Birdman Says Female Hip-Hop Is in Nicki Minaj’s Hands
Nicki Minaj may be the game's reining female emcee right now, but just over a year ago she was a virtual unknown. The 26-year-old, born in Trinidad and raised in Queens, New York, got her big break after a meeting with Lil Wayne changed the course of her career and catapulted her into the spotlight. Cash Money head, Brian "Birdman" Williams knew when he first heard Minaj flow that she was something special. "When I first saw her Wayne brought in the DVD and we watched it on the bus and I was like 'Wow!" he told The BoomBox.
Over the past year, Minaj has managed to plump up her resume with names that a new artist could only dream of, jumping on tracks with the likes of Kanye West, Mariah Carey and Usher, just to name a few. With her distorted faces, ever-changing flow, and bevy of colorful wigs, the Young Money frontwoman has rapped herself right into the music history books, becoming the first female rapper to have the most singles on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, with seven entries. Clocking over 4 million in sales of both solo and joint singles, Minaj has quickly become the go-to girl for a hit single, and her female competition is not only taking notice, but some are not too happy.
Most famously, Lil' Kim continues to throw shots at the rapper for not giving her credit despite clearly emulating aspects of Kim's style, including the photo recreation of the former Jr. Mafia member's debut album. Although Minaj refuses to address Kim directly, she has launched a few lyrical missiles of her own in her music, but noted that any female rappers that take issues with her success are merely jealous.
With the support of her Cash Money/Young Money family behind her Minaj is poised to share in musical triumph held by her Young Money counterpart, Drake who like Minaj was set on the fast-track to superstardom by Wayne and his crew. "That was the first phase of it," Birdman explains of her rapid climb to the top. "Now I'm watching her develop watching her do all this s--- while Wayne [was] in jail, creating a whole other monster. Then you got another phase. She's probably gonnaí be one of the biggest females ever."
The ultimate tests of Minaj's star-power comes with the release of her much anticipated debut 'Pink Friday,' which pits her up against big names like Kanye West, when it drops Nov. 22. But as far as Birdman is concerned, she has nothing to worry about. "She's so talented and smart. She [does] things to make her smart. She asks the questions. Talent wise she knows she's very talented that's something you can't even trade, but the other part is what makes her that mega star, that's what I love about her. She reaches for other things. I watched her grow and it grew so quick. Nicki can never go wrong to me, she's the only female, with a bunch of men doing her thing. I just see her being one of the biggest to ever do it as far as the females. Breaking records like she's doing, topping charts -- she's gonna do all that. It's been a thin game with females and, it's in her hands."