Ahead of her upcoming fourth album Queen, due Aug. 10, Nicki Minaj graces the cover of ELLE‘s July issue.
The “Chun-Li” rapper dons a Fendi belted coat, $8,000 cashmere fur, Alexandre Vauthier dress, and Stuart Weitzman heels in the high-fashion shoot, photographed by Karl Lagerfeld. “I wanted to cry,” says Minaj, who flew to Paris to shoot with the famed designer. “All I do is wear Chanel.”
During the interview, she opens up about her four-year hiatus and why Queen is the “best album of the year.” “Spiritually, I’ve experienced more growth in the last six months of my life, of my career, than I have in the last eight years,” says Nicki.
She also gets personal, dishing on her single status, ex-boyfriend Meek Mill’s legal case, and her sexy image. “Maybe I was naïve, but I didn’t realize how many girls were modern-day prostitutes,” she says. “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.”
ON PERFECTION: “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.”
ON TRAP MUSIC: “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 down south.”
ON QUEEN: “I really think it’s gonna be the best album of the year. I went through a moment where I got to know myself again, and then I went through a moment where I got to know myself as the rapper again. And then I locked [myself] in the studio and I didn’t want to leave. Spiritually, I’ve experienced more growth in the last six months of my life, of my career, than I have in the last eight years.”
ON BEING SINGLE: “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.”
ON SELLING SEX APPEAL: “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 MEEK MILL’S LEGAL CASE: “I know that when I went there pleading for his freedom, I know that [Judge Brinkley] spoke to me and was very sweet and maternal, and we both cried in her chambers, and she gave him another chance. So I don’t know what’s going on.”