Nicki Minaj and Jay-Z

If you want to rise through the relentless ranks of hip-hop stardom, it's a good plan to get a Jay-Z stamp of approval somewhere along the way. This happened a bit sooner than expected for budding Young Money star Nicki Minaj when Hov personally recommended her skills for Robin Thicke's 'Shakin' It 4 Daddy'. Apparently, Jay was spot-on and Thicke was pretty blown away with her talents.

"It was Jay's idea," Thicke told MTV News. "We were in the studio and I played him the whole album. He was like, 'You should get Nicki Minaj on that. She's got that voice. She's got that swag.' So I leaned over and was like, 'Somebody get Nicki Minaj on the phone! Jay-Z said so!' Next thing you know, we called Nicki. She was excited. But once we told her it was Jay-Z's idea to get her on the track, she started screaming on the phone. She was all excited. She's a super, super talent ... It's not just that she's sexy and that's the only way she can get you to like her. She's got charm -- not just sex."

Minaj's excitement is understandable. For her, Hov is almost an untouchable figure. You'd love to confirm he knows about you, but that proposition remains a pipe dream until it actually happens. With Lil Wayne about to head into lockdown at Rikers in coming days, it's increasingly important that Minaj maintains a high profile and keeps the Young Money name popular.

"Jay-Z is a person in hip-hop that you almost don't think he exists until you meet him," she reflects. "It's almost like he's bigger than a person. He's a mystical figure. That's a great way to describe it. I was like, 'Jay-Z knows me' I didn't think he knew who I was, let alone recommend me for something. If he did know who I was, I didn't know if he liked my style or approved. It was weird. It was like getting that stamp of approval from the most popular jock in high school and being a freshman in high school and thinking no one knows you exist."