establishing the singer as a teenage country-pop icon. In fact, Swift even earned her first Album of the Year Grammy win for “Fearless,” making history as the youngest-ever artist to claim the category at age 20 (until 18-year-old Billie Eilish broke her record in 2020), per The Boot.

As for what the iconic “Fearless” era was defined by, early fans will nostalgically recall the singer’s sparkly dresses and ball gowns, signature winged eyeliner, hand hearts, and — of course — Swift’s lucky number 13, which the singer started donning on her hand for her performances during this era. “‘Fearless’ was an album full of magic and curiosity, the bliss and devastation of youth,” Swift recalled in early 2021 (via Taste of Country). “It was the diary of the adventures and explorations of a teenage girl who was learning tiny lessons with every new crack in the facade of the fairy-tale ending she’d been shown in the movies.”

Speak Now was Taylor’s most magical and theatrical era

Taylor Swift flipping hair on stage

Taylor Swift performing

Following the success of “Fearless,” Swift set out to further prove herself as a rising star, and more specifically, as a talented songwriter. Her 2010 album “Speak Now” was her first (and only) self-written album, written entirely by herself without the help of co-writers — and, as noted by Pitchfork, it was a truly personal and confessional album that focused on that transitional period between “adolescence and adulthood, innocence and understanding, country and pop.”

Much like the album itself (songs like “Enchanted,” “Sparks Fly,” and “Long Live”), the “Speak Now” era was undoubtedly defined by its magical and theatrical aspects. Taylor Swift’s ambitious Speak Now World Tour, in fact, was inspired by Broadway and was a truly wondrous spectacle filled with pyrotechnics, lighted trees, dancers and aerialists, and multiple costumes and set changes (via Billboard). Ultimately, when you think “Speak Now,” you’ll probably think of Swift’s sparkly dresses and looser curls, her “Wonderstruck” perfume line, and her ethereal “fairy tale” aesthetic — not to mention, the color purple.

The Red era saw Taylor shifting into a more mature, experimental style

Taylor Swift singing on stage during Red tour

Think of the “Red” era, and you’ll probably think of red lipstick and black fedoras — and of course, Taylor Swift’s straight hair and blunt bangs. With the release of her 2012 album “Red,” the singer debuted a new, edgier style, swapping out her usual glittery gowns for high-waisted shorts, striped shirts, and vintage dresses — and also famously ditching her signature bouncy curls for sleek, straight locks (via Billboard).

Swift’s shift from her signature “princess fairy tale” aesthetics to a vintage, more mature style, of course, was also a reflection of her shift in sound (and themes) for her fourth album. According to NPR, “Red” in many ways represented a “turning point” in Swift’s life and career while “on the precipice of adulthood,” with the singer experimenting with different sounds beyond her previous country-pop style to touch on — and blend — new genres such as mainstream pop, rock, and even EDM and dubstep. “Musically and lyrically, Red resembled a heartbroken person,” Swift reflected in 2021 (via NME). “It was all over the place, a fractured mosaic of feelings that somehow all fit together in the end. Happy, free, confused, lonely, devastated, euphoric, wild, and tortured by memories past.”

The 1989 era established Taylor as a global pop phenomenon

Taylor Swift singing on stage 1989 tour

Perhaps her most memorable and iconic era, “1989” marked Swift’s first full-scale pop album — and, as noted by Vulture, had the singer taking over the music world as a worldwide mega-pop star, experiencing more commercial success than ever before. Few could escape the ubiquitous pop hits of “Shake It Off,” “Blank Space,” and “Style” from 2014 to 2015, and Swift’s presence was felt pretty much everywhere: on the radio, at outings with her famous “BFF girl squad,” and at countless award shows where she snagged the biggest awards of the night.

Mirroring her transition from country to pop, the “1989” era was also defined by other major changes for Taylor Swift: She moved to New York City, cut her hair into a short bob, and, of course, changed up her fashion style, opting for crop tops, skater skirts, and more form-fitting clothes that completed her transformation from a country sweetheart into a bombshell mega-pop star.

Reputation was Taylor’s darkest and edgiest era yet

Taylor Swift singing on stage

Following the peak of her career in the “1989” era, Taylor Swift found herself in the midst of bad press and negative public scrutiny — and it all started, of course, with her infamous feud with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. After months of disappearing from the public eye, Swift made an iconic comeback in 2017 with her sixth studio album, “Reputation” — and needless to say, it was quite a different feel from any of her previous eras. Declaring that “the old Taylor was dead” in her lead single “Look What You Made Me Do,” the singer officially shed her “good girl” status and instead embraced the “snake” image put on her by the public (via Rolling Stone). “Yeah, this is the character you created for me, let me just hide behind it,” Swift told Vogue of the persona she created.

