Catching Up With Nicki Minaj
By Noah Michelson
Last October, Out was one of the first magazines to try and contain the ferociousness of Nicki Minaj within its pages. Since then, she's released her hugely successful debut album, Pink Friday, which broke a mess of records including the most consecutive weeks in the Top 10 by a female rapper. Nicki has also had the most appearances at one time by a female rapper on the Billboard Hot 100. In the last six months she's also gone on tour with Lil' Wayne, debuted a slew of videos, including her most recent for "Super Bass," and guest starred on tracks by Britney Spears and, most recently, megawatt DJ David Guetta.
We caught up with Nicki to find out more about her collaboration with Guetta on the soon-to-be biggest jam of the summer, "Where Them Girls At," which also features Flo Rida, her interest in writing a theme song for Ricki Lake's new talk show, and how she felt about the homophobic slur Enimem unleashed on her track "Roman's Revenge."
Out: A couple of months ago you said you didn't want to do any more guest spots on tracks -- except perhaps for Britney Spears -- so you could concentrate on your own music. What was it about David Guetta and "Where Them Girls At" that made you change your mind?
Nicki Minaj: When I heard it, I knew it was a smash. It's one of those records. When something comes on and just makes you feel euphoric and you just get out of your seat and the second time they play it you already know all the words -- that's the feeling it gave me. So Flo Rida was on it and the hook was already on it. And David actually asked me to be on it, and I said, "No -- if I'm going to do something with you, let it be just me." But when I heard the record, it was so undeniable. I said, 'You know what? This makes me happy. I can imagine girls in the club bucking out to this record. Let me get on it." Because, honestly, I did want to minimize my guest appearances, but I'm no fool. [Laughs]
How do you come up with your lyrics? If someone reaches out to you to do a guest spot, do you already have a notebook full of lyrics to pull from or do you write rhymes specifically for each track?
Ninety-nine percent of the time I'm writing something specific to each track. Especially the busier I am, the less writing I'm doing. When I'm home, like when I was home working on Pink Friday, then I have some stuff already sitting there in my notebooks. But when I'm on the road, no. It's like when someone sends me something, it's brand new off the top of my head, whatever that beat makes me feel.
One of the lines from the remix of Britney Spears's "Till The World Ends" that you're featured on gives a shout-out to '90s talk show host and Hairspray star Ricki Lake. As soon as the remix debuted, everyone was buzzing about Ricki again -- 'Ricki Lake' was even trending on Twitter. What does it feel to have that kind of influence?
I really love Ricki. Of course I was super young when I watched her show, but something about her demeanor just always came across as the girl next door, and she had this sweet smile. It was done as a joke but to know that someone I really like wound up getting a little bit of face time from it -- it's pretty cool. I mean people do that for me, and it's good to return the favor.
She actually tweeted that she wants you to write the song for her new talk show. Would you ever consider that?
[Laughs] I'm sure. Yes, I would definitely consider that. I don't know if I would perform it, but writing it is a different story. I'm sure I could think of something really cool and catchy.