“You know what?” Nicki Minaj says, catching a laugh in the back of her throat. “This era will be a billion times more epic than anything ‘Anaconda’ could have delivered. I think this era will definitely be the most memorable and the most impactful of my career yet.”
Lately, the Trinidadian-born, Queens-raised, international hip hop superstar has been keeping vampirical hours. “I’ve been a little bit swamped,” she explains – a funny choice of words, considering her current residence in the sinking cosmopolis of Miami Beach. Minaj has been here for most of 2017 working on her new album – her first since 2014’s The Pinkprint. “This is my main stomping ground. Every day is different. Some days I’ll go into the studio at six in the morning, some days I won’t come out until six in the morning.”
When it comes to giving intel on any direction the new album might be taking, Minaj keeps all the juicy details firmly locked away, including when it may actually see the light of day. “I’ve made it my business with this album to not even put a date or a deadline on it,” she says. “I can’t say if I’m fifty-per-cent, eighty-per-cent or ten-per-cent done, because I don’t know. Tomorrow, I might walk into the studio and decide that I don’t like anything I’ve done in the last six months. Or, tomorrow I might walk in and feel like the whole album is done. There’s so much beauty in not knowing. I just want to go in the studio and create like I used to, before there were any expectations. You know? When I was just having fun, working on my mixtapes, going in and creating… writing my little life.”
Because of her recording schedule, Minaj often wakes up to sweeping night views of the Atlantic Ocean. She loves to gaze at it, she says. It makes her feel small. “I didn’t realise the water would have so much of an effect on me,” she reveals, “but it keeps me calm. It does something to me. Even when it’s raining I go out on my balcony and all I can see is water and the sky, and I feel so small in relation to the world that I have no choice but to feel super-grateful. It’s been making me centre into myself.”
One can imagine Minaj’s difficulty in escaping her own bigness. Since 2007, she has become not just globally famous, but one of music’s most iconic presences. She has, by any available metric, surpassed every other female hip hop artist to become the most successful in history. Minaj will be as important to this decade as The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac were to the 90s. It’s likely her career will span many decades, like Madonna’s or Cher’s. She is the embodiment of millennial pink. The New York Times called her the most influential female rapper of all time. And, at the time of our chat, Billboard reports that emerging star Cardi B has landed the first top-ten solo female rap song (“Bodak Yellow”) since Minaj, underscoring the Queens rapper’s stature as the standard-bearer for female emcees.
Read more at Dazed Digital.