Nicki Minaj: 'I'll Definitely Drop a Mixtape -- I Have To'

Howard Huang
Nicki Minaj photographed in 2015.

The last time Nicki Minaj released a mixtape, the calendar was 2009. Powered by Trapaholics Records, the 23-track set titled Beam Me Up Scotty featured the curvy Queens MC in Wonder Woman garb on the cover as she spit fire on tracks like "Itty Bitty Piggy" and the carrier track "I Get Crazy" featuring her mentor and Young Money boss, Lil Wayne

In the six years since, Minaj has become a main attraction in pop culture, bagging big-name endorsement deals from MAC Cosmetics and Walmart while pushing millions of records from her three major label releases -- 2010's Pink Friday, 2012's Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded and 2014's Grammy-nominated The Pinkprint. The latter even debuted at No. 1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums last December. 

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However, Barbs thirsty for a freebie project from Minaj might not have to wait for long. "I’ll definitely drop a mixtape," says Minaj in her latest Billboard cover story. "I have to."

Her reasoning? Setting the standard for her lady peers. "Well, I want to touch a couple of beats that I wasn’t on," she says. "I could have bodied a lot of the records that came out in the last year. But the main thing is, 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."

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Minaj also cites her career beginnings and industry savvy as factors. "And because I came into the game doing mixtapes, I want to make sure women do not forget the importance of that grind, that walk up to the top," she says. "You can’t get there with a song. Because once that song is no longer hot, you’re no longer hot. It’s important that you are bigger than your music. Some fans are going to fuck with me for the rest of my life because they know where I came from. Fans know my struggle. How hungry I was. That I was not settling, I was not giving up. I was on everybody’s beat. I was ruthless."

Read Nicki Minaj's full Billboard cover story in the Year in Music 2015 issue here.

Billboard Year in Music 2015