Last night at New York venue Le Poisson Rouge, Elliott Wilson hosted the latest edition of CRWN, a rap version of Inside the Actors Studio, with Nicki Minaj as his guest. The conversation was pegged to the release of The Pinkprint, her latest LP, but the night quickly became a celebration of the local star’s entire catalog, with fans rapping back verses – even obscure freestyles – at every segue. In between, Minaj spoke candidly about the state of Young Money, her position in the game and the making of the album. Here are five things we learned.
1. She didn’t think “Bed of Lies” was going to be a single
The chorus was presented to Minaj early, around the time of a recent breakup, but the beat that producer Detail (“Drunk in Love,“ “Lookin‘ Ass“) delivered wasn‘t up to snuff. She tried out multiple alternatives before deciding on the one from Kane Beatz.
2. She didn’t know that Jay Z was going to be on “Monster”
Minaj said that Kanye West pushed her to go all the way on the career-defining track, but she didn‘t know how strong her competition was going to be until she had already spit her legendary bars. Minaj initially got nervous when she learned that Jigga had also contributed, but last night she was confident enough to even tell Wilson that if he thought this had been her first impressive verse, he hadn‘t been paying attention to her before it.
3. Irv Gotti told her to sign to Young Money
Minaj spent a lot of time talking about Deb Antney, her former representation and Waka Flocka Flame’s mom and manager. The rapper said that she originally moved to Atlanta to work with Mama Flame and because there are better apartments and opportunities outside of New York. During the move, she remained in contact with both Lil Wayne and Murder Inc. boss Irv Gotti, and despite the fact that Gotti wanted to sign her, he encouraged her to become part of Wayne’s Young Money.
4. She’s worried her career will get in the way of motherhood
On Pinkprint opener “All Things Go,“ Minaj raps, “Life is a movie, but there’ll never be a sequel/And I’m good with that, as long as I’m peaceful/As long as seven years from now, I’m taking my daughter to preschool.” During the Q&A, Minaj expressed fear that she would not have a child, citing Janet Jackson as an example of a successful singer who never gave birth.
5. She didn’t know Lil Wayne was so unhappy with Cash Money
Wilson doesn‘t usually get too deep with CRWN subjects, but he was sure to ask about Wayne‘s recent Twitter admission that a feud with his label, Cash Money, is keeping Tha Carter V in purgatory. Minaj said she knew that Wayne was frustrated but didn’t know how mad he actually was until she read those tweets. She thinks there must be other things bubbling between Wayne and bosses Birdman and Ronald “Slim“ Williams but said that Young Money/Cash Money is a dysfunctional family because there‘s a “thin line between genius and crazy.“