PASS OR FAIL? Nicki Minaj Channels Marilyn Monroe

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Nicki Minaj can play a Barbie better than most, but is she as convincing when channeling the iconic sex symbol?

On a Friday afternoon in March, a week after the cover shoot, XXL caught up with Nicki in Los Angeles to chat about her travels and shooting for the stars.

When did you first start to feel that things were coming together for you?

I definitely think that, when I shot the [“Up Out My Face”] video with Mariah Carey, I started feeling like, Wait a minute, this is not something I really ever envisioned for my life just nine months before that.

So growing up you’re a fan of hip-hop. You’re listening to it, watching it, learning to rap, and you see what the open lane is and figure how you can try to fill it? Is that how it works?

I never look at it like that; I just kinda do what I feel. I never knew what lane I would fill, [or that] I would fill a lane at all. I didn’t even really contemplate that far down the road. I just started having fun, and a lot of that came from me seeing Wayne dare to be different, and I started feeling like I can be a multifaceted rapper. I don’t have to be a one-dimensional female rapper. Once I put that in perspective, it was like everything just got easier for me, because I no longer wanted to fit in anybody’s box—I just wanted to be Nicki…

Clearly there’s an opening, because females in hip-hop come so far and few between, but the winners make an open lane out of a closed lane. The winners just say, “I am,” and it happens, and they don’t do a lot of thinking and guessing and planning about what they can do—they just do it. And that’s kinda like how I am.

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