?”She’s an icon, a boss and a role model to all these young girls out here on how to do it the right way.” That’s how Lil Wayne described Nicki Minaj in an essay honoring the “Feeling Myself” rapper for Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” list. Weezy recalled the first time he heard Nicki rapping, on a street DVD he bought in New York where he was featured along with a verse from her.
“I was like, ‘Woooooow!’ She was just being Nicki without the glitz and glamour,” Wayne wrote. “When I heard the first two and four bars, it wasn’t even about her rapping better than any female rapper. It was about, man, she’s rapping better than other rappers — period.”
The Young Money boss said he saw Minaj’s potential from the first moment he laid eyes on her. “She’s reached far beyond everything I would have imagined,” he said. “Man, she’s so influential and doing all the right things… her work ethic speaks volumes and has yielded these results. The scary thing is she’s still going. Ha! Nicki Minaj will go down as one of the best to do it in the history of music.”
In a feature that also has Secretary of State John Kerry calling Leonardo DiCaprio’s talent “limitless,” Lena Dunham praising Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ “naturalistic lunacy” and Ziggy Marley big-upping Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt’s status as a “unifying force,” one of the most personal and moving stories has Jennifer Lawrence describing her undying fangirl admiration for her friend Adele.
The Oscar-winning actress describes sneaking backstage at the 2013 Academy Awards to watch Adele sing “Skyfall,” comparing it to getting a “peek behind the Great Oz’s curtain,” then calling the singer’s debut album, 21, a vessel for previously indescribable “pain, frustration, sadness, then revolution that all comes from a breakup.” Lawrence praises Adele as “a giant star with its own gravity that we are drawn to,” with a “once-in-a-lifetime” voice and ancient wisdom.
Plus, she notes, Adele’s also a wonderful mother, great friend and partner and just “sweet, funny, intelligent and beautiful.”
Check out composer Jason Robert Brown’s warning to never, ever underestimate vocal powerhouse Ariana Grande, Empire co-creator Lee Daniels referring to Taraji P. Henson as “the modern Bette Davis,” Bono returning the favor for “diplomatic bruiser” Kerry and Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams finding yet another way to honor already award-buried Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda for his “profoundly moving and wholly original” musical.
And don’t miss Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza describing how Kendrick Lamar has “evolved a new genre of movement music that asserts no answers but raises hard questions and brings us together to take them on” with his widely praised To Pimp a Butterfly album. “Kendrick should be applauded for inviting us to face things that are uncomfortable, for celebrating our will to survive and for being audacious enough to grapple with the questions that we all need to answer if we ever hope to get free.”