The thing I like most about Nicki Minaj (besides her wildly colorful talent) is that at heart she is a straight-up business woman. She doesn’t want just a “Moment for Life”. She wants a legacy. She wants an empire. To that end, she is taking on the mostly male world of hip-hop and following in the footsteps of its resident king, Jay Z, to build a business (woman) and become a mogul – one blueprint at a time – or should we say pinkprint?
Her upcoming album, The Pinkprint, is obvi fashioned after Jay Z’s The Blueprint, and is slated for release December 15. It’s all about scaling back the structure and defining the DNA of things – the essence of how Her Minajesty’s empire is built. (Hence the natural black hair instead of the pink cotton candy wigs). So what is Minaj’s Pinkprint to building her empire?
# 1 Make Hit Songs (That Are Also Personal)
Minaj has already recorded 25 songs, pouring all her energy into only what she’s passionate about – so passionate, in fact, that she’s unsure of what to cut.
“There are songs on the album where I am going back and forth saying, ‘Do I release it to the world? Is it too personal?’” she told HipHopDX.
We got a taste of a few little gems: the lover’s regret ballad, “Pills n Potions,” the defiantly battle-raged, “Only,” and the notorious big-butt loving, “Anaconda,” which stirred up as much controversy as it did copycats. But, hey, that’s all part of the biz.
#2 Sell Your Image
Minaj takes the criticism of her image in stride – that’s what happens when your video alone generates nearly 300 million views in only 3 months, as “Anaconda” did.
“If a man did the same video with sexy women in it, no one would care,” she told HipHopDX . “You’re talking about newspeople who don’t even know anything about hip-hop culture…. Shame on them for commenting on ‘Anaconda’ and not commenting on the rest of the oversexualized business we’re a part of.”
The insane butt-popping-ly sexy “Anaconda,” by the way, reached number 2 on Billboard Hot 100, and is Minaj’s highest-selling song to date.
So, critics don’t take away from her confidence in any respect. “I really feel like this album will be a blueprint for female rappers to come. That alone should tell you how confident I am about the music,” she told DJ Semtex on BBC 1Xtra.
#3 Define Your Brand and Don’t Take Orders from Nobody
Minaj is covering plenty of magazines these days, and in her V Magazine “Queen of Rap” feature she continues to voice her quest for female empowerment in music, branding and business.
“I always feel it’s important for me to show females that they can be in charge of their own situation. I came into the game creating my own brand. I was doing things very early on that set me apart from people who just took orders and allowed their brand to be created for them.”
#4 Be Boardroom Smart and Billboard Sexy
With that said, Minaj sees absolutely no contradiction in being super sexy and super smart. But misogyny often pits these two traits against each other – especially in women.
“Sometimes as women in the industry — if you’re sexy or like doing sexy things — some people subconsciously negate your brain. They think you’re stupid,” she told Billboard Magazine, which she also covers.
Stupid? Tell that to her bank account.
#5 Incorporate Yourself and Diversify Your Portfolio
It’s far too easy to dismiss a woman’s work ethic, drive, control or brilliance when it comes to her success. For Minaj, that comes in the form of accusations of her sleeping her way to the top with Lil’ Wayne or Drake – a claim she vehemently denies in the battle-ready “Only”. (“I never f***ed Wayne/I never f***ed Drake/All my life, man, f***’s sake.”)
True to her brand, Minaj is savvy, sexy, aggressive and unapologetic. Only three albums in (at age 31), she has the most Hot 100 hits of any female hip-hop artist, is the first female rapper to perform solo at the Grammy Awards, has sold millions of albums, has endorsements from M.A.C. Cosmetics, O.P.I. Nail Polish and Pepsi, has her own fashion line for KMART, a partnership with Myx Fusions Moscato beverage, three perfume lines, has won a glitterati of awards, and is on track to reach a business goal of $500 million in the next four years before she retires to have babies.
Nicki Minaj is a business, woman, not a businesswoman. And that, Your Minajesty, is the Pinkprint to how you create an empire.