“Oh I get it – they’re painting me out to be the bad guy!
Well it’s the last time you’re gonna see a bad guy do the rap game like me.”
With lyrics like that in her new single, Chun-Li, it’s clear Nicki Minaj is back with a vengeance and determined to set the record straight.
In the last year since fellow emcees like Remy Ma and Cardi B came forward about the behind-the-scenes antics of one of hip-hop’s hugest success stories – the media has painted the Queens rapper as a power hungry “Mean Girl.”
Rumors pervade of Minaj’s excessive cattiness, making promoters yank less established female rappers off their line ups and sabotaging people’s business dealings only to then turn around and publicly mock their lack of sales.
Last summer when Cardi B’s meteoric rise was just starting to gain traction, many noted that Nicki’s stock had started to plummet. So much so, that Breakfast Club host Charlamagne Tha God, and co-host Joe Budden crowned her “Trash of The Year” during their 2017 Year End Wrap Up on Revolt TV.
The backlash was swift and ferocious and now Minaj is coming out of hiatus to let us know – it really hurt her feelings.
During a surprisingly vulnerable interview with Apple’s Beats 1 radio show, the Barbie Tingz rapper opens up about her new music (which is FIYAH), her self imposed sabbatical from social media, and how Cardi B and Migos failed her when she needed them most.
On Drake & Meek’s beef…
“It was one of the hardest parts of my career to date – ever. Because at the time I did love both of them and I couldn’t erase the love I had for my team. But, I also couldn’t speak out. I couldn’t really say much and I felt so imprisoned in that moment. And when we later spoke about it Drake said, ‘I wasn’t worried about anything in that entire situation other than – what if Nicki takes a shot at me? Then what? What if Nicki spits bars at me?’
He said that throughout the whole beef that’s the only thing he was worried about because that would’ve been so – oh my God – hurtful and painful for both of us. So, it was difficult to stay out of it. I was behind the scenes of course wishing it never happened.
One thing I do know is that both Meek and Drake have moved on from that. We all have moved on.”
On Meek’s legal woes…
“I don’t want to talk about legal things, but I will say that every now and then I think about…
You know what, I won’t go there.
I’ll save some of those thoughts for my album. I’m also shooting a documentary. What I will say now is that the judge in question did everything I asked of her so I can’t badmouth her because I met her personally. I know what she said to us and he knows that. Of course, I wouldn’t wish jail on anybody, but I’ll get into more detail in the documentary.
What made me shed tears the other day was seeing Meek’s mother cry. Seeing his mother cry was the first time I was like, oh my God, I can’t take it. Because during the relationship she was always so sweet to me. Even at the end, when we both knew it was too rocky, too bad – she always showed me so much love. So, I still care about her and didn’t like seeing her cry the other day.”
On making music as a feminist icon…
“I’m definitely a dominating voice in hip-hop culture. And hip-hip culture is the most imitated culture in the world. And so of course that makes me always feel a sense of responsibility to uplift women especially. I feel like right now women are more powerful than we’ve ever been – ever.
The album is very layered. Barbie Tingz and Chun Li are more pop records. But there are songs on the album that are those types of records that I feel women really need right now. I’m excited about my fans getting the full album so they can listen to it in the way that I want them to hear the music.”
On how Cardi B and Migos failed her…
“Shout out to Cardi and all the new female rappers who’ve been doing their thing. There are certain girls that show me genuine love so it warms my heart when the girls do that. It makes me feel so good. With Cardi B shes done exactly what she should have done. She’s gone full steam ahead and congratulations to her.
The only thing with Cardi that really, really, really, hurt my feelings was the first interview she did after Motorsport came out.
I remember when I first came into the game, if a female of that stature had done a feature with me on it – I would only be singing their praises and saying ‘Thank you.’
But the first interview she did after Motorsport came out – it just really hurt me cause she looked so aggravated and angry and the only thing she kept saying was ‘Well I didn’t hear that verse’ – and I was like what?
I remember when I first did a song with Trina. Thats why till this day I love Trina. Because she is the first female rapper that acknowledged me behind the scenes and said, ‘You know – I want you to be on my album.’
So, till this day you’ve never heard me speak ill of Trina just because of that. It’s very important.
I saw Cardi’s most recent interview when I just came back on Instagram and I saw it and I felt good because it finally felt like she said something genuinely nice about me. But with Motorsport I kinda felt ambushed.
I felt like Quavo at that time was my baby – I love Quavo. So at the time I went on Twitter to explain how Motorsport came about and people were saying I was lying!
So I texted Quavo and said ‘Hey, could you back me up on this? I don’t want people thinking I’m lying. What do I have to lie about?’
And he didn’t back me up.
He texted me and he was like ‘I would only go on Twitter and back you up if you were my girl – LOL’ and that hurt because I love him!
So Quavo told me ‘I’m not gonna go on Twitter and address that s**t. If I go on an interview, then I’ll address it.’
And I was like – yikes!
It hurt my feelings to know that people would watch me be slaughtered and not one person would step in to say the truth. They’ll allow people to run with that lie because its entertaining to make Nicki seem like a bad guy. And it’s sad.”
On setting the record straight…
“Quavo texted me – I still have the text in my phone. He came to my studio and played Motorsport. He was the only person on Motorsport. I said ‘Oh thats a hit! I wanna get on that one. I said please, please, please lets do Motorsport.
He came back after and said, ‘All the guys wanna be on Motorsport too.’
I was like ok yeah I figured that and he texted me and asked if it was okay to put Cardi on it. And I still have the text in my phone where I said – ‘Yeah, lets do it!’
And thats the only story I told.
I said exactly how it came about. And when it was time to clear the air about that, no one did that. Everybody – all of them – allowed me to look like I lied.
Even with the scheduling conflict story. Cardi’s using my hairdresser now, Tokyo, and he can even attest to that fact that there really was a scheduling conflict – and it was because of him. He’s the one that couldn’t show up.
And I texted him and I said – you know that if I don’t show up the day she’s shooting they’re gonna act like it’s because I’m doing it to be mean – with the current Nicki hate train.
He wasn’t able to come and thats fine, so I had to shoot it on another day. They all knew that. Especially if you’re using my hairdresser now. He can attest to that.
And you still did interviews and y’all still jumped around that. Just to paint Nicki as a bad person so that you could play the victim. And that really, really, hurt me – because I really fully supported her. And um – up until this recent interview she just did I had never seen her show genuine love in an interview.
And I could just imagine how many girls wish they could’ve been on a song with Nicki Minaj and I’m not saying it in a cocky way, but like – um… yikes.
[audibly starts chocking up with tears]
The first thing out of your mouth when someone asks about a Nicki Minaj feature is – *imitating aggitated Cardi voice* ‘Well she changed her verse!’
It’s because of the Nicki hate parade that she felt the comfortability to address me in that manner”
Finding a way to move forward
At this point in the interview, Nicki became audibly upset, sniffling so hard someone stepped in with some kind words and started to play Chun Li again.
Both Lil Wayne and Birdman made surprise appearances to shower her with love. By the end of the conversation, she’d composed herself and left the discussion with an optimistic message about forgiveness and moving forward.
“I dont hold grudges,” she confessed. “When people apologize and admit they’re wrong – I move on. And that goes to everybody. Quavo is still my baby and Azalea Banks just put out a new record and its dope”
Well, there you have it.