Nicki Minaj Shares 'Emotional Journey' On MTV 'My Time Again' Documentary: Review
As Nicki Minaj was prepping to release her third studio album The Pinkprint, MTV followed the artist through the latter end of the "emotional journey."
The artist's second MTV documentary, My Time Again, was shot within a span of four and a half-months, starting "from last summer to the end of year," says executive Dave Sirulnick, executive vice president for Multiplatform Production, News and Music at MTV at an NYC screening of My Time Again on Thursday, Jan. 5.
The documentary opens with Minaj speaking on success during the first day of rehearsals for the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards; that is before she's interrupted by a phone call. "It comes out midnight tonight?" Minaj screams. She has to decide on whether to release the racy music video for "Anaconda" at 12am EST that day or 9am EST the next. She leaves it in the hands of her fans, the Barbz. Not surprisingly, the Barbz don't want to wait. Midnight it is. "My fans have an attitude if you haven't noticed," she jokes.
"The message of the song, besides [it being] fun, is don't be ashamed of who you are," Minaj tells her backup dancers.
After rehearsing and joking with her dancers about working at Red Lobster, they all gathered to take the first look at the "Anaconda" video. Jaws drop.
A following rehearsal wouldn't be as fun. One of Minaj's backup dancers was bit by a python planned to be used during her "Anaconda" MTV VMAs peformance. "All of a sudden you hear 'we need an ambulance,'" Minaj says. The dancer is seen shaking of fear, and Minaj and her team surround her to calm her down. Minutes after the incident, Minaj and Safaree "SB" Samuels see the story on TMZ.
The use of a snake was deaded, after "a new snake bit the old one."
Minaj faced two consecutive performance lows, the second being when she experienced a wardrobe malfunction during hers, Jessie J and Ariana Grande's performance of "Bang Bang." "The quick change was a disaster waiting to happen," Minaj said. Before the show, Minaj told stylist Rushka Bergman that she was worried of the little time between the "Anaconda" and "Bang Bang" performances.
The wardrobe change before both sets ended up being 40 seconds. Minaj could feel her top slipping down, and "they didn't take the packs and wires out." The seams to the black dress she was slipping into for the second set weren't zipping up.
Minaj pulled through despite the malfunction: "The show must and will go on, and that's kind of been my life."
While she thought that she had "ruined Jessie J's performance," Beyoncé reached out to Minaj and shared encouraging words. "As an entertainer, I gained so much respect for you, for the way you handled that," Bey' told her.
As to those who thought the wardrobe malfunction was for attention: "Oh my God. Only people that would say that are people who don't know me. I would never do that."
Minaj is seen taking time from the promotional run, which at one point had her in tears ("I don't feel like any of this matters if my album isn't done. If it was up to me I wouldn't do any of this stuff"), to go back to Queens, NY and visit her family and friends. "I don't spend the time that I would like to spend with my family," she says "What is this all for if I'm not with the people I care about the most?"
Her and her close childhood friends, Tyesha and Iesha Kollore, visit their old nail salon, owned by a sweet couple named Joy & Simon, and then Kollore's grandmother who cared for Nicki Minaj as if she was her own granddaughter. Kollore's grandmother admits to not liking Minaj's cursing, both on and off wax, and remembers Minaj as a boy-crazed girl, even sharing that she once told on Nicki Minaj when she stayed over at her high-school boyfriend Aaron's house.
Minaj briefly mentioned Aaron On The Pinkprint's "All Things Go," when she raps about aborting her and his' baby at the age of 15-years old: "My child with Aaron would've have been 16 any minute."
"We made a terrible mistake. We had to pay for it," Minaj says. "I always felt like my destiny was to be accomplished in my career first, and then be a mother."
As she walked down the block she grew up on, she remembers when her father burnt down her and her family's home: "Me and my brother were at a neighbor's house sleeping over. I remember when I got here, it was a big commotion. I was so scared. I look up and it was all gone."
MTV also captured playback sessions, in which Minaj listened to The Pinkprint with her engineer Aubry "Big Juice" Delaine. At times Minaj is seen joyous of how a song, such as "Anaconda," turned out: "I wanted to make a record that was fun. It was very greater towards being proud of your body. It empowers women."
But there was a time when Minaj listened back to a song, hid in a corner of a couch and cried, which happened when Delaine played back "The Crying Game."
"I didn't intend to make an emotional album. I wrote my life," she says of The Pinkprint. She continues to share about her relationship with ex-boyfriend, SB: "I was in this long 11-year relationship and was proposed to. I kept telling him, 'let's hold off.'"
"No one can prepare you for this business. Until you're in it, you really can't wrap your brain around it. This business changed people that I really love and it's really scary. They start worshipping material things and forget about good ol' fashion love."
Minaj reflects on channelling the heartbreak she was experiencing on to The Pinkprint: "I was really broken writing this. The brokenness is okay as long as it can inspire people. I didn't want to make an album that was fake happy. I wanted to deal with it, then leave it, then really be happy." Minaj then reached over for a donut: "This is the only thing that really makes me happy" she joked.
At one point during the recording process, Minaj invited two rappers who she grew up with and "kept pushing my pen." D. Biggz and Brinx Billions, to listen to the album, get their opinion and talk about how "most people don't rap anymore. Everybody is getting by by being fraudulent. Everybody is getting by by not pushing their pen. Everything on the radio is wack."
My Time Again closes with Minaj looking towards the future (and a possible third part to the documentary): "[In] four years [it] is time to have a baby, but not before I'm married. I'd like to have five albums done so on my sixth album I can speak from a mother's perspective."
Now, Minaj has her heart set on three things: "Love, self-search and let people do them."