Nicki Minaj is ushering in a new era on the cover of DAZED magazine’s Autumn/Winter 2017 issue.
The in-depth article finds the Young Money queen reflecting on her 10-year career, explaining her influence, and celebrating her accomplishments. “Look, I came into this industry saying I would never sleep with a man to get what I wanted and I would always write my own raps, because I’ve always been smart enough to do that,” she said. “I’ve done it. I’ve kept true to my main promises to myself. Everybody can’t say that.”
During the interview, she also described her impact on future female rappers. “The same things that may have been looked at as bad at the beginning of my career, or at the beginning of my life — maybe my bosses thought I was a little bit much — those things made me able to open doors for female rappers, to get a lot of money, to have a major influence and to see that translated into our bank accounts,” she added. “I know a lot of girls who are going to reap the benefits of that ‘attitude’. And I wasn’t fired for having a bad attitude, I think I was fired because I voiced my opinion. Even to this day, people are uncomfortable when women voice their opinions. Everybody wants you to just smile to the camera and be quiet and take what you get. I’m not that girl.”
Now, Nicki is working on the follow-up to 2014’s The Pinkprint, which she said has to be a “classic.” “I’ve made it my business with this album to not even put a date or a deadline on it,” she explained. “I can’t say if I’m fifty-per-cent, eighty-per-cent or ten-per-cent done, because I don’t know. Tomorrow, I might walk into the studio and decide that I don’t like anything I’ve done in the last six months. Or, tomorrow I might walk in and feel like the whole album is done. There’s so much beauty in not knowing. I just want to go in the studio and create like I used to, before there were any expectations. You know? When I was just having fun, working on my mixtapes, going in and creating… writing my little life.”
Elsewhere in the lengthy conversation, Nicki revealed that her new era will be “a billion times more epic” than her last and that it will be her “most impactful” yet. She also revealed that she still has no timetable for the LP and that she’s already collaborated with Young Thug. Read additional quotes from Nicki’s DAZED cover story below.
On Working with Young Thug: “I was so blown away by his artistry. I can’t wait for people to hear that collaboration.”
On Her New Era: “This era will be a billion times more epic than anything ‘Anaconda’ could have delivered. I think this era will definitely be the most memorable and the most impactful of my career yet.”
On Her Decade In Music: “If I had to describe (the past 10 years) I would say ‘blessed’. Blessed and highly favoured, because the things that have happened to me have been once in a lifetime.”
On Lil Wayne’s Influence: “I feel like it’s been a Cinderella story. Getting plucked out of Southside, Jamaica, Queens by the prince, Lil Wayne, and whisked away on a freaking magic pumpkin. I’m still in the magic pumpkin! I have to say it’s been magical. It’s been tough. It’s been emotional. I’ve had to deal with it all, negative and positive. But I know there are so many girls who would kill to have [what] I’ve experienced, so I have to take the good with the bad and be grateful. No matter what’s gone on the past 10 years, I’m still here. I’m still here!”
On Billboard Record: “I don’t feel like I’ve fully wrapped my mind around that. With some of these things, I still feel like I’m in a dream. Before I ever put out an album I prayed that God would give me Lil Wayne’s work ethic. He was the person everyone went to for a feature. Now, one of the reasons I was able to break that record is because so many artists have trusted me with their singles and their videos — they’ve trusted me with their image. I have to thank those artists, because I learn so much when I feature. It’s forced me to have so much flexibility in my flow. I can be sent a pop song, a reggae song, a rap song or an R&B song, and people know that Nicki Minaj is gonna deliver something special every time. I don’t think people realize, but I don’t just call people and ask to get on their songs. It happens because over the years I’ve created this brand that people know. I’m gonna go above and beyond for them. I never get a chance to say that about the artists who’ve called me — I never get a chance to say thank you to everyone.”
On Roman’s Possible Return: “Everyone has been asking me about Roman. Will Roman come back? If Roman is needed, then Roman will be there. I’m not going to do anything that feels forced. I’m doing this for my core fans.”
On Her New Album Being In-Depth: “Everyone is so filtered these days. I’m just back to being reckless and being a Southside, Jamaica, Queens, New York rapper. You know? I kind of feel like I’ve been having freedom with my look and my music. It doesn’t mean that I won’t go into depth about my experiences on this album…I’m going to go even deeper than I went with The Pinkprint, because I have a lot to talk about. Why not? I feel like when your fans wait two years for you to put out another album, it has to be worth it. It has to be an honest exchange of dialogue.”
On Making a Classic: “I’ve seen my fans grow up for the last 10 years, which is crazy. I’ve been following some of them for eight years on Twitter. Imagine that. There are kids who have gone to college tweeting me their freaking degrees when they graduate, or tweeting me pictures of their babies and I remember when they had just come out of high school. I’m just like, ‘Yo.’ It’s a beautiful thing. I don’t take that for granted. That’s why I’m not rushing the album, because it means so much to me. I have to release a classic at this point.”
On Demanding More: “I came into this industry and demanded more. I wanted more for female rappers. I wanted more for black women. I wanted to make more than what men were making. And I did it. I did it. I knew my worth from very early on. Some may call it attitude, some might call it genius. Some might call a female rapper getting a million dollars for one show genius! Some may call being the only female rapper — still, right now — able to have worldwide arena tours fucking brilliant!”