Nicki Minaj Talks "Ice Age: Continental Drift", "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded", "Marilyn Monroe", and More
Tue, 10 Jul 2012 07:34:21
Few pop stars in history are as vibrant as Nicki Minaj is.
She can light up a stage like no other, and she's got the kind of presence and charisma that translates seamlessly to any medium. On her latest masterpiece, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, she infuses hip hop and pop with a theatrical panache and, as a result, crafts a wholly unique and utterly thrilling album. It's one of the year's best because she's so fearless.
As Steffie in Ice Age: Continental Drift 3D, Minaj brings that same inimitable charm of hers to the big screen with much poise and the right amount of sly humor. She's the perfect addition to the franchise's legendary cast and, simply put, a natural.
Don't miss it this Friday July 13…
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Nicki Minaj talks her character, the film's message, animated films that she loves, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, "Come on a Cone", "Marilyn Monroe", and so much more.
What resonated with you about Steffie?
Her fire, her spunk, her boldness—that's what I noticed about the character right away so that resonated with me. I was very honored to be a part of the Ice Age family.
Do you feel like you left a part of yourself on her?
Of course! The character fits with one side of my personality. It's that fun, crazy side. It wasn't hard at all. It's a small role, and I just had lots of fun. I played around with it.
Was that inspirational Ice Age message something you dug about the film?
I definitely got that message by the end of the movie. I saw what they were going for. I feel like it's such a great message for children. If I could be a part of that in anyway—boosting children's self-esteem and teaching them to accept people for who they are regardless of how they look—that's something right up my alley. I'd do that a billion times if I could.
How different is your creative process for acting as opposed to singing? You have Roman Zolanski in your music. Do music and movies both involve stepping into a role?
Yeah, I definitely incorporate acting into my music. It's pretty obvious. I feel like they're all extensions of me. It becomes art to me. When I go into the booth, I think, "How do I want to paint this picture today?" I look at the color palette and start painting. It was the same with the movie. What voice is this character? I thought, "I'm pretty sure she's here somewhere in my brain. Let me figure her out".
Did you know what she looked like before you recorded the part?
They showed me pictures of her and her little girlfriends, and I was cracking up laughing. I thought they looked like a cute little crew. I got a kick out of that. I saw her before I went in.
What animated films did you grow up on?
I actually fell in love with The Lion King, and it's still one of my favorite movies of all time. It's interesting how cartoons resonate with you at a young age, and you never forget them. The stories take on a deeper meaning when you're young. When I was younger, that movie for me was The Lion King.
Did you approach Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded with one vision in mind? It comes to life like a movie or musical.
When I started making that album, I knew I wanted to have a larger portion of it reflect my mixtape sound. With the first album, there was less of that sound. I wanted to give at least eight songs back-to-back that were more mixtape-sounding records. That was the only thing I planned on, and that's what I did. You can't plan songs like "Marilyn Monroe". Those are songs that just happen. It seemed to be so magical. Why wouldn't I incorporate those? I'm a rapper, but I'm also a woman so I have all of these different emotions inside of me. Sometimes, with the rap, I feel it limits me in terms of what I can speak about and how I can speak about it. With the album, towards the middle and end of the recording process, I just wanted to create music. That's what it is for me now. It's not about labels anymore. It's not about genres. It's just music.
How did "Marilyn Monroe" come about?
It came about from J.R. Rotem. On the first album, I did "Fly" with Rihanna, and he produced that as well. He hit me up and he said, "I have a song that I think only an icon can sing". I was like, "Oh J.R., shut up!" [Laughs] We laughed a little bit on iChat. He sent it, and I fell in love with the song. It spoke to me as a woman. I'm very infatuated with Marilyn Monroe. I had a moment with that song where I was like, "Oh my God, every woman in this world needs to hear that". No, we're not perfect. Sometimes, we think, "What's wrong with us?" We spend so much time criticizing ourselves. I needed to hear that, "I'm not perfect, but I'm worth it". It resonated with me. I felt like the world needed to hear it.
On the other end of the spectrum, there's "Come on a Cone". Is that a special one?
I wanted to write a song that was talking real shit from beginning to end. Everything I'm saying is facts. I'm not rapping just to make things rhyme or have a metaphor. It's factual, but it has that cocky swag people know me for. We get theatrical on the hook. I think what makes that song is that low feel, tone, and beat. That beat takes you on a journey. It's interesting because I hadn't been performing that on the show. It wasn't on the setlist. When we got out to London and places in the UK, they started requesting it. When I do it on the show, the place goes mad. You should see these people. They're doing the bop. They're enjoying it. They're swagged out and cocky. It's one of those songs that has both facets of my personality—the hardcore side and the theatrical side, which I also did on "Roman's Revenge" from the first album.
If you were to compare Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
That's a great question. Maybe I'd say Ice Age: Continental Drift [Laughs]. You know why? You've got to really get in and know the art before you judge. That's what I would say. In the end, it's all good.
Will you be seeing Ice Age: Continental Drift on July 13?
Read our review of Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded here!