The superstar pretending her rivals don’t exist has become an iconic putdown – with Lil’ Kim the latest to use the damning technique
Pop has had some incredible disses. Rihanna saying Diplo’s music sounds “like a reggae song at an airport”. Beyoncé’s smirk & eye roll when Kelly Rowland claimed to lớn be the “second lead” singer in Destiny’s Child. Drake asking Meek Mill: “Is that a world tour, or your girl’s tour?” on Back to lớn Back. But the greatest – & most enduring – shade of all time has to lớn be when Mariah Carey claimed she didn’t know Jennifer Lopez.
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Let’s go back: in the early 00s, when asked about her pop rival by paparazzi, Mariah shook her head & innocently answered: “I don’t know her.” She did know her: last year, Irv Gotti claimed that the singers started their feud in 2001 when Mariah was surprised khổng lồ hear a sample she’d bagged for her then-unreleased song Loverboy pop up on Lopez’s hit single I’m Real.
But instead of slagging her off, Mariah decided lớn pretend Jennifer Lopez simply didn’t exist, a position she maintains khổng lồ this day. The success of this tactic means Mariah has also used it on other pop stars, such as Demi Lovato (“She should come up to me, introduce herself,” she told US talkshow host Andy Cohen) & Ariana Grande (“Honestly, I’m not familiar”). In 2016, she told TMZ: “I still don’t know
Carey holding her famous quote. Photograph: BuzzfeedRealistically, there are a lot of things that Mariah Carey probably doesn’t know about: Hollyoaks, that M&S dine-in-for-£10 meal deal, the time Jesy from Little set tried to vì chưng a Jamaican accent & made up a new word. But the multi-award-winning, internationally famous Jennifer Lopez? She knows her.
But the phrase’s enduring legacy (and THAT gif of the moment) means it’s the diss that just won’t die. Lil’ Kim recently rolled out an approximation of it when asked about Nicki Minaj, which is sort of perfect, as Mariah and Nicki also hate each other, following their short stint together on the judging panel of American Idol in 2013. When asked what she thinks of Cardi B & Nicki Minaj, Kim replied: “Cardi is my girl. I don’t know the other one, but Cardi is my girl.”
Really, it’s the ultimate diss, a lesson in the art of throwing shade: just denying the very existence of anyone you don’t like. We all know the gut-punch of someone saying: “So nice khổng lồ meet you!” when you’ve actually met them 12 times before. Claiming not lớn know someone means you don’t sound bitchy – how could you be, you don’t know them? – but it’s a sly way of saying that someone’s personality is unmemorable. In Mariah’s case, it’s an overt way of saying that Jennifer Lopez’s art – her pop career, her movies, her TV work – has made so little impact on the world, Mariah just hasn’t come across her yet. Subtlety? She doesn’t know the meaning of it.