Nicki Minaj is only at the beginning of her career, but she promises a climax the world won’t forget. Now infamous for poppin’ a squat, Lil’ Kim style, on the promotional poster for her Sucka Free mixtape, which dropped this past Spring, the feisty femcee with a co-sign from the self-proclaimed “best rapper alive” has a few other plans under wraps for 2009. Recently heard spitting on Weezy and DJ Drama’s Dedication 3, and now working on a new mixtape due out on Christmas, she plans to put out music more consistently and prove that aside from her sometimes raunchy and suggestive playfulness, she is in fact, a multifaceted actor, writer, rapper and singer. The femme fatale speaks to XXLMag.com about being snubbed for XXL‘s December 2008 “Leaders of the New School” cover, denies signing with Gucci Mane and vows to bring estrogen back to the mic.
XXL: There’s been some changes with you. After moving to Atlanta people seem to think you’ve signed with Gucci Mane.
Nicki Minaj: I haven’t signed with Gucci Mane. Gucci is an artist that happens to have the same manager that I do. That’s should be clarified because I don’t know where people are getting this perception that I’m so icey and I signed to Gucci.
XXL: You got new management? What happened with Sickamore?
NM: I’m not with Sickamore, but I love him to death. Sickamore was somebody that took interest in me from two years ago but we discontinued the manager/artist relationship. I still love him and I value his opinion. I actually hit him up all the time and ask him his opinion on stuff.
XXL: You’re still Young Money right?
NM: Yeah, I’m still Young Money, shout out to Wayne and shout out to Dedication 3 with DJ Drama. He’s actually bout to drop a Young Money tape. A lot of the joints on the Dedication 3 were cut short because of time. Some of the joints we did were like five or six minutes, so we cut off some songs but on the Young Money tape which should be coming out in two weeks, has all these extended versions of the Dedication 3 freestyles.
XXL: XXL picked the top 10 new jacks for ’09 for our Dec cover and word got back to us about artists who were tight about not being chosen. How do u feel about the lack of female representation?
Nicki Minaj: Who’s on the cover?
XXL: Ace Hood, Kid Cudi, Charles Hamilton, B.o.B, Asher Roth, Wale, Cory Gunz, Blu, Mickey Factz and Curren$y.
NM: Oh. My. God! I didn’t know about that. And Nicki Minaj wasn’t on that cover? That disappoints me. What were the cons?
XXL: Some people just wanted to see more product and buzz from you.
NM: Right. They felt like I needed to prove myself more?
NM: OK. I understand that. I can respect that and that’s actually why I’m about to put out this new mixtape because I kind of fell back and was working on original music, but the streets need me to be more present. They need to hear more music from me and they need to feel me more. It’s all good though [because] XXL has shown me love in the past [and] I know they’re gonna show me more love in the future. I’m not mad.
XXL: I’ve seen interviews with you on the net, but it’s not really an interview, it’s just men flirting with you. How does that make you feel?
NM: You wanna know something? I can’t blame any person that interviews me and not that I have any regrets, but I realize the control that I have. I have the power in my interviews to steer it how ever I want it to and if I choose to allow them to flirt with me, that’s what they’re gonna do, so really for 2009 it’s gonna be a little less flirting and more getting to the point. You’ll never see a Nicki Minaj interview where I don’t say something maybe a little sexual or freaky because I’m just a playful person, but I don’t condone fucking and I don’t condone any nonsense. I condone being playful, flirting and having fun, but being a business woman, so I think it gets misconstrued when I’m over there saying super snatch and all this stuff because people aren’t gonna take me seriously so I can’t blame them. I have to curb the way I talk because I realize now people that don’t know me, they don’t know when I’m joking. They think I’m dead serious so part of me feels a sense of responsibility because I have a lot of young female fans that are 16-year-old girls and so now I have to show them I’m joking when I say certain things and that they have to be able to differentiate between when I’m joking and when I’m dead ass serious. So I’m just gonna pull back a little bit off of that but I can’t blame the dudes for flirting with me because I’m a bad bitch, I’m Nicki Minaj, what can I say [laughs].
XXL: That kind of segues into the next question. I’m sure you’ve gotten questions about women in hip-hop a lot. What’s your take on the situation? Where are the ladies?
