Nicki Minaj knows how to work her angles.
The "Anaconda" rapper puts her famous figure on display in V magazine (Issue 92). Photographed by the famed Mario Testino, Minaj pops her booty—all while wearing skintight, cut-out ensembles by Balmain, Donna Karan and Guess. But as the world well knows, it's not only Minaj's outfits that get people talking; It's her slick lyrics, too.
"I always push the envelope because I'm Nicki Minaj. I have to," the rapper, 31, insists. "No matter who I'm on a song with, I feel like I have to say at least one thing that no one else is willing to say. Whether it's Madonna or [Britney Spears] or Beyoncé, they always tell me, 'YES. Be yourself. Talk your s--t.'"
Of course, plenty of s--t had been talked about Minaj.
Yet in spite of her critics, Minaj considers herself to be a role model. "I love women who take control, who set standards, and who believe in themselves enough to lead the way in terms of their career. I've done that. When I win and when I lose, I take ownership of it, because I really am in charge of what I do. There are a lot of strong male rappers, who've influenced me a great deal in terms of my skill, my flow, and my business-savvy side," she explains. "But at the end of the day, I still want to inspire women."
Minaj hopes that her new album, The Pinkprint, will do just that.
"You can expect a great intro piece that really walks you through where my mind has been the past two years, and there's a strong love and relationship section that has been lacking lately on the radio. It's not the glossy stuff, but the nitty-gritty, the fights, the heartbreaking things that people don't really touch on in rap," the rapper says of her new music. "And for my core, I have the hard s--t. It's the stuff that makes everyone excited and gives them the stink face in the room, and makes people bop super hard."
Minaj has traded her crazy costumes and wild wigs for a more subdued look as of late, but don't get it twisted—she's still the baddest bitch in the game, especially when it comes to her sense of style. "I'm so in love with [Donatella Versace]," the "Starships" rapper says of her designer friend. "What I love about Donatella and what I love about Versace is that it's so rich. It's not afraid to be rich and braggadocious."
"There are attitudes in fashion and in hip-hop that match each other. It's an almost snobby type of feeling. It's fun! It's like showing off!" Minaj explains in her V (Issue 92) cover story, on newsstands Nov. 13. "I think rap is a lot of showing off, and fashion is too. Versace is like, Look at me, bitch. I'm here."