Nicki Minaj played an important role in the culture, according to her.
Earlier this year, she passed the legendary Aretha Franklin and became the woman with the most Hot 100 singles ever. At just 34 year of age, it would be quite an accomplishment for anyone, but perhaps moreso in the case of Minaj, who only really cut through the clutter and began to make her name for herself at the end of the 2000’s. In that short amount of time, she’s elevated herself from an oddball music video mainstay and gone on to become one of the most recognized hip-hop and pop music stars of the last twenty years. With all that in mind, it won’t surprise you to hear that she thinks her place in the pop culture lexicon is a very important one.
“My role in hip-hop has been super unique because when my first album came out, there had been so much time where there wasn’t a female rap album out that went platinum,” stated Minaj, in an excerpt from a wide-ranging interview she completed with XXL to coincide with the media outlet’s big 20th anniversary celebration. “There wasn’t a big female rap presence right before I got in. So, my role was reintroducing the female rapper to pop culture.” She continued with this train of thought by adding, “I don’t think we got that much credit. I think female rappers have always been dope and influential, but I think I sort of came in at a time where big business was paying attention, so I was able to capitalize off of a lot of deals and business ventures.”
Eventually, the interview turned to the question of who she thought the most important hip-hop artists of the past two decades were. A difficult question, but Minaj provided some pretty easy answers. Some of the men and women she mentioned – such as Lil Wayne, Jay Z, Foxy Brown, and Eminem – are widely known to have been influences on her rapping style and technique. Others like (her rumored boyfriend) Nas, Lauryn Hill, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, Eazy-E, Slick Rick, The Notorious B.I.G and 2Pac were more just names she admired effusively.
Need more from Minaj? Check out our list of her 10 best music videos here.