At the age of just 28, Lil Wayne has already made an indelible influence on a young generation of rappers. He famously discovered and mentored Nicki Minaj, and taught her how to get really weird. The rest is history, as told to T Cole Rachel and Interview:
On Wayne’s going to prison:
That is something that was always at the forefront of my mind. You don’t have to talk about it a lot, but… it was very surreal. It’s still hard to believe that that really happened. But every time I spoke to him he was so positive. He’d be on the phone and like, instead of me cheering him up it’s like he’s doing the opposite, he’s giving me like, the words, the wisdom.
On life without Wayne’s mentorship:
I don’t ever want to imagine that. I can’t even imagine my career, um, my creative spirit without Wayne. I credit him with a lot of what I do. Prior to him, no one relevant in hip-hop really gave me that support. I feel like I’m still intertwined with him creatively.
Before I met Wayne, the person that was spearheading my career was the one person who always told me, “Don’t be too playful, don’t be too kooky and weird… no one’s gonna feel that, nobody wants to hear that.” So I stifled a lot of that early on, and then once that we parted ways, I was like, “Guess what, I’m gonna just be me.”
On gender with Wayne:
Even though Wayne is my mentor, I’ve never gone to Wayne and asked him, “Hey Wayne, could you write me a rap?” That makes me just like one of the boys, you know? My work ethic is just like their work ethic, and I don’t have to wait on them to tell me to what to say. And I think that’s a big part of it.
Right in the middle of her big U.S. tour—she played New York Monday with Lil Wayne and had the sore throat to prove it last night—Nicki Minaj surprised the packed house during Bid To Save the Earth Tuesday night at Christie’s Auction House in New York with a performance. Sitting in the green room about an hour before her super-secret set was scheduled to begin, we talked with the singer about everything from preshow jitters (she gets them) to preshow routines (green tea and honey)—and how she’s making her own bid to save the Earth.
What are you wearing tonight? Is it one of your favorite designers?
Yes, it is—it’s Alexander Wang. It’s all black, of course, and I knew I needed to get my green on, so that’s how I came up with the green-and-white hair. I have a lot of designers I like right now; I really like Donatella Versace. She sent me a few beautiful things recently to consider wearing to the Grammys and, even though I ended up wearing Givenchy, I believe in supporting women. I’m all about the girl power.
Why did you decide to get involved in Bid to Save the Earth?
I know that a lot of my fans are young and I know I have the power to influence and inspire them by my own actions. I thought that if I got involved in a cause that I felt was important, then maybe they would take the time to research it and find ways they could get involved and make a difference. It’s good to shine a positive light.
If you could enact one rule to help the environment, what would that be?
I think there are a lot of things we could be doing better. I know when I see one of those big, gas-guzzling cars on the road, I cringe because I can’t help but think of all the more efficient alternatives. You don’t need that kind of car. So maybe that would be my rule, that people have to drive cars that are more environmentally responsible.
We Googled you while we were walking here. Do you Google yourself?
No, not any more. I used to when I started out just to see if I was on it, but then I realized that reading blogs is a lot more fun when you aren’t being written about—there is so much gossip and so many rumors. The other day, I read that I was pregnant and I thought, That’s crazy! Who is writing this stuff? I don’t need to read that.
What are three things you can’t live without?
Pink lip gloss, pink blush, and black mascara.
The star has been riding the success of her debut album Pink Friday recently, following its release in the US last year. The 26-year-old is currently one of the most sought after artists in hip-hop with a string of standout displays which has garnered her instant fame.
Despite her fame, the most important thing in Nicki’s life is her family, who she wishes she saw more of.
“It’s weird. I’m around so many people but I’m not around the people I love. That’s why I put their names in my songs, because that’s who I do all this for. My family are not the type to be star-struck though,” she told more! magazine. “I love my family, I’d freaking jump under a bus for them.”
Nicki – real name Onika Maraj – was born in the Caribbean island of Trinidad but moved to the Queens borough of New York when she was five years old to live with her mother. The rapper believes fame doesn’t affect her due to the presence of her immediate family and in particular her young brother, who isn’t fazed by the new celebrity in their midst.
“My little brother is 12 and acts like he doesn’t know or care about me. All his friends are obsessing over me and he’s like, ‘Whatever Onika!’” she added.
Part 2 : Talks Moment 4 Life collaboration with Drake.
Part 3 : Nicki breaks down her top 5 joints from Pink Friday, working with Eminem, Writing her collabo with Rihanna, LA Reid quoting her lyrics, being friends with Rihanna, the now famous English accent, etc.
