Minaj says “fans know my struggle. How hungry I was.”
It’s a great time to be Nicki Minaj.
Minaj’s alternate “Anaconda” song may have surfaced today, but all eyes are on her Billboard No. 1s Year-End magazine interview. The special issue highlights Minaj’s current success while taking a look back at the struggle of getting there. Below are some highlights.
What validates her:
The people’s reaction — when I’m on tour, how they scream when a song comes on. Obviously, I always want an album to debut at No. 1. But in terms of songs — for instance, “Super Bass” was so culturally effective. It never went No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, but that song still makes people happy. Six years old to 80 years old, when people hear it, they know it and they love it. And, in terms of rap, stuff like “Did It on ’Em.” Whether or not that song goes to No. 1, I’d still be proud of it. Because when it comes on, I could be in the middle of West Bubba and people still screw their faces up and do the head nod.
I do want to speak about something specific, which just melted my heart. I thought it was so important when he went to prisons and spoke to people who got 20 and 30 and 40 and 50 years for drugs. There are women who are raped, people who are killed and [offenders] don’t even serve 20 years. I was blown away, watching the footage of him speaking to the prisoners. They never felt like anyone in the White House cared about them. I loved that he made them people again. Because we all make mistakes. I think about how many men may have made a mistake to feed their families and then had to pay for it forever.
African Americans targeted in the drug war:
What it has become is not a war on drugs. It has become slavery. Or something crazier. When I see how many people are in jail, I feel like, “Wait a minute. Our government is aware of these statistics and thinks it’s OK?” The sentences are inhumane. I love the president for trying to be a voice for people who no other person has ever tried to be a voice for.
I support her as a woman. Am I convinced that she should be the next president? I still want to be open-minded about everyone. Obviously, I identify with her struggles as a woman. I identify with the fact that when she’s in that room and there are nothing but men there — there’s sometimes something in her that must feel intimidated. But I think that she uses that and turns it into a strength. Because that’s what I’ve always done. And so I love her for sticking it out. She has gone through horrifying things, even within her marriage. She has been brave and weathered the storm. And continued being a boss. That’s something that every woman should feel inspired by, no matter if you’re voting for her or not.
(Laughs.) There are points he has made that may not have been so horrible if his approach wasn’t so childish. But in terms of entertainment — I think he’s hilarious. I wish they could just film him running for president. That’s the ultimate reality show. [The interview was conducted prior to Trump’s Dec. 7 comments about halting immigration by Muslims into the United States.]
Missing New York:
I love it [in Los Angeles]. I spoke to Beyoncé about it, because she came out here recently too. She said exactly what I used to say when I first moved here. We just feel happier. She was saying that simple things that would normally feel like a task, they don’t [feel that way] out here. She told me it’s not bothersome to get up super early and have to take Blue to school, because it looks so beautiful. I’m a New Yorker, but there are times in New York when you wake up and it’s, like, a dreary day. I know my London fans can identify with this. When I’m in London or Paris, I think the same thing. Part of the beauty is in the grayness — but it’s an acquired taste.
Having to make a mixtape again:
Well, I want to touch a couple of beats that I wasn’t on. I could have bodied a lot of the records that came out in the last year. But the main thing is, I have to set an example for female rappers. I’m at the top of that food chain, and it’s important to lead by example. And because I came into the game doing mixtapes, I want to make sure women do not forget the importance of that grind, that walk up to the top. You can’t get there with a song. Because once that song is no longer hot, you’re no longer hot. It’s important that you are bigger than your music. Some fans are going to f— with me for the rest of my life because they know where I came from. Fans know my struggle. How hungry I was. That I was not settling, I was not giving up. I was on everybody’s beat. I was ruthless.
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