Four years after gracing The FADER, Nicki Minaj returns to cover the magazine’s Fall Fashion Issue. The “Anaconda” rapper scales back her look, rocking black hair and a red Gaultier dress in the photos shot by JoÃ£o Canziani.
In the interview, she opens up about the hardships of being in the public eye, being a role model to young black women, and The Pink Print.
Her third album is set to feature Dr. Luke, Ester Dean, Boi-1da, and Detail, and she’d like to get Rihanna and Drake on board.
She also addressed her controversial speech at the BET Awards (“When you hear Nicki Minaj spit, Nicki Minaj wrote it”), which some took as a diss to fellow nominee Iggy Azalea. But Nicki explains that her intention was to empower women to write their own lyrics.
Plus, find out why she will never feel equal to Lil Wayne and the story behind her health scare.
On how she’s evolved: “I think early on in my career, I was… just a little bit crazy. I took everything personally. That’s just not good, and it’s not healthy. I think one of my best attributes now, as a businesswoman and an artist and a professional person, is being able to think before I speak. I’ve learned that everything I think doesn’t necessarily need to be stated.”
On her BET Awards speech: “My point of saying what I said was that women need to have a perspective. If we’re out here saying that we’re so confident, and we’re so this and so that, but we don’t even trust ourselves to write down our own thoughts and spit it on a beat?”
On referencing her health scare in her BET speech: “I was making a point to say that the business kills so many people and we don’t even realize it. I can only imagine how many people in this business have died because they may not have wanted to… to be embarrassed publicly. We care so much about what the world thinks that we don’t live, really.”
On moving away from her family: “I don’t want to get emotional. I just miss them. Every time I talk about them, I get emotional.”
On Lil Wayne: “Now we can have conversations and enjoy each other, but I don’t think I’ll ever feel like he’s my peer because of how much he’s done for me. I’ll always think of him like the king.”
On those who question her credibility: “I felt like my pop music made me have to retell my story. My credibility as an MC—I never thought I would have to explain that. I thought it was so evident that I belonged here [in hip-hop].”
On being a role model for young black women: “But every time I do a business venture or something that isn’t the norm for a female rapper, I pat myself on the back. It’s important that corporate America can see a young black woman being able to sell things outside of music.”