New York rapper and entrepreneur Nicki Minaj lands the cover of Billboard magazine’s year end “No. 1s” issue, and in a sit down interview covers a wide range of topics, including music, her foray into television, politics and her relationship with rapper Meek Mill.
On the topic of politics, Minaj doesn’t shy away from opinions and provides an astute takes on Barack Obama’s importance as a president, the implicit racism and devastation caused by the U.S. justice system, as well as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s candidacies.
Minaj has been a leader in so many ways above and beyond music, but one of the walls she is clearly helping dismantle is the one dictating that women must look a certain way and possess a certain level of education before their opinions can viewed as valid.
Check out some of our favorite quotes below:
“‘Super Bass’ was so culturally effective. It never went No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, but that song still makes people happy. Six years old to 80 years old, when people hear it, they know it and they love it.”
“The way I focus on metaphors and punchlines — that’s a very New York, Philly, East Coast thing. When I started, we were very battle-driven, so every line mattered.”
“I thought it was so important when [Obama] went to prisons and spoke to people who got 20 and 30 and 40 and 50 years for drugs. There are women who are raped, people who are killed and [offenders] don’t even serve 20 years. I loved that he made them people again. Because we all make mistakes. I think about how many men may have made a mistake to feed their families and then had to pay for it forever.”
“[The justice system’s war on drugs] has become slavery… I love the president for trying to be a voice for people who no other person has ever tried to be a voice for.”
“I identify with the fact that when [Clinton is] in that room and there are nothing but men there — there’s sometimes something in her that must feel intimidated. But I think that she uses that and turns it into a strength. Because that’s what I’ve always done.”
“There are points he has made that may not have been so horrible if [Donald Trump’s] approach wasn’t so childish. But in terms of entertainment, I think he’s hilarious.”
“And this woman, she was discussing her PhDs, all this education she had, but she couldn’t put two and two together about the theme of the [Maya Angelou] poem [“Still I Rise”]. My entire career has been that poem in a nutshell.”
“And the bedroom, I want a beautiful canopy with lots of drapery all over it. I want to feel like Princess Jasmine.”
“[Meek] and I are not engaged. But he said he would like to give me three rings before we get married. My birthday’s coming up, and he better get the new one, because he got [the first one] for my last birthday.”
“[Beyoncé and Jay-Z] were so giving with advice. I love them so much. It was just a beautiful conversation to have with people we love and we look up to as a couple.”
“Meek doesn’t let me hear his music. Right now, he’s about to put out a mixtape, and I haven’t heard it.”
“I have to set an example for female rappers. I’m at the top of that food chain, and it’s important to lead by example. And because I came into the game doing mixtapes, I want to make sure women do not forget the importance of that grind.”
Below is the cover along with one of the rings she received from Mill. To read the entire interview, visit Billboard magazine.