Ahead of its release, Billboard spoke with her Minajesty for a new cover story, out Friday, Nov. 7. One takeaway? Do not underestimate Nicki Minaj. Many have, and many have been proven wrong. Here's why.
She Works as Hard Behind the Scenes as On Stage
"I'm on 15 to 25 conference calls every few days strategizing with my team. I think a lot of artists sit back and have it done for them," Minaj tells Billboard. "Sometimes as women in the industry -- if you're sexy or like doing sexy things -- some people subconsciously negate your brain. They think you're stupid."
She's Now Among the Chart Elite
Thanks to her recent Billboard hits, Minaj now has the most Billboard Hot 100 hits of any female rapper. And in terms of female artists on the charts, she's at No. 5 overall, behind Aretha Franklin, Taylor Swift, Dionne Warwick and Madonna.
She Will Never Rest on Her Laurels
Minaj assures fans (and detractors) that her new record will be more than a victory lap. "It's corny when rappers feel like they've made it and they don't have to prove themselves anymore," says Minaj. "You should always be competing. You should always be trying to show that you're the best. My album is going to be important to hip-hop."
She Won't Take a Backhanded Compliment Kindly
"Once I did American Idol, a lot of people would come up to me and say, 'Oh, you're smarter than I thought,' " she says. "What does that mean?!"
She Follows Through on Long-Term Goals
"I was just a little kid in Southside Jamaica, Queens, hoping one day I would have my own perfume," Minaj tells Billboard of those days when fame was a very distant possibility. "And now I have three."
Read Nicki Minaj's full cover story when it's out Friday, Nov. 7.