It's hard to blink these days without hearing somebody talking about Nicki Minaj. The NYC-bred MC has made more than a major mark by spitting hot rhymes on tracks by everyone from Trey Songz to Kanye West to Mariah Carey, and now she's got her own ballyhooed CD, Pink Friday (out now!).
I caught up with the single vixen (born Onika Tanya Maraj), 26, who is spotlighted in her own MTV doc, My Time Now (premiering November 28 at 10 PM) to find out just what makes her many personalities tick.
UsMagazine.com: Pink Friday is one of the most anticipated albums of the year. What surprises can we find on it?
Nicki Minaj: I think what it says about me is that I'm very diverse. I pride myself on the fact that everyone can love Pink Friday. Sometimes you get an album and every song sounds the exact same, but Pink Friday is one of those albums where if you like the hardcore rap, pop, or mushy songs, you'll have favorites. I'm just excited that I was able to portray all of my personalities on one album, and I think that's what Pink Friday is.
US: You do have so many different sides. Where do you get your inspiration?
NM: I don't know that I can really pinpoint it. I think normal people see the same things that I see, but they choose maybe to not really tap into it. So I think I’m inspired by everything.
US: Who are your style icons?
NM: To me, the biggest icons are the people you see in the street. The people who really do whatever the hell they want. And I think that’s why I like the Harajuku culture. It’s so exciting to me because these girls are just girls in the street in Japan doing whatever they want — mixing and matching the colors and different wigs and hair colors — and to me these girls are more of my style icons than a celebrity.
Us: You’ve worked with so many people and they've all heralded you. Kanye has been behind you and Jay-Z. How has that been? Has there been a lot of pressure?
NM: I think it does add pressure because all of a sudden you have to live up to something. Before, I was just kind of doing my thing, and it didn't really matter if people loved it or hated it. But now it's like I have to rise to the occasion and I have to be better than average in anything that I do. So it gives a little pressure, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Who wouldn’t want the biggest names in the music industry giving them props?
US: One of the first things you really were known for was Mariah’s "Up Out of My Face" collaboration. Are you still friends with her?
NM: Actually, I am still close to Mariah. I felt like Mariah and I really hit it off on a personal level. Not that we speak every single day, but whenever we speak, we're always laughing within two seconds. She reminds me of myself with her sense of humor — her ability to use sarcasm all the time. But working with her was like a dream come true. I've loved Mariah for as long as I can remember. To have that and for her to be my first video and first big feature, that in itself was just incredible.
US: Do you think she’ll make a good mom? She just announced she's having a baby.
NM: Of course she will! I told her she will. You know why? Because she's so sweet and hilarious. If it's a girl, oh my god, that baby is going to be the most diva baby in the game. The baby is going to have freakin' diamond bibs and diamond rattles and it's going to be crazy.
US: Twitter has been such an important part of you getting yourself out there. You're such an avid Twitterer!
NM: I am not tired of it — I love Twitter! It really lets you interact with your fans on such a personal level. I could literally see someone say something and hit them back and direct it to that person. They know I'm speaking to them. It's also a great way of clearing things up. I’ve been able to clear up falsely advertised parties and stuff. And you do it with 140 characters and you’re done!
US: Your tweets are very funny and they get misconstrued. I want to ask you about the Drake marriage tweets. What's up with that?
NM: We really do love each other. We feel like we were married in a past life. We're more like sister and brother, but we do joke around a lot and try to pull everybody’s leg. I think everyone wants us to be some big hip-hop couple or something. We have fun with it!
US: So are you single?
NM: Yes, I am!
US: Is there anything you look for in a guy?
NM: I think guys are attracted to powerful women or women who call the shots. But I am attracted to guys that aren't trying to show how powerful and cocky they are. I'm more attracted to that guy that you probably would overlook in the room.
US: You look so good, so what do you do fitness-wise to stay in shape?
NM: Well I never keep it up but when I am dieting I try to do no sugar and juice. I try to drink water and I also don't eat any bread or any pasta. When I cut out the starch and cheese, I can really lose like 3-5 pounds in a week.
US: So that's how you lose weight fast before an event or something?
NM: Yeah. Coupled with 30-minutes of cardio everyday. But even when I don't do the cardio and I just change my diet, it really shows.
US: Back to the album — any favorite tracks?
NM: I'm in love with all of the songs, but I was really excited to collaborate with Rihanna. She was someone I was looking forward to working with for a long time. The song that we collaborated on is called "Fly," and it's a female empowerment record. I'm very, very proud of that one.
US: What's with the name, Pink Friday? You seem to love the color pink. Why do you love it so much?
NM: It makes me feel euphoric and puts you back to being a kid. It makes me think of cotton candy and just happiness. I think it works well with just about every other color, so it matches all of my ensembles. We named the album Pink Friday because it's dropping the same week as Black Friday, and we just wanted to put our stamp on that day and on that week.
US: Is there anyone that you really want to work with that you haven't yet? Like a dream collaboration?
NM: Probably just Beyonce right now. I've worked with just about all my dream collabs, like I’ve worked with Jay-Z and I’ve worked with Kanye and I worked with Rihanna and I’ve worked with Eminem. Those were at the top of my list. Now that I’ve done that, probably the only one on my list that I haven’t worked with that I’ m really, really excited about is Beyonce.
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