Nicki Minaj is Complex‘s covergirl for their October/November issue. In the feature, she discusses her relationship with her labelmates, Lil Wayne & Drake, the direction of her music, where her many voices derive from and more. She also discloses that Drake wrote Alicia Keys’ R&B masterpiece, “Unthinkable”, for her. Check out the excerpts below.
Speaking of Young Money, did your labelmate Drake tell you he’d be mentioning wanting to marry you on his verse for “Miss Me” before you heard it?
Nicki Minaj: He told me he said something about me on a verse, but I didn’t think it would be anything like that. He let me hear it for the first time when we did Jay’s show at Madison Square Garden, the day before Wayne had to go to jailâ€”that night he let me hear it on the headphones. But you know what else he told me he wrote for me? The Alicia Keys song “I’m Ready.” I happen to love the song. I never told anyone that, I hope he won’t get mad that I said that.
Complex: Everyone has this image of you as a cartoon character with outlandish wigs, but at our shoot today you were much more low-key.
Nicki Minaj: [Laughs.] Every woman is a characterâ€”but people need to see I’m a regular human. It’s like you wear a pink wig and you’re no longer human all of sudden. You’re a thing. Like today [the photographer] was like, “Where is that Nicki Minaj smile?” But this shoot doesn’t call for the Nicki Minaj smile. You guys wanted me subdued, so I’m gonna give you a different side. I’m not gonna pull a string and be like, “It’s Barbie, bitch!”
Where do all your different voices come from?
Nicki Minaj: I have no idea. I think Wayne kind of influenced that. He has always been really carefree when he raps and I was like, “I don’t have to stay in one cadence or stay in one tone when I rapâ€”I can just do what I want.”
It seems like Young Money as a whole doesn’t get caught up in beef. Has Wayne sat you or Drake down and advised you to avoid that route?
Nicki Minaj: He’s definitely told me, “Yo, leave that bullshit alone. That’s for people who ain’t got shit else to do.” I’ve watched Wayne handle himself so well. I’ve seen people take shot after shot after shot at him and if it fazed him, I never saw it. People take shots because they’re hoping for a little bit of your energy. They need fuel.
Genius Notes: I’d like to hear Nicki Minaj cover “I’m Ready”…