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V Vintage: Nicki Minaj... Before The Fame

The truth is we always knew Nicki Minaj was destined to be hip hop’s next it girl. We knew it when we chose her as one of the main reasons why the Bronx-bred art form was still alive and kicking in our August 2008 “Real Rap” issue. We knew the animated rapper born Onika Maraj was worthy of the early hype when we caught up with the Queens, New York MC in July 2009 as she was beginning to embrace her role as the savior of female rap. At the time of our acclaimed 60 Rappers In 60 Days interview series, Minaj (Yes, that’s the then 23-year-old copping a page from Lil’ Kim’s 1996 Hardcore book for her Sucka Free street release) had just dropped the buzz-heavy mixtape Beam Me Up Scotty.

She had experienced her first taste of superstardom after going out on the road on Lil Wayne’s I Am Music Tour and her recording deal with Weezy’s Young Money imprint had yet to be announced. Yet Minaj was already experiencing the pitfalls of her rising infamy as rival spitters began making her a prime target. Before her song-stealing cameos on Ludacris’ “My Chick Bad,” Young Money’s “Roger That,” and Usher’s “Little Freak;” before her own polarizing debut single “Massive Attack;” before she shocked the music world by naming Diddy as her manager. This is Nicki Minaj before the fame.—Keith Murphy 

 

VIBE: Do you get a little intimidated when people call you the savior of female rap?

Nicki Minaj: I don’t think intimidated is the word. I definitely get excited by it. I don’t want to let anybody down. I’ve always been the type of person to make everybody happy and get things done. I want everything to be 100 percent perfect. I do feel it when people hold me to high expectations.

On your latest mixtape, Beam Me Up Scotty, you covered a diverse range of musical genres from dancehall to club music to hardcore hip hop. Will we see that type of production range on your major studio debut?

I think that the album will be a little bit more focused on one type of sound. But you know, I definitely want to be one of those artists that continue to do their mixtapes. The people that just really love the ‘Street Nicki’ can still get a dose of that; but I think that when the album comes out, it will be more focused on things that you would hear on the radio. It will be more radio-friendly because honestly, those are the type of records that I like to write. I don’t think people know that about me. Records like “Kill da DJ” and stuff like that, I have fun writing that; I have fun singing. Those songs make me happy. So I think I want to make my album more like that. But whatever I do, I always will have those real songs where I talk about real things.

Do you have a specific story you want to get out to the fans?

I have a song I wrote called “Autobiography.” I came from a very intense living situation, with having a parent on drugs and not having a lot of money. So I always want to talk about the real things. But I think 90 percent of my music, I want it to be ‘feel-good music’. I’m already recording tracks for my album, but when it comes time to actually say, ‘this is the album,’ I may be in a completely different space than I’m in right now.

Now as far as the label situation goes, everybody’s been asking the $64,000 question: “What label is Nicki Minaj going to sign with?”

People will know within 30 days. I don’t think I want to wait too much longer than that. In another interview I was basically talking about the other deals that I had seen that other female rappers had signed. I felt like they weren’t treated like a star. I feel like before you sign anything in this business, you have to truly believe that you’re not only a star, but a superstar. When you think of yourself like that, you won’t really just go ahead and sign the first thing that comes your way because you’ll know that all the fame and fortune stuff will happen. Like right now, I’m not concerned with people asking, ‘When are you going to be mainstream?’ I’m not concerned with those things because I know that it’s destined to happen for me. What I’m concerned about is being a female and getting my business in order. Those are things I think a lot of females didn’t think about before. I hope that girls that come after me will remember that Nicki Minaj said, “Get your business in order first and then do what you love to do.” You’ll then be happy on both sides of the spectrum. So that’s what I’m doing. I was being a little hesitant, but we’re looking at contracts right now. You know, we’ll see what happens. I’m just gonna put it in God’s hands and leave it there.

Talk about the experience of being on Lil Wayne’s I Am Music tour. You’re still a relatively new artist and you get to see a superstar on stage sell out every night and have thousands of fans scream his name. That has to be eye-opening, right?

That tour made something inside of me say, Oh my God, I want this! I know that I have this in me, and I want this! It was the best thing that ever happened to me. It made me really kick in into that next gear and say, I’m about to go hard or go home! I have one more chance to prove to the underground world and prove that I am who I say I am. And I did it. I did it with Beam Me Up Scotty. I put out music, it wasn’t just freestyles. It was music; it was talking about a lot of different things like you said. It was showing versatility and showing rap skill, and singing and all of that.

What type of influence has Wayne had on your career?

