Catching Up With Nicki Minaj
By Noah Michelson
Before Pink Friday came out you hinted that it wasn't going to be a straightforward rap album, and it turned out to be more of a fusion of hip-hop and pop. Now you're on these massive dance tracks with Britney and David Guetta. When you think about your position in the industry, how do you visualize yourself? Do you consider yourself primarily a rapper, or have distinctions between genres fallen out completely?
I'm an entertainer. I'm just an entertainer that is rooted in hip-hop. And of course I'm a rapper because when it comes to my skill, I don't think anyone can deny that. I don't think that you can deny that I'm sitting here writing my own lyrics and I've written my lyrics since the beginning of time, and I'm very proud of that. So, of course, I'm a rapper first and foremost, but I'm an entertainer. And I think that all of my favorite artists -- in my head -- they're entertainers.
You're going on the road with Britney this summer. Do you feel a particular kinship with her?
Absolutely. I feel like she has experienced life as an underdog, and I feel like my whole career I've been the underdog. I think that it just goes to show that when you are a strong woman, at the end of the day, it doesn't matter. You bounce back from whatever. And I think she's probably gone through 10 times whatever I've gone through. But the fact that she came back out with just so much fire inspires me, and it inspires young women and people all over the world. It just inspires you. A lot of my fans feel like they are the underdog and feel like they are the people who aren't ever accepted for themselves, or who are laughed at or poked fun at forever. It just goes to show that once you keep at whatever it is you're doing, people may not like you, people may not love you, but they will have to respect you at the end of the day. And that respect is all that matters.
I also think it's your underdog persona that many of your gay fans relate to. Speaking of which, when Pink Friday came out last fall, a lot of people were upset about Eminem's use of the word "faggot" on your track "Roman's Revenge." What's your take on it?
You know, if I'm being honest, I didn't like [him using it]. I spoke to everyone I knew about it. I spoke to my hairdresser, who's one of my closest friends. I sat him down and said, 'Terrence, what do you think about this? How does this make you feel?' And we had a long, long talk. And he said he didn't feel like Eminem was talking about a gay person. He felt like it was a word being used to describe a straight man, and he didn't take offense to it. It's Eminem -- I felt like we were creating a movie. And in the same way, I feel like if you were to watch your favorite actor or actress say 'faggot' or say 'nigger' in a movie, you don't hate them because it's like they're playing a role. 'Roman's Revenge' was more like a theatrical piece. I was a character and [Eminem] was a character. This was Slim Shady and Roman. Of course, when it comes to creativity, there's such a thin line between creativity and something being offensive. But one thing I knew for sure was that my gay fan base knows about how I feel about them, and I've embraced them from the beginning -- since my mix-tape days. [Reaching out to gay fans wasn't something I did] once I came into pop culture just to try and get some extra fans. So I felt like the positive would outweigh the negative, and we just kept moving with that.
To read our October 2010 Nicki Minaj cover story and see an exclusive video interview with the rapper, click here.
For more on Nicki Minaj, visit her official website and follow her on Twitter. For more on David Guetta, visit his official website and follow him on Twitter. To purchase "Where Them Girls At," head to iTunes.