NM: I don’t know what happened but you can bet it won’t happen to me. My take on the business is that it is a business and I feel like I’m no different than a college student when they come out of college and now they’re looking for the job. That job that’s gonna catapult them to success. I look at it like, even the things that I do in being sexual and all that shit are very strategic because it’s almost like I’m interviewing for a particular job like this is my resume and it’s kind of like you give all the different facets of who you are to get the job. The job that I’m going for is someone that relates to every girl in the whole world but can be a boss and the one thing that I have to say about all the other female rappers—and I have to say I love them and I congratulate them and I freaking salute them, but I never saw them as business women. I never saw them as bosses. I saw them as talented smart girls that always felt like they needed a guy in their corner and in fact you don’t. So that’s what I think happened. I think that along the way the girls didn’t realize it’s time to stop and be a businesswoman. You can put out music all you like but if you don’t take control of your business then you’re not gonna have anything to fall back on. I really don’t think it would have mattered if their careers ended if they were the president of a label. I think that would be dope but that’s not what happened. It’s kind of like we don’t have music and we’re not hearing them making power moves either. That’s wack because I know they’re smart, but I just don’t think they had guidance and probably didn’t have the confidence in themselves to take it further.
XXL: Do you ghostwrite for people?
NM: I reference stuff for people. I wouldn’t say I ghostwrite it. I have submitted some stuff to people but female rappers are very afraid of taking chances like that. I’m not gonna lie, I wouldn’t take something from another female rapper because the bitch gonna tell. I have submitted some shit but they didn’t take it. But right now I’ve been submitting R&B stuff. I write R&B so that will probably be my situation. I don’t think rapping will be the way that I’ll probably do my ghostwriting. I have more fun writing R&B anyway.
XXL: I was asking because you were talking about female rappers not being business women and having men in their corner, but female rappers always get associated with having ghostwriters and we both know that it ain’t just female rappers that have that situation going on.
NM: Exactly! I’m so glad you said that because there’s tons of dudes—I’ve had arguments with dudes—with rappers that are in the business that condone ghostwriting, and have had ghostwriters for themselves and they look at me like I‘m crazy [because] that’s one thing I would never do. To me, rapping is like poetry and poetry should be more specific to who’s saying it. With singing, I think you can write something and it’s more general, it’s more universal and anybody can sing it. But with rap, I just find that I gotta write what I rap. If you hear me rapping then I wrote it.
XXL: So what’s up with the acting? It’s cliché for a rapper to talk about acting but for someone who was trained in Shakespeare and all that good stuff, you must be auditioning right?
NM: I haven’t really been going on auditions, but it’s funny because when I graduated out of my class, every year at the end of the drama year they have all the agents come in and you perform and usually you get two or three slips, and that means that that’s how many agents are interested in you. I got 10. That should tell you how good of an actress I am but I wanted to grow up to fast and not focus on my life. I didn’t see the big picture, I just thought that stuff was gonna happen. I thought I was gonna be Halle Berry next year so I lost a lot of great opportunities but I guess my life was just destined to do this. I woulda never thought I would be no damn rapper, that’s for sure. But as far as my acting, you’ll definitely see me acting one day but I’m gonna do my music stuff first and then probably start in some small roles. I have been approached to play the lead role for the movie version of a book, Charge it to the Game. I might play that, but I don’t know. I try to downplay it a little bit too because I don’t feel like people need to know everything right away. I should let them grow into knowing who I am, everybody shouldn’t know every damn thing. They need to start growing with me and then they’ll know all my business soon but not right now.
XXL: What can you reveal about your debut album?
NM: It’s not scheduled yet. I’m kind of in the middle of a bidding war. That means I have not signed to a major label yet. I’m picky. And once we do that then in the top of ’09 I’ll be able to give people a better idea of when it’s gonna come out. But you can believe that I’m such a perfectionist that when that shit come out, I’m not even saying that I’m gonna sell billions of records, whether I sell 10 records or 10 million, I know it’s gonna be a classic because I’m gonna go so hard and it’s gonna be heartfelt.
XXL: That was it but is there anything you want to add?
NM: I want to say thanks to the support from everybody from XXL, thanks for the support on MySpace, all the bloggers, and especially my haters. I love you guys and I’m working very hard. I gotta send a big shout out to my new management company Mizay Entertainment, And I just want to leave by saying that I’m really, really hurt that I was not a part of that XXL cover and you guys are gonna feel really stupid in 2009. -Starrene Rhett