When it comes to rapping, Nicki Minaj is no slouch on the mic, and during a recent interview, the “No Frauds” artist revealed her criteria for the makings of a good rapper.
Speaking with the New York Times’ T Magazine for this year’s Greats cover, Minaj said when it comes to finding a good rapper, some of the things she listens for are intelligence and flow. “Do you sound intelligent?” she said. “Does your flow switch up? Are you in command of the beat?”
And when it comes to her own raps, Nicki listed three rappers she always has in mind when she’s spitting. “JAY-Z, Lil Wayne, Foxy Browny—those are the three I keep in my head when I’m writing because they’ve influenced me so much, I feel like I’m a part of all of them.”
Elsewhere in the interview, the Queens, N.Y. rapper opened up about her untitled upcoming album. According to Minaj, she already knows what type of sound the project will have.
“This album is everything in my life coming full circle and me being truly, genuinely happy,” she tells Roxanne Gay, the author who interviewed her for the cover. “It feels almost like a celebration. The last album, The Pink Print, was almost like my diary, closing the chapter on certain things and not knowing if I was happy or sad about beginning new chapters. I was really writing about feeling unsure. Now, I can tell you guys what happened for the last two years of my life. I know who I am. I am getting Nicki Minaj figured out with this album and I’m loving her.”
While Nicki may have been influenced by Jigga, Weezy and Foxy, the rapper has also had her own influence on the rap game. While speaking with XXL, Nicki said when she came onto the scene, her role was “reintroducing the female rapper to pop culture.”
She added, “I think female rappers have always been dope and influential, but I think I sort of came in at a time where big business was paying attention, so I was able to capitalize off of a lot of deals and business ventures.”
As fans continue to wait for new music from Minaj, the rapper had previously said her new album would usher in a new, epic era of music from her.