Love her or hate her, there’s no denying that Nicki Minaj is winning. At the current moment, Minaj is the biggest Hip-Hop artist (male or female) in the world. Over 15 million likes on Facebook and over Nine million followers on Twitter. Minaj’s multi-platinum debut album, Pink Friday definitely put this Queens native on the map. She is featured on the cover of Complex‘s 10th Anniversary Issue. Pop singer Justin Bieber is also featured on the cover. Minaj was interviewed by celebrity blogger and Hot 97′s news editor Miss Info. In the cover story, Minaj and Info talked about branding, working with Jay-Z, her 10 years plan, artists being puppets, exceeding her goals and expectations, whether record labels could create another rap brand like hers and much more. Below are some excerpts:
What wows you these days? Everything that comes your way keeps becoming bigger, bigger, bigger.
If I wasn’t doing it, I wouldn’t believe it’s possible. I remember when I was working with Jay-Z. It was like, “Oh my God. Did I really just do a song with Jay?” I worked with Mariah and it wasn’t commercially successful. But I had fun and I made a real friendship with her. It was, obviously, a life-changing moment for me. It does feel like every moment is getting bigger and bigger. Not only did I get a call to do a song with Madonna, but then I got a call to do a video with Madonna, and then—oh, by the way—you’re going to do the Super Bowl with Madonna. This is not really happening.
When you’re constantly exceeding your own expectations, how do you set new goals?
Doing the Super Bowl with Madonna doesn’t really change Nicki Minaj’s personal goals. My goal right now is still to put out Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, sell five million copies eventually, and tour every country in the world. That’s what I’ve been working toward. So while the world is talking about, “Oh my God, I can’t believe Nicki Minaj was at the Super Bowl!” I’m mixing and mastering my music. In my scheme of things it’s way bigger.
I always got a kick out of the endless debates over who was managing you. I’ve known you through three sets of managers [Deb Antney, Puffy and James Cruz, and Hip Hop Since 1978] and in every case, it was always clear that…
Little do they know, I manage myself.
Follow me @donbleek88
NEXT PAGE: ANOTHER PICTURE AND MORE EXCERPTS
Yes. You were always the first and last word.
Right. People assume that I am not the brains behind this operation, and they don’t give me my credit. I could give two fucks about credit. I just want you to leave me the fuck alone. Let me do me. Don’t tell me how to pose; I know how to pose. When I’m recording, I just have to go in and do it, you know? Even my engineer thinks I’m crazy because I’ll hear something different on a track, and he’ll insist, “No, no, nothing was moved.” [But I tell him] “Tony, something was moved.” And later, sure enough, “You were right, there was a two-second delay here.”
Some artists feel more comfortable being puppets.
Right! Because if you’re telling me you just want to be an artist, you’re telling me that you do not want control over a brand you’re creating. You don’t want any say in a brand that you’re creating? I can’t. I can’t rock with that theory.
This being Complex’s 10th Anniversary issue, it seems fitting to look forward to the next 10 years… Where do you think you’ll be in 2022?
In 2022, I’ll definitely be married and I’ll definitely have my two children.
Why just two?
OK, I might have three, but I do want at least one boy.
Did you always know what you wanted your brand to be?
I didn’t know who I was as an artist. I knew who I was as a person. My morals and everything, they’re still the same. And then I took it upon myself to create this artist, Nicki Minaj. I wanted to do what a label cannot do. Now, labels are going to think they can re-create this. [Laughs.] But they can’t.
They’re definitely trying. It’s the Nicki Effect. Since the success of Pink Friday you must see that the industry has changed. Corporations see a female rapper who has more visibility and more income streams than her male counterparts. So new female artists are viable, and that creates a more competitive atmosphere.
When I first got in, doing freestyles and mixtapes, I did a song called “Still I Rise.” I was talking about how so many women were pulling me down and ripping me apart. I said, “Every time a door opens for me/That means you just got a better opportunity to do you/Better understand these labels look at numbers and statistics/If I win, you win, it’s just logistics.”
So in order for my theory to be proven right, I have to open doors for women. The up-and-coming females who wanted to get in—when you guys are coming out and dissing me, and all that negativity….They saw me as a threat instead of seeing me as “she’s going to open the door for us.” I never came into what I’m doing dissing anyone. I gave everyone their props and it’s unfortunate that people felt intimidated and attacked me. Then it became a ripple effect. But now it’s all love. My music is a way for me to have fun. Sometimes I’ll say things and I’ll laugh. But it’s all love. I’m in a great place and I just wish everybody the best.
Read the entire interview over at Complex.