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Nicki Minaj is on the rise, the Queens M.C. is doing her thing in 2010, not only has she resurrected a New York rap scene but at the same time she has placed herself at the top of the list of the best female M.C. in the game right now. Nicki sat down with XXL to shed some light on all the rumors, where she sees herself in the game and what influence Young Money CEO Lil Wayne had in her life. Check out some excerpts from her interview.
Your buzz has been growing more and more each month. How has that felt for you?
Yeah, I guess it has been growing, thank God. I dunno, it’s been an exciting whirlwind. I never really know what to expect. But the buzz has definitely been heightening, so I’m happy.
When did you first start to feel that things were coming together for you?
I definitely think that, when I shot the [“Up Out My Face”] video with Mariah Carey, I started feeling like, Wait a minute, this is not something I really ever envisioned for my life just nine months before that.
So growing up you’re a fan of hip-hop. You’re listening to it, watching it, learning to rap, and you see what the open lane is and figure how you can try to fill it? Is that how it works?
I never look at it like that; I just kinda do what I feel. I never knew what lane I would fill, [or that] I would fill a lane at all. I didn’t even really contemplate that far down the road. I just started having fun, and a lot of that came from me seeing Wayne dare to be different, and I started feeling like I can be a multifaceted rapper. I don’t have to be a one-dimensional female rapper. Once I put that in perspective, it was like everything just got easier for me, because I no longer wanted to fit in anybody’s box—I just wanted to be Nicki…
Clearly there’s an opening, because females in hip-hop come so far and few between, but the winners make an open lane out of a closed lane. The winners just say, “I am,” and it happens, and they don’t do a lot of thinking and guessing and planning about what they can do—they just do it. And that’s kinda like how I am.
You are both a new female rapper and a new rapper from New York. Do people recognize your gender more than that you’re a New York artist?
I think very often people miss that I’m from New York, and I don’t really know why that is, but I remember I said on Twitter one time, “Shout out to Queens,” and all of the gay boys thought I was talking to them, and I realized that people haven’t gotten that I’m Southside Jamaica, Queens, New York City. I feel like I say it a lot, but I guess I’m not saying it that much, or it’s that I’m so diverse and I don’t always rap with the New York accent—I switch it up, you know. People don’t see me as just repping one city or one state. I actually really like that. That was always my goal: to be able to bridge that gap, you know, whether it’s to London.
When I listen to my favorite artists, I don’t care where they’re from. When you listen to Whitney Houston, you don’t care if she’s from New Jersey or France. Like, she has an incredible voice. So I’m glad that sometimes people don’t put me [as the] “new, New York artist.” But I am very proud to rep New York. Who wouldn’t be? We’ve seen the best male and female artists, so it’s an honor to be from New York. —Vanessa Satten
To read the rest of this cover story, be sure to pick up the May 2010 issue of XXL, featuring Young Money’s Nicki Minaj and Drake on the cover, which hits newsstands nationwide April 20.
Source: XXL Magazine