Nicki Minaj is usually all about shock value when it comes to her sky-high wigs and colorful outfit choices, but for the latest issue of Elle magazine the rapper is toning things down. Minaj is one of the female musicians in the Gold Dust Women feature, which honors women in music who are "sounding off" in 2011.

In the black and white photo by Terry Tsiollis, Minaj rocks a white, feathered Mark Fast dress. The Queens-bred entertainer explains why she decided to become a rapper, in an industry dominated by men. "I always wanted to play with the boys," she said. "I didn't want to be a pawn in their game or have a sidekick role. I wanted to be more of a lead character -- a superhero."

The 26-year-old has not only beat out most of the boys in the music game, but she's also made history as a female rapper. Her debut album, 'Pink Friday,' entered the Billboard charts at No. 2 and has remained on the charts for several weeks, breaking the record for the most consecutive weeks spent in the top 10 by a female rap album.

Between being on tour with her Young Money family and working on her second album, Minaj is keeping herself busy. Up next, she will reportedly open for Britney Spears, replacing singer Enrique Iglesias on the tour.

Watch Nicki Minaj's 'Your Love'
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