Nicki Minaj On Self Doubt, Humble Beginnings & New Album
In a New York Times interview, 34-year-old mega star Nicki Minaj dishes on her fourth studio album, humble beginnings how Kanye West says she influences women in hip hop. Check out a few exerts from the interview below.
On working as a waitress:
I would take people’s order and then a rap might come to me just by what they’re wearing or what they said or did, and I would go in the kitchen and write it down, put it in the back of my little thing or my apron, and by the time I was done I would have all of these sheets of paper thrown around everywhere with raps.
On her new album:
I know what the album’s about to sound like. I know what this album is going to mean to my fans. This album is everything in my life coming full circle and me being truly, genuinely happy. It feels almost like a celebration. The last album, “The Pink Print”, was almost like my diary, closing the chapter on certain things and not knowing if I was happy or sad about beginning new chapters. I was really writing about feeling unsure.
Now, I can tell you guys what happened for the last two years of my life. I know who I am. I am getting Nicki Minaj figured out with this album and I’m loving her.
On her sound and delivery:
Do you sound intelligent? Does your flow switch up? Are you in command of the beat? I listen for things like that. Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Foxy Brown — those are the three I keep in my head when I’m writing because they’ve influenced me so much, I feel like I’m a part of all of them.
On what Kanye West said to her about her influence in the rap game:
[He said] ‘Every girl I hear rap, I can hear Nicki in her rap.’ I didn’t ask him who, but that was such a great compliment. Because sometimes you think you is the only one that can hear those types of things.
On being on the verge of another big moment in her career:
This is definitely the most inspired and free and excited I’ve been since I started releasing albums through a label.
On her evolving from mixtapes to major label albums:
Artists do it to themselves. I’m not going to blame a label. You just over think. When you’re doing your own little thing, you feel like, ‘I can be myself, I can be crazy. When you start working with a record company, you start thinking you need a bigger sound. I wanted to get back to the place where I wasn’t a second-guessing thing so much. Sometimes simple is O.K.
On her newfound confidence and trusting her instincts:
I believe in my gift wholeheartedly, but this self-assurance was not easy to come by. Sometimes I wake up and say, ‘I don’t know if I can do this anymore,’ you know? I’ve had those times. I’ve had those years where I’m just like, ‘Am I good enough?’ [But believes in her] ability to withstand what would break the normal girl.
On her struggles and how she has risen above them:
I kind of love that I’ve had to go through so many hurdles to get where I am because I feel like I deserve it. I had so much going against me in the beginning: being black, being a woman, and being a female rapper. No matter how many times I get on a track with everyone’s favorite M.C. and hold my own, the culture never seems to want to give me my props as an M.C., as a lyricist, as a writer. I got to prove myself a hundred times, whereas the guys that came in around the same time as I did, they were given the titles so much quicker without anybody second-guessing.