Acclaimed writer and author of Bad Feminist Roxane Gay bestowed us all with a gift today: a profile of rap queen and mogul Nicki Minaj in the New York Times. In the article, in which Gay interviews the rapper in the makeup chair, Minaj addresses double standards in rap, her upcoming album and her biggest musical influences.
Here are just five iconic quotes Minaj dropped during her interview:
1. Minaj used to write raps on the back of her notepad when she was a waitress.
“I would take people’s order and then a rap might come to me just by what they’re wearing or what they said or did, and I would go in the kitchen and write it down, put it in the back of my little thing or my apron, and by the time I was done I would have all of these sheets of paper thrown around everywhere with raps,” Minaj said.
2. She won’t divulge about the upcoming album not even the title.
According to the profile, she is working on her new album in Miami, but the title is “super, super iconic.”
She also said she knows what the album will sound like.
“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 Pink Print,’ 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.”
Just take our money.
3. She considers herself an amalgamation of three lyricists and has high standards for other rappers.
Of other rappers, she said: “Do you sound intelligent? Does your flow switch up? Are you in command of the beat? I listen for things like that.” Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Foxy Brown “Those are the three I keep in my head when I’m writing because they’ve influenced me so much,” she says. “I feel like I’m a part of all of them.”
4. She has struggled with thinking that she’s not enough.
“I believe in my gift wholeheartedly,” Minaj said. “Sometimes I wake up and say, ‘I don’t know if I can do this anymore,’ you know? I’ve had those times. I’ve had those years where I’m just like, ‘Am I good enough?’”
However, she did say she believes she has the “ability to withstand what would break the normal girl.”
5. The hardships she faced as a black female rapper.
“I had so much going against me in the beginning: being black, being a woman, being a female rapper,” Minaj said. “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.”
You can read the full profile in the New York Times, for their Greats Issue, which reaches newsstands October 22.