She got a big ego… but with a co-sign from Lil Wayne, wouldn’t you? Nicki Minaj may be a NewBee, but she’s carries herself like a seasoned pro. Don’t let the overt sexuality and cheeky style (pun intended) fool you. Yeah, we’ve seen it before from female hip hop acts (We see you, Kimmy!), but this time it’s for the ladies. No pause necessary.
Honey: You’re definitely one of those artists who had a crazy Internet buzz before being signed. How did you go about getting started in the business and getting that buzz going for yourself?
People pressured me to start a MySpace page. I was anti-Internet, [but] eventually I just said, ‘I’ll do it.’ Fendi saw me and he started covering me on [his DVD series, “The Come Up DVD”]. Lil Wayne saw it and he wanted me to be a part of Young Money Entertainment. I don’t know why I have the Internet buzz. Maybe it has something to do with some of my interviews. We’re trying to take that buzz and gear it towards the music. In a couple of days, my mixtape, Beam Me Up Scotty, is going to be out. That’ll cause the music to catch up with the Internet buzz.
I know some of the promo photos, like the photo you did with the infamous pose from Lil Kim’s debut album, were really popular. Was this a strategy just to shock the world?
I wouldn’t do a pose like that again but I’m happy I did it. If I did it before Kim, then it would just be a raunchy photo. But when you duplicate something that a hip-hop icon has done, it’s saying, ‘I’m here now and I’m going to be somebody.’ We definitely did it to get the attention. I always have something to back it up. I’m not just about a sexy pose. I’m working hard on music and people are going to be shocked when they hear the new album.
So how would you describe your look now?
One of the big pictures we did was Wonder Woman. I do feel like I’m a hip-hop heroine, like I’m straight out of a comic book. We’re going do things that show Nicki Minaj is here to save the day. I can’t really say that I’m only going to run with one look because my whole image is about being every girl. I’m a Harajuku Barbie. I’m a ninja and I’m a boss. They are all so different but they’re still all Nicki Minaj. I just know that we won’t go overtly sexy anymore.
You said there are a lot of female rappers out there. What’s your point of difference?
I’m not a female rapper. I’m just an entertainer. The problem with female rappers is they allow themselves to be boxed in. I’m not allowing the industry to box me in. It’s a big reason why you haven’t seen Nicki Minaj on MTV or BET yet. I’m making my own terms. A lot of record companies are like, ‘Why is she rapping and singing? Is she the bad girl or she the good girl?’ The thing that separates Nicki Minaj from the other girls is that I have to do what I want to do and that’s the only way I feel free. If you ever go to a Nicki Minaj show, you’ll see girls screaming like how they screamed for Cyndi Lauper back in that day. We’re setting trends. This is about a new culture of girls and I’m spearheading that movement. It’s about excitement. It’s about being smart, but being sexy. It’s all those things that girls want do, but sometimes we feel like we have to do one or the other.