Nicki Minaj is letting the world know that she is an icon!
Minaj recently appeared on the cover of the British magazine I-D with a message that sums up her career and legacy in its entirety; royalty. The rapper, who has solidified her spot in hip-hop culture and music history, sat down with the magazine to discuss influences, the right to speak up, and what her legacy will be.
The interview was conducted by JT, 1/2 of the rap group City Girls. JT and Nicki have had a rocky relationship over the years but recently worked through their issues which resulted in Nicki seeking JT’s talent for the remix of her newest hit single, “Super Freaky Girl.”
JT opens the interview by asking Nicki why she decided to write Super Freaky Girl and why it was important for her to give female rappers who are not mainstream or even signed to major deals a chance. The song included verses from JT, Akbar V, Katie Got Bandz, Malibu Mitch, and BIA.
I knew the song would make people happy. Everything that feels nostalgic is making people feel better right now ‘cause we’ve had a couple of tough years. Once I started writing it, it became easy and fun. It’s been a while since I put out a fun song. With the remix, I was like, “The song is called “Super Freaky Girl”, so why don’t we see how other female voices would speak from a freaky girl perspective?” I wanna hear girls rap again. Like, just rap. When I did my BET Cypher years ago, I purposely didn’t wear revealing clothes. I wore a sweatsuit. So even though we were being super freaky girls on the song, and we all had fun, y’all really spit.
Another topic of discussion was Nicki’s pop music era. Over the years, Nicki Minaj’s career has shown versatility in the most prominent areas of music. While she is respected today for her transcending career, her initial success in pop culture was criticized heavily as some felt she strayed from her rap roots. Nicki’s rise to fame came from her hard-hitting lyrics being displayed on underground rap tapes known as The Come Up DVD. JT explained the disconnect that Nicki’s core fans may have felt when Nicki gained that crossover success.
Okay… I thought I knew her, but I did not. I was a delusional little girl who had this love/hate relationship in my mind with Nicki Minaj. It was because I knew how to rap always, and Nicki knew too. I was so deep in the gutter when Nicki first started. She was the round-the-way girl. She did the “Jump Off” remix, and I was like, “She’s so pretty, she’s so hood.” A couple of years later, you went into your more pop era. It was a heartbreak moment for a hood girl. It was like, “Damn Nicki, you left us.” Then you came back with your straight hair and your sexy look, and I was like, “Okay, so she still fuck with us.” If you were to ever look down my tweets, there would always be good tweets and bad tweets. That was the disconnection. Pink Friday was me and all my friends’ favourite album. But I think that the album that I didn’t know that much was…
Minaj responded, “No one in my life or career has ever explained what you just explained to me that way. You articulated that so well that I was finally able to understand the disconnect and some of the heartbreak that my really hood fans must’ve felt seeing me come from The Come Up DVD and mixtapes and Pink Friday to doing “Starships” and “Pound the Alarm.”
Nicki also talked about how Foxy Brown, Jay-Z, and her label owner Lil Wayne are just some of the influences on her music.
Foxy Brown. I still probably at times sound similar to her. I would listen to this woman non-stop. Finding out she was from Trinidad was so freaking amazing to me, because I never imagined that a rapper could be from my country. She’s so precise with her delivery, and so clear. And I really love clarity in raps. The other ones that shaped my overall style a lot are Lil Wayne, especially in the beginning, I used to do a lot of things that were similar to him and Jay-Z. One of my first faves actually was Slick Rick. I’ve always loved the British accent, I still do.
JT’s next question has been circulating on social media. The City Girl member asked, “A lot of the time, and right now especially, people are like, “Damn, Nicki don’t care what she says.” Why is it so important for you to speak up?
Nicki stated that her speaking up for herself is her right, and if she never rapped again, she would still leave this earth as an icon.:
Well, there’s a huge misconception with people who come across as outspoken. The misconception is that we’re so strong. Just because a person fights back, doesn’t mean they’re not afraid. I have suppressed years’ worth of things that I’ve wanted to say. People have lied about me, and I didn’t respond. There’s always been a level of fear there because this is a business. This is not walking down the block and jumping double dutch. This is a job. And the same way people at a nine-to-five can lose their job, and won’t be able to pay their bills, an artist can lose their job. They can lose their spot; they can lose their money. So, there’s always some reservation there. But I’ve decided that I have to speak up now. You know, I see the hip-hop community praise so many other people for speaking up for themselves, but for some reason they seem to have an issue when I do it. Once I realised that there’s that double standard, I decided I don’t give a shit anymore. The last part of it is that if I never rap again, I will still leave this earth as an icon. I guess there is a little less fear now at this point in my career because I realise that my fans aren’t going anywhere. I’ve paid my dues.
As for what is next for the multi-platinum rapper? Her 5th studio album is on the way. She also has a press-on-nail business in the works. We can also expect to see Minaj back in her acting bag, as she has been in talks with directors for some upcoming projects.
Check out the rest of the interview on the I-D magazine website.