Reflecting the darker aspects of her electro-pop album, Swift’s style during the unforgettable “Reputation” era was also noticeably edgier and grungier: Her classic red lip became darker and she rocked oversized sweatshirts, sequined bodysuits, and lots of thigh-high boots (via Evie Magazine). And how could we forget “Bleachella” when she bleached her hair to an edgy platinum blond?

The Lover era was full of pretty pastels and bright, colorful optimism

Taylor Swift kneeling on stage

Talk about a 180 from the “Reputation” era. Moving away from the dark and edgy style of her previous album, Swift ushered in her seventh era with the bright and cheery lead single “ME!,” complete with a music video full of butterflies, rainbows, and colorful pastels (via Variety). The noticeable shift in aesthetics also reflected the bright optimism of “Lover,” signaling that the “old Taylor” perhaps wasn’t dead, after all. “I’ve decided that in this life, I want to be defined by the things I love — not the things I hate, the things I’m afraid of, or the things that haunt me in the middle of the night,” Swift wrote in the album’s foreword (via PopSugar). “Those things may be my struggles, but they’re not my identity.”

With this optimism of the “Lover” era came lots of brighter, more colorful looks in Taylor Swift’s wardrobe — including lots of fringe, sparkles, pastel-colored menswear, and ’70s-inspired clothes. There was also, of course, an abundance of the color pink — including in her hair, when she dyed the ends of her locks a pretty pink (via Bustle).

Folklore saw Taylor embracing the alternative pop-folk genre

Taylor Swift holding on to a piano while drowning

During the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, Taylor Swift announced the beginning of her alternative pop folk journey by teasing us with the promotional images of her eighth studio album, “Folklore.” The woodsy photographs in cottage core aesthetics saw the country-pop star’s rise as an indie folk star. The emotionally intense album woven around folk storytelling also saw Swift drawing inspiration from other indie folk artists like Phoebe Bridgers, Sufjan Steven, and Lana Del Rey. The album also served with some dream collaborations like with Bon Iver for “Exile.” Set in a grey-blue image scape, the autumn-themed album released in the summer of 2020 is full of self-introspection rooted in melancholy taking her reputation as a confessional pop musician to new heights.

As Time magazine notes: “Every song [in the album] has these kinds of lyrical winks, reinforcing the universe that Swift has crafted even as she expands it with her newfound layers of fantasy and character.” In a statement for the album, Swift shared that there is a collection of songs that she refers to as “the teenage love triangle.”

“These three songs explore a love triangle from all three people’s perspectives at different times in their lives,” she noted (via Time). This statement has led fans to speculate that these songs are “Cardigan,” “Betty,” and “August.” After all, when analyzed side by side, the songs weave a story of heartbreak, betrayal, and yearning — an embodiment of “the teenage love triangle.”

Evermore cemented Taylor’s reputation as an indie artist

Taylor Swift in white dress in Willow music video

In December 2020, Taylor Swift created history by releasing the second album of her indie folk era, “Evermore” — the same year as “Folklore.” With her ninth studio album, Swifties embraced the cottage core aesthetic and set out to solve the hidden puzzles in the album laden with mystical lyricism. Many parallels can be drawn between “Folklore” and “Evermore” and fans consider both albums part of one era. As noted by Teen Vogue, the music video for “Willow” can clearly be seen as a follow-up to that for “Cardigan” as both the videos begin and end in a wooden cabin.

Another interesting fact surrounding the winter-themed album is the co-writer of “Champagne Problems,” “Coney Island,” and “Evermore” — William Bowery. In her Disney Plus film, “Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions,” Swift confirmed that Bowery is none other than her boyfriend Joe Alwyn, who had previously co-written “Betty” and “Exile” for “Folklore.” This revelation saw Swifties taking to Twitter to joke about a happy couple role-playing a break-up scenario to give birth to relatable heartbreak songs.

Midnights era is full of paradoxes and futuristic retrospection

Taylor Swift in purple pool in Lavender Haze video

“Midnight,” the 10th studio album is a collection of 13 songs Taylor Swift wrote on 13 different nights throughout her career and has elements of all the different eras. Listening to the album is an experience of revisiting her albums. In the note on the album, Taylor confessed that the album was “the stories of 13 sleepless nights scattered throughout [her] life” (via Entertainment Weekly). With “Snow On The Beach,” this album also features a much-requested Taylor Swift-Lana Del Rey collaboration.

Even though “Midnights” was a surprise album, in less than 24 hours it became the most streamed album in a single day on Spotify making Swift the most streamed artist in a single day on Spotify. The song titles of the album were revealed one by one via a cheeky Tik Tok series, “Midnights Mayhem With Me.” The album also saw Swift going back to intensely personal lyrics, a trademark of her music after having stepped away from it for the last two albums. In retrospect, the album is also a great foundation for “The Eras Tour.” There’s no better way to re-engage with fans than giving them the musical treatment they’ve been patiently waiting for, right?

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