Last year, we were chilling with one of our close friends and she said, “You know that new rapper girl? The really tiny, pretty one? With the quirky, interesting voice? [lastfm]Nicki Minaj[/lastfm]? I am pretty sure she is going to change the face of music for women.”
Our friend was right. Because this year, we were chilling with Minaj at the AMP Studios, celebrating Pink Friday with the hip-hop Harajuku Barbie while she posed for photos in the Bud Light Lime Lounge, instead of scouring the internet for tracks from her mixtapes.
This week’s Last.fm Discover Artist dished with McCabe about her album, Pink Friday, to drop on November 22nd.
After a grip of radio appearances and an “insane” appearance at [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Drake[/lastfm]’s Los Angeles show, Miss Minaj combined Casual Friday with Pink Friday, representing her quintessential hot pink with a fuchsia school girl book bag, but dressed comfortably in skin-tight jeans, flat and fringed snake-skin boots, and a cream-colored jacket with cut-outs that showed off her tattoos.
Besides a pair of luscious eyelashes and hot pink lips, Minaj is as naturally beautiful as one would expect with minimal make-up and a huge, gorgeous smile.
Despite her diminutive size, Minaj emanates a powerful energy that gives her a big presence without feeling dominating or diva-ish. Perhaps, it is her penchant for pink, her girlish giggle, or her adorable segues into silliness.
This is all part of the appeal of Nicki Minaj; she is unapologetically female while spitting rhymes that go toe-to-toe with hardcore, male rap artists.
What many people don’t know is that before Nicki Minaj became the shining star on these male artists tracks, she was already putting out her own insanely talented, innovative sound:
I was doing a lot of like underground DVDs, just rapping, you know? Just like rapping on other people’s beats. I did like so many freestyles on someone else’s beat. It’s a surprise that I can even do an original song because like my whole thing was like me doing other people’s songs. But um, you know, I did a lot of that.
I did a lot of mixtapes. I did 3 mixtapes actually, to be exact. I did ‘Playtime is Over,’ ‘Sucka-free,’ then I did ‘Beam Me Up, Scotty.’ And then once I did ‘Beam Me Up, Scotty,’ um you know, I really like signed my record deal because I had been affiliated to Young Money, but I hadn’t been signed. I really signed contracts and then we started working on an album.
Well, I would say within the last six months is when I really started working on ‘Pink Friday.’
McCabe asked Minaj what it’s like to compete with strong, masculine contenders in a male-dominated industry. Instead, Minaj bubbled over with gratitude for Cash Money president and recently released Rikers Island inmate, [lastfm]Lil Wayne[/lastfm]:
I mean, it’s incredible because first of all, Lil Wayne is an icon to me. And the fact that I even get to rap the same thing he does, it’s crazy! I was always a fan of Wayne and I never imagined that he would like me.
I thought if anything he would like some girl from New Orleans or something. But it’s kind of odd that I didn’t sign with a dude from New York and he didn’t sign a girl from New Orleans. We just kind of met up in some place in the universe in a weird way. And obviously having [lastfm]Drake [/lastfm]on the team is just crazy.
It’s incredible. It’s like we all get panties thrown at us, you know?
While Nicki Minaj didn’t directly answer the question, her reference to having “panties” thrown at her was all the answer we needed. In terms of fans, admiration, and respect, Minaj is at the same level as Drake and Lil Wayne; all the evidence you need is in the sheer amount of women’s underwear Minaj must collect after each show.
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All this musical attention, Minaj’s in-your-face performance attitude and her outlandish style might make her seem like a brash, loud-mouthed young lady, but she came off as very polite and eloquent.
In fact, Minaj recounted her awkwardness during her first couple meetings with Lil Wayne:
I was so shy! When I first met Wayne, I would never speak. I would just smile and nod, you know? But we did talk about him wanting to start something called Young Money and I hadn’t heard about Young Money yet, so it was like kind of like ‘What is this? Is it really going to happen?’
You know every artist says they want to start their own label. You never know if it really going to happen or not. But I was just excited about being a part of whatever he was doing.
But I remember I went onto the bus and it was just like a whole bunch of guys that looked like Wayne: tats and dreads and, you know. I was very, very nervous.
It’s obvious that Minaj has a lot of admiration for Lil Wayne, so McCabe asked her how her president was doing. Minaj answered enthusiastically:
Yes, he’s doing great! He’s in great spirits as he always is. I’m going to see him on Sunday. People don’t understand how much of a strain that was for us for our president to be locked away, you know?
He wasn’t even able to be on my album, which was really sentimental to me because, you know, this was in the works for the last 3 years. I’ve known him forever and he really gave me my start and because of this whole jail thing, he wasn’t able to record for ‘Pink Friday.’
So, it really, really bothered all of us in different ways.
Fortunately, this hasn’t stopped Nicki Minaj from putting out her album, whether she is rapping as Nicki, Roman, or Roman’s mother, Martha:
I knew that I wanted to tackle all angles, all facets of my own personality. That was one thing. So I wanted to bring old school, underground Nicki and I wanted to, you know, bring top 40 Nicki with me.
You know, I write all types of music, so I didn’t want to limit myself. And I know I didn’t want my fans to just get accustomed to hearing me do one type of thing. It was important that I did a plethora of different sounds on the album so people will now know that, you know, ‘don’t box me in.’ Just expect the unexpected all the time from now on.
With the features, I wanted to work with people who I was a true fan of, you know? I’m a true fan of [lastfm]Eminem[/lastfm] and [lastfm]Rihanna[/lastfm] and [lastfm]Kanye [/lastfm]and [lastfm]Will.i.Am [/lastfm]and [lastfm]Natasha Beddingfield [/lastfm]and Drake.
And those are the artists on ‘Pink Friday.’ So, I’m just really, really proud of the line up.”
Will Nicki Minaj bring her banging sound to Los Angeles stages anytime soon? She says:
We’re working on it and that’s my number one priority right now is to do an L.A. show. But I’ll let you guys know as soon as I have one.
For now, you can listen to Nicki Minaj on AMP. Minaj also was kind enough to give us the locations to pre-order Pink Friday:
The album comes out Monday, November 22. It’s currently on pre-order. Pre-order on iTunes. Pre-order on BestBuy.com. Pre-order on Amazon. Pre-order on Wal-Mart. Pre-order at Barnes and Noble.
You can get it everywhere and we have a great deluxe edition, a special deluxe edition on iTunes and a special deluxe edition from Best Buy.
Get out there and support your beautiful Barbie queen! She is blazing trails for women all over the world with every punched-out, pink-lipsticked rhyme she does!