"You have to be bigger than your music. I was never settling. I was ruthless."

To be clear: Nicki Minaj is a better musician than she is a celebrity. But she's an awfully good celebrity. For Minaj, 33, it's a job that entails more than the routine duties of 21st century multimedia fame -- spreading your stardust across dozens of platforms, from recording studio to concert stage to red carpet to Instagram feed. Minaj's brand of megastardom means inhabiting the eye of a storm that sweeps up contentious issues of race and gender and sexuality, while tending to more quotidian controversies like rap beefs and diva rivalries.

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