Nicki knows that she's the queen of rap
Nicki Minaj always knew that she was going to be big in the rap world. She set out to become a star when she was just a teen and actually made it happen. After releasing a ton of songs and mixtapes on MySpace, she got discovered by Lil Wayne in 2009. She quickly rose to superstardom, but she may not have known at the time that she would not only be a well-known figure in hip hop — she would grow to be famous in pop culture overall.
Let Me Introduce Myself
Nicki was chosen along with twenty other artists to grace one of the covers of XXL’s 20th anniversary issue. She spent much of the interview discussing her unparalleled crossover appeal.
“My role in hip hop has been super unique because when my first album (Pink Friday 2010) came out, there had been so much time where there wasn’t a female rap album out that went platinum. There wasn’t a big female rap presence right before I got in. So, my role was really reintroducing the female rapper to pop culture.”
After the massive success of Lauryn Hill’s “Doo Wop (That Thing)” in 1998, female hip hop artists were having trouble maintaining top spots on the Billboard charts.
Nicki knows very well that power that artists can have, and she felt lucky to have powerful players on her side when she was starting out. She explained:
“My first album, I had features with Eminem and Kanye. I had been on Kanye’s album on a feature with Jay-Z. I had so many big names on that first album. I don’t think that’s ever been done before on a female rap album. For humongous artists to co-sign [new artists] and give them that stamp of approval. I remember every time I wrote a verse, I sent it to Eminem, he would send a new verse back. It was competitive, it was fun. I think all the big male artists also treated me with a sense of respect as an emcee. They took me serious. If they wanted to rap with me, they knew they had to come hard. I’m super proud of bringing that to the game as a female rapper.”
Nicki didn’t just want to be a famous musician, she wanted to be a famous everything! She said about her success.
“I aligned myself with a lot of brands, and I was able to show that a female rapper can sell products whether it was the makeup, the lipsticks, nail polish, headphones or anything like that. I don’t think [female rappers] got that much credit.
I think female rappers have always been dope and influential, but I think I sort of came in at a time where big business was paying attention, so I was able to capitalize off of a lot of deals and business ventures.”
Hip Hop is Life
This rap queen loves the buying power that she built up and only plans on growing that empire. If that’s the case, you might want to start calling her Empress Minaj. She explained:
“It’s no surprise that brands want to align themselves with hip hop artists because we have reach, we have so much influence. Rappers help sales of clothes, rappers influence sales of everything. The people who work for Chanel told my stylists one day when they went there to pull bags for me, ‘Whatever Nicki posts on her Instagram sells out.’ Certain designers feel like they’re bigger than rap or hip hop, but nothing is bigger than hip hop. It’s by far the biggest influence on life. It sounds crazy, but what kids wear, how they speak, the dances, everything.”
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