elle interview with hip-hop prodigy nicki minaj

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!

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Who is Nicki?

Onika Tanya Maraj-Petty (born December 8, 1982), known professionally as Nicki Minaj is a Trinidadian-born American rapper, singer, and songwriter.
Current Projects

Beam Me Up Scotty
Type: EP
Release: June 18, 2022

Unknown (feat. Lil Nas X)
Type: Unknown
Year: TBA
Elite Affiliates
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