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V Exclusive! Nicki Minaj’s Feb/Mar 2012 VIBE Cover Story

So far, on the road to Roman Reloaded, she’s dropped two singles—“Stupid Hoe” and “Roman in Moscow”—that showcase her rappity-rap alter ego Roman Zolanski and reawaken her game-of-thrones match with Lil’ Kim. But the 27-year-old MC will tell you quite forcefully, in a way that makes you feel like a queen’s minion, that neither pop nor rap defines her, and that her artistic direction is no longer up for debate. “I refuse to define what I do,” she says. “You’ll feel it. It’s more of an experience than a genre. They’ll have to create a new genre for this. You can’t put it into a genre that’s out now. You absolutely can’t.”

VIBE: It’s got to be hard to be a perfectionist this time around when you’re trying to meet a deadline.
Nicki Minaj: Actually, I’m writing 10 times quicker than I wrote on the first album because I’m a lot more confident in who I am. We’ve just been trying to pace things so that the album comes out at the right time. The music is pretty much done, but we may hold the album back a bit so that things are done perfectly as opposed to being rushed, in terms of promotion.
What made you more confident?
I don’t know, probably a collection of different things. I couldn’t really sum it up into one thing. I just know that I’m having a lot more fun this time.
You’ve said before that you didn’t really have fun recording Pink Friday.
I felt like I had something to prove to everyone who said a female rapper could not make an album unless she was talking about her pussy. And so I went above and beyond to prove that I could not talk about sex and not talk about my genitalia and still have a successful album. And I proved that. And now my time for proving things to my critics is over. I don’t really need to prove anything to anyone else anymore.
But the major criticism was that the album was too pop, more singing than rapping.
I’m very happy I made that choice.
Has the success of Pink Friday validated that you know what you’re doing?
I think I had the most growth outside of Pink Friday. My features really gave me the most confidence, because I used the features to play around a lot. Once I’m having fun, the lyrics are the simplest thing to come up with.
Drake has had a war of words with common. Does Drake have more of a target on his back now?
All I know is that Drake is extremely talented and he’s very smart. I don’t think people realize how intelligent he is, so some things are… It’s fun. Some things are hip-hop, and that’s what it is. If he does have a target on his back it’s because he’s extremely successful and he makes music people can relate to.
How has he changed with Take Care? Do you feel like he’s gotten more confident, become more of a tough guy?

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