As she gears up for her fourth studio album, Nicki Minaj graces one of seven covers for T: The New York Times Style Magazine’s “The Greats” issue.
In the fashionable photos, shot by famed photographer Patrick Demarchelier, the Young Money queen strikes a fierce pose in designers including Alaïa, Louis Vuitton, Sophie Buhai, Phillip Lim, and more.
She also opens up about her next album, which she said would have a “super, super iconic” title. “Sonically, I know what the album’s about to sound like,” she said. “I know what this album is gonna mean to my fans. This album is everything in my life coming full circle and me being truly, genuinely happy. It feels almost like a celebration. The last album, The Pinkprint, was almost like my diary, closing the chapter on certain things and not knowing if I was happy or sad about beginning new chapters. I was really writing about feeling unsure. Now, I can tell you guys what happened for the last two years of my life. I know who I am. I am getting Nicki Minaj figured out with this album and I’m loving her.”
Minaj called this “the most inspired and free and excited” she’s been since she started “releasing albums through a label.” But she doesn’t blame anyone for the way she’s handled her albums thus far.
“Artists do it to themselves,” she said. “I’m not going to blame a label. You just overthink. When you’re doing your own little thing, you feel like, I can be myself, I can be crazy. When you start working with a record company, you start thinking you need a bigger sound. I wanted to get back to the place where I wasn’t second-guessing things so much. Sometimes simple is O.K.”
Reflecting on her career thus far, Minaj also showed gratitude for the hurdles she’s overcome while explaining their challenges too.
“I kind of love that I’ve had to go through so many hurdles to get where I am because I feel like I deserve it,” she said. “I had so much going against me in the beginning: being black, being a woman, being a female rapper. No matter how many times I get on a track with everyone’s favorite M.C. and hold my own, the culture never seems to want to give me my props as an M.C., as a lyricist, as a writer. I got to prove myself a hundred times, whereas the guys that came in around the same time as I did, they were given the titles so much quicker without anybody second-guessing.”
Minaj appears on one of seven covers of T Magazine, alongside director Park Chan-Wook, artist Claes Oldenburg, writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, actor Amy Adams, composer Stephen Sondheim, and fashion designer Dries Van Noten.