Roxane Gay Interviewed Nicki Minaj for T Magazine and It's Too Powerful

Minaj talks about persevering in a male-dominated industry while serving vintage Sade realness and it's a feast for the heart AND eyes

Nicki Minaj with long blonde hair wearing a white fur coat and black leather skirt

(Photo: Getty Images)

What happens when two incredibly talented, fiercely outspoken, and downright iconic women sit down together for a wee chat? An interview of epically inspiring proportions, that’s what. Brilliant feminist author Roxane Gay interviewed record-breaking rapper Nicki Minaj for one of seven covers of T Magazine’s “The Greats” issue (out October 22) and we recommend pouring yourself a cup of tea (or wine or coffee; you do you, boo), unplugging for 15 minutes, and devouring it.

In the interview, Minaj talks about the obstacles she’s faced in her career, particularly as a woman of colour in a male-dominated industry. “I had so much going against me in the beginning: being black, being a woman, being a female rapper. No matter how many times I get on a track with everyone’s favorite M.C. and hold my own, the culture never seems to want to give me my props as an M.C., as a lyricist, as a writer,” she tells Gay. “I got to prove myself a hundred times, whereas the guys that came in around the same time as I did, they were given the titles so much quicker without anybody second-guessing.”

Minaj also speaks frankly and confidently about her talents and while the same quote might sound pompous coming from someone less established, she’s got the goods to back it up: “I believe in my gift wholeheartedly.” Elsewhere in the interview, Gay writes of Minaj’s self-awareness and intelligence. “There is no point during our conversation where Minaj demonstrates anything but absolute self-awareness. She pauses briefly before she answers my questions, as if calculating every possible outcome to everything she says. By the end of the interview, I am impressed by her fierce intelligence,” she writes.

And if you’re part of #TheKINGDOM or consider yourself one of Minaj’s OG Barbz, come for the Nicki wisdom but stay for the beautiful words. Minaj’s fans have been praising Gay’s thoughtful, articulate writing and in case you didn’t know, musicians’ super fans are a notoriously tough crowd. A personal favourite excerpt: “When her eyes are done, Minaj sits on the adjacent couch, arranging her robe to her liking. There is regality in how she sits. That she is wearing a bathrobe is utterly inconsequential. A queen is a queen regardless,” writes Gay. She continues in the next paragraph: “Finally, Minaj turns to me, offering her full attention, and says, ‘You want us to start?’ as if, this whole time, we’ve been waiting on me. I want to applaud with appreciation. Yasssss, queen, as they say.” YAS QUEEN, indeed.

Let’s not forgot the cover story’s accompanying photos. While your brain and heart are being inspired by this meeting of the strong, empowering female minds, your eyeballs will be gently seduced by the accompanying photos—a stunning shoot inspired by ICONIC portraits of another strong, incomparable female idol to whom we bow down: Sade.

Throughout her career, @NickiMinaj has demonstrated a discipline and intelligence that is rare among other pop stars of her generation. She has persevered because she is always in control of her craft. Neither her work nor her success are accidental. “I believe in my gift wholeheartedly,” she tells Roxane Gay (@roxanegay74). Now, it feels like the queen of hip-hop is on the verge of another big moment in her career, and she knows it. Click the link in our bio to read our cover story on @NickiMinaj, one of 7 icons featured in our Greats issue — on newsstands Oct. 22nd. Story by Roxane Gay (@roxanegay74), photo by @patrickdemarchelier, styling by Marie-Amélie Sauvé (@marieameliesauve). #TGreats17

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@NickiMinaj is working on her fourth studio album, the title of which is, for now, a well-kept secret but is “super, super iconic.” “This album is everything in my life coming full circle and me being truly, genuinely happy. It feels almost like a celebration,” she says. “Now, I can tell you guys what happened for the last two years of my life. I know who I am. I am getting Nicki Minaj figured out with this album and I’m loving her.” It took a long time for her to get to a place of confidence and trusting in her instincts, and it hasn’t been without hurdles and challenges along the way. But, ever since she turned her gift into a career, it’s been nothing but a checklist of milestones. Click the link in our bio to read our cover story on @NickiMinaj, one of 7 icons featured in our Greats issue — on newsstands Oct. 22nd. Story by Roxane Gay (@roxanegay74), photo by @patrickdemarchelier, styling by Marie-Amélie Sauvé (@marieameliesauve). #TGreats17

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Nicki, Roxane AND Sade? We are not worthy.

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