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jr rotem speaks on ‘fly’ featuring rihanna from “pink friday”

Nicki Minaj may be an upstart artist, but the Lil Wayne protégé handles her business like a veteran.

For “Fly,” from her debut, Pink Friday, Minaj reached out to producer J.R. Rotem (Britney Spears, Rick Ross, Leona Lewis) to helm the track, an inspirational tune that was a last-minute addition to the album.

“Near the tail end of her project, I came into the studio and I had some tracks [for her]. That was one of the ones I was excited about,” Rotem told MTV News. “When I played it for her, she knew instantly: ‘Yes, this is the record.’ She connected with it immediately. I could just tell she was excited by it, which excited me.”

The demo version of “Fly” featured a studio session singer on the hook, but Minaj had another idea, namely Rihanna.

“That would be great,” the producer recalled telling Minaj. “But getting Rihanna to do a hook for you is easier said than done. He added, “I think that speaks to Nicki’s star power. I said, ‘Yeah, she’s definitely first choice.’ ”

Time passed, Rotem e-mailed Nicki and the two went back and forth until the rapper told him Rihanna had agreed to sing on the track.

“It took time because she was promoting her own album and traveling overseas,” he said. “It happened, and I heard it when Nicki gave me the record and it really was one of those incredible things that was really a blessing. It manifested. She said she wanted it and it happened.”

What’s your favorite Pink Friday track? Tell us in the comments!

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

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