The past year and change have been a booming time for women MCs, and the most successful of them all, Nicki Minaj, has reloaded with new music. Nicki Minaj released two new songs today (April 12), "Barbie Tingz" and "Chun Li," and in an interview with Zane Lowe on Beats 1, she had plenty to talk about. Along with her two new songs, Nicki spoke at length about how she dealt with the Drake and Meek Mill beef, if she's beefing with Cardi B, the origins behind "Motorsport," and her new album. Read below for some takeaways from the interview.
Nicki Minaj tried to stop Meek Mill from dissing Drake
When Drake and Meek Mill got into their beef in recent years, Nicki Minaj was caught in the middle: she was in a relationship with Meek Mill at the time, but she was Young Money labelmates and friends with Drake. During the interview, Nicki said she felt "imprisoned."
"It was one of the hardest parts of my career, to date. At the time, I did love both of them. I couldn’t erase the love I had for my team, but I also couldn’t speak out. I couldn’t say much. I felt so imprisoned in that moment," she said. "When we later spoke about it, Drake said, 'I wasn’t worried about anything in that situation, other than, what if Nicki takes a shot at me, then what?' That would’ve been so painful for both of us. It was difficult to stay out of it.
"I was behind the scenes wishing it’d never happen, and before, I was trying to stop it from happening. I told Meek, don’t do that. As artists, we all look back on things we shouldn’t have done. I told him before he did it, but he did it, and it is what it is. One thing I will say, both Meek and Drake have moved on from that."
She won't speak out against Judge Genece Brinkley, the judge presiding over Meek Mill's case
During a previous hearing for Meek Mill's case, Nicki Minaj pleaded with Judge Genece Brinkley to keep Meek out of prison. While Meek Mill's lawyers have been lobbying for Brinkley to be dropped from his case, Nicki said in her interview with Lowe that she wouldn't speak out against Brinkley.
"The judge in question did everything I asked of her, so I can’t badmouth her because I met her personally. I know what she said to us, he knows that and I know that. ... [But] I never wish jail on anybody."
Nicki said her "feelings were hurt" from what Cardi B said in an interview after the release of "Motorsport"
Whether they're legitimate rumors or simply people wanting to pit two women against each other, there has been buzz around whether Nicki Minaj and Cardi B are beefing with each other. Nicki said that while the two aren't beefing, that it "hurt my feelings" to hear Cardi B speak about her after their collaboration with Migos, "Motorsport." She expected Cardi to speak about her the way that she says she gave reverence to other woman MCs like Trina.
"Shoutout to Cardi and all the new female rappers that's doing their thing," Nicki said. "Only thing with Cardi that hurt my feelings was the first interview she did after Motorsport came out. When I first came in the game, if a female of that stature did a feature with me, I’d be singing their praises and saying thank you," Nicki said. "...She looked so aggravated and angry. She’s like, 'I didn’t hear that song.' I remember when I first did a song with Trina, she’s the first rapper to acknowledge me behind the scenes. You never hear me speak ill of Trina because of that. ... The last interview, I finally felt like she said something genuinely nice about me."
Nicki says her version of the "Motorsport" story is the truth, but that Quavo refused to back her up
When the Migos, Cardi B and Nicki Minaj collaboration "Motorsport" dropped, there was controversy over whether Nicki Minaj rewrote her verse to compete with Cardi. Nicki said on social media earlier this year she that she and Quavo collaborated on the song, and that Quavo asked her if it was acceptable to add Cardi on the song. There was controversy over whether Nicki was telling the truth, and Nicki says that Quavo turned down her pleads to defend her online.
"I texted Quavo and said, 'can you back me up?' texted me, and said, 'I would go on Twitter and back you up if you were my girl, lol.' ... It hurt my feelings to know people would watch me be slaughtered, and not one person would step in. They allow people to run with the lie because it's entertaining to make Nicki seem like a bad guy."
She left social media to "focus on my album"
"This is the best album I’ve ever created. I needed to focus, and I wanted to make sure I was writing something that was meaningful to me, and that would inspire and captivate my audience. I wasn’t only just not posting, but I took social media off my phone. It gave me peace, and it put my focus back on what it needed to be on, which was the music."