Wayne has always been my biggest influence. It’s weird because I sit down and talk to Wayne like he’s just a regular human being, and then I walk on stage with him and there’s 20,000 people screaming for him. I think it puts it into perspective for me like, Wait a minute, this is actually attainable. I could have this; I just need to focus and remember that my grind is just beginning. I always say that that’s what I learned from Wayne the most; he never stops grinding. It showed me, Yo, this dude is the truth, and I’m going to follow in his footsteps.


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Tory Lanez Sued For Alleged Attack In Miami Nightclub

Tory Lanez is facing legal trouble over an alleged altercation that went down inside Miami’s LIV nightclub last year. Christopher “Prince” Harty, an up-and-coming artist and Miami promoter who appeared on Love & Hip-Hop: Miami claims that Lanez attacked him last November.

The onetime reality star alleges that Lanez, along with his entourage and security team, punched and attacked him in the nightclub. According to reports, Prince claims to have suffered blunt force trauma to his head, neck, and chest, in addition to contusions, bruises and anxiety, as a result of the incident. He is suing for unspecified damages.

“They backed me into a corner, and once I was there, they started stomping on me, jumping me,” he recalled to NBC Miami.

He believes that the friction stemmed from an Instagram post about music. “They felt that I was insinuating that they stole the record from me, and I was just like, no, I would never do that, that was never my intention. I had no issue with him at all.”

A portion of the incident was captured on cellphone video. Prince stated that he knew Lanez prior to the run-in, and helped get him into clubs before.

His attorney, Marwan Porter of Porter Law Firm, called the violent incident “a chronic problem” with Lanez who is accused of shooting Megan Thee Stallion in July. The 28-year-old recording artist has yet to publicly address either incident.

Hear more from Prince in the video below.

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Cardi B Opens Up About Filing For Divorce From Offset

Cardi B took to Instagram Live on Friday (Sept. 18) to air out a few things about filing for divorce from Offset.

The Bronx rapper made it clear that she didn’t file for divorce as a publicity stunt to promote her upcoming album. “I’m not doing it for clout and on top of that I don’t need stunts to sell music,” she said. “I’m not [trying to] brag but don’t ever say I’m doing anything for clout. My first album is three-times platinum and I didn’t need no stunts to do that. My [“Wap”] single is no. 1 worldwide why would I need stunts to sell music? I don’t need stunts — [especially] when it comes to family — to sell anything, so don’t play yourself.”

As for the reason for the divorce filing, the estranged couple simply grew apart. “Nothing crazy out of this world happened, sometimes people really do grow apart. I been with this man for four years. I have a kid with this man, I have a household with this man…sometimes you’re just tired of the arguments and the build up. You get tired sometimes and before something happens, you leave.”

“I just wanna' be a free bird,” Cardi said after questioning whether people secretly want infidelity to be the reason for the split.

“I am the f**king clout,” she added. “I never needed anything. I never needed no stunts to sell sh*t.Why would I need anything to sell my next album?”

Speaking of the new album, Cardi has been indecisive about choosing her next single because “WAP” did so well. “That means that my second single has to be even better.”

Towards the end of her venting session, Cardi reiterated that she’s focusing on her work, and revealed that she's starting new business for her daughter Kulture.

 

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A post shared by HIPHOLLYWOOD (@hiphollywood) on Sep 18, 2020 at 10:23pm PDT

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Barack Obama Announces Release Date For ‘A Promised Land’ Memoir

Following the mega-success of his wife’s Becoming release, Barack Obama is poised to debut his own memoir, A Promised Land, this fall. The former president made the literary announcement on Twitter on Thursday (Sept. 17).

“There’s no feeling like finishing a book and I’m proud of this one,” Obama tweeted while explaining that he tries to give an “honest account” of his presidency in the book. The release will also touch on “the forces we grapple with as a nation, and how we can heal our division and make democracy work for everybody.”

There’s no feeling like finishing a book, and I’m proud of this one. In 'A Promised Land,' I try to provide an honest accounting of my presidency, the forces we grapple with as a nation, and how we can heal our divisions and make democracy work for everybody. pic.twitter.com/T1QSZVDvOm

— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) September 17, 2020

The highly anticipated and introspective release takes readers on a “compelling journey” and details Obama’s “improbable odyssey from a young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world.” Included in the memoir are striking personal details about his political education, as well as landmark moments from his first term presidency.

The Obamas secured the reported $60 million book deals around a year after ending their tenure in the White House. Michelle Obama’s book became the best-selling memoir in history.

A Promised Land is currently available for pre-order at Obamabook.com. The memoir will be released on Nov. 17.

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