Boom! No special effects required: Nicki Minaj is killing it on this cover. Our favorite source of colorful controversy took some time away from her busy schedule as a rapper and "American Idol" judge to pose in a stunning cover editorial for Elle magazine's April 2013 issue.

With nothing but black pants, a leather jacket, beach babe hair, and -- for the first time we can recall -- no bubblegum pink lipstick or other over-the-top makeup choices, Nicki has probably never looked so good.

Even the "Starships" singer had to adjust to the transformation, telling the mag that going makeup-free for the shoot was difficult.

"When I saw myself with barely any makeup at, it was such a ... like, I'm so, so attached to my pink lipstick, it's hard," she tells Elle. "I feel that it's become a part of me. To go in front of the camera, without pink lips or big ol' crazy lashes -- you know, nothing -- I felt naked. It was scary! So this photo shoot was a real accomplishment in my eyes."

Honestly, Nicki should consider taking the make-under route more often. Not only is she naturally babely, but this look seriously suits the rawness of her rap game.

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