Nicki Minaj covers the latest issue of Elle. This is part of her big comeback – she’s been making some low-key moves here and there for the past few months, and she’s got a new album, Queen, and several singles have already been released. I don’t even remember Minaj making a big deal about how she was going to take a break at the time, but she really was low-key for several years. 2017 brought the drama with Remy Ma, wherein Remy dropped “shETHER” and Minaj stayed silent about the beef. I actually forgot that happened just last year, actually. Anyway, Karl Lagerfeld photographed Minaj for Elle, and you can see the full cover package here. Some highlights:
On being single for the first time since she was 15: “I remember feeling like I could do anything at one time in my life and somewhere along the line, I just started second guessing myself for whatever reason. As soon as I realized that I could actually live and breathe, and eat and sleep, and walk and talk, without having a boyfriend, something clicked in me. Becoming single was one of the things that made me feel strong and powerful. The fact that I am a young woman who doesn’t need a man for money. I don’t need a man for a job. I’ve never had to f–k for beats. I’ve never had to f–k for a record deal. I don’t have those pressures. I get up when I want, shop when I want.”
Her new message: She says it’s about “it being okay to keep your legs closed… I don’t really know how to say that without being offensive. Maybe I was naïve, but I didn’t realize how many girls were modern-day prostitutes. Whether you’re a stripper, or whether you’re an Instagram girl—these girls are so beautiful and they have so much to offer. But I started finding out that you give them a couple thousand dollars, and you can have sex with them. I was like, Yikes. It’s just sad that they don’t know their worth. It makes me sad as a woman. And it makes me sad that maybe I’ve contributed to that in some way.”
Whether she feels like she’s reckoning with her sexed-up persona more now: “I’ve always felt like it. But in a lot of ways, I don’t know if I’m doing the same thing they’re doing, because I’m selling sex appeal. So I can’t look down on these girls. I may not be having sex with people, but I’m still selling sex appeal…. But I just don’t know if girls who look up to me think that when I’m posting a sexy picture. I’m actually the antithesis of all of that. I’m more of, like, the snobby girl, like the ‘Uh, what’ type of girl. And I want girls to be like that. I’d rather you be called snobby or a bitch or conceited—I’d rather you be called that than easy, and a ho, and a slut.”
On trap taking over rappers: “I feel like true icons shift music, uplift music, switch music, have the balls to take a chance. The things that people do come so easy to me. I could do it in my sleep. But I’m such a perfectionist that when something is too easy to me, I actually feel guilty. It would’ve been so easy to listen to all the trap music out there right now and say, ‘Let me just copy this.’ But I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself… The truth of the matter is, trap has taken over so much that even our New York rappers are doing nothing but trap songs, because they feel that that’s the way to make it. They’re rapping like people from the south.”
She also talks about Meek Mill, and how she met with the judge overseeing Meek’s case, and a lot of different things about her album. As for what she says about her sexy persona and how she wants girls and women to know that they don’t have to be prostitutes in her name… I understand what she’s saying, and I think she was taking pains to not sound “slut-shaming.” She wants to make it clear that girls and women can do what they want and post beautiful thirst-trap photos of themselves… and not sleep with any of the guys they’re thirst-trapping. Minaj even sounds a bit old-fashioned and prudish, which is fine with me. She’s clearly not judging those women, she’s just saying that there’s obviously another way to BE.
Photos courtesy of Karl Lagerfeld for Elle Magazine, sent from promotional Elle email.