Part 4 : Nicki talks about ‘Monster’, writing the verse with Kanye, and the debates about who had the best verse.
Part 5 : How Nicki met Lil Wayne and how she became a part of the Young Money Cash Money Family, Lil Wayne being a mentor and Twitter.
Everyone Will Be Talking About…Nicki Minaj
The petite hip-hop prodigy packs a serious punch on ‘Pink Friday’
When you hear the 5’2’’ neon-wig-wearing Nicki Minaj spitting out growls, cartoon voices, and tightly wound lyrics on verses for Mariah Carey, Usher, Kanye West, Ludacris, Drake, and Lil Wayne, it’s obvious why the critical masses have dubbed her Lil’ Kim 2.0. (Not that Kim’s too pleased with the comparison—this past summer, she accused Minaj of cribbing her style.) But the 25-year-old Queens native, who grew up listening to Salt-N-Pepa and Lauryn Hill, is more concerned about keeping up with the boys. “When I write, I don’t try to compete with any other female rapper,” she says. “The only way you’re going to push your pen is to think, I’ve got to shut these dudes down.” And that’s coming from the only female rapper signed to Cash Money Records, which released Pink Friday last week, a debut album filled with boombastic club anthems sung by her alter ego, “Roman Zolanski,” collaborations with Will.I.Am and Drake, and so-bizarre-they-work hooks (she samples Annie Lennox in the slow-jam single “Your Love,” check it out below).
ELLE: You have a few alter egos, so who am I talking to? Nicki the Ninja? Nicki the Boss?
Nicki Minaj: You’re definitely talking to the Boss right now. I don’t think I even go by Ninja and Boss anymore, I just go by Nicki Minaj and Barbie.
ELLE: Wait, but who is Roman Zolanski?
NM: Roman is a weird little alter ego who is very flamboyant and doesn’t give a damn. You know when I’m doing really weird voices, growling, being real crazy, and talking like Anna Nicole Smith? That’s Roman.
ELLE: Ah okay. I think I get it.
NM: Roman rapped on “Bottoms Up” with Trey Songz. And then Barbie rapped on ‘Your Love’. I think I just confused you ten times more.
ELLE: What’s the craziest request for a verse you’ve ever gotten?
NM: I’ve turned down like a billion of requests for sexually explicit lyrics. People just have to just start understanding that it’s not the only thing I have to talk about, it’s not the only thing I want to talk about, it’s not the only thing I’m going to talk about. I just have to take control of my brand because longevity is very important to me, and I wasn’t just going to please a couple of people then look back, and think “Wow, what did I just do to myself?” So I had turn a lot of people down, and there are a lot of people who were offended. I won’t name names, but they have to get over it.
ELLE: Speaking of sex, I heard that your fans ask you sign their boobs?
NM: Oh yeah, big boobs, little boobs, dry boobs, sweaty boobs, they don’t care. It doesn’t seem weird, though. It feels so empowering, and the girls are so happy about it. I really don’t even remember the first boob I signed, but now I can’t go anywhere without signing at least a hundred.
Thanks to the editor for emailing me with the story!
She’s worked with everyone from Mariah Carey to M.I.A., and now Nicki Minaj has her sights set on her next collaboration.
When asked by UsMagazine.com who her dream collaboration would be, one name came to mind. “Probably just Beyoncé right now,” revealed the Harajuku Barbie. “I’ve worked with just about all my dream collabs, like I’ve worked with Jay-Z and I’ve worked with Kanye and I worked with Rihanna and I’ve worked with Eminem. Those were at the top of my list. Now that I’ve done that, probably the only one on my list that I haven’t worked with that I’m really, really excited about is Beyoncé.”
The “Right Thru Me” rapper said earlier this year that she wanted to write for the pop star. “I think I could come up with some crazy stuff for Beyoncé,” she shared. “I have things that I write for girls, like R&B singers.”
It was Jay-Z who advised Robin Thicke to put Nicki on his “Shakin’ It 4 Daddy” record, so Mr. Carter shouldn’t have a problem convincing his wife to do the same. “Beyoncé, she’s fearless, and I think that she could embody my crazy swag in a female R&B world.”
Would you like to see a Nicki Minaj-Beyoncé collaboration? Tell us below!
Nicki Minaj performing “Roman’s Revenge” & “Right Thru Me”.
Check out the interviews in two additional parts after the jump.