The New York Times' October 22 Greats issue has seven different covers and Nicki Minaj is featured on one of them.
In photos taken for the publication, the 34-year-old rapper looked different from her usual self. She was demure, from her simple makeup to her clothes that covered every inch of skin, and the look suits her so well. Each of the seven other personalities chosen for The New York Times' T magazine are individuals doing amazing things in their respective industries so this is a nod to Nicki and all that she's doing.
Nicki spoke of her fourth studio album, which doesn't have a release date as of yet. She said the album responsible in large part for her new found confidence and how content she feels with her life right now.
"Sonically, I know what the album's about to sound like," she said of the unreleased project. "I know what this album is gonna mean to my fans. This album is everything in my life coming full circle and me being truly, genuinely happy. It feels almost like a celebration."
She also spoke to how personal her last album, The Pink Print, was and how that process allowed her to mature and evolve while working on her current project.
She said: "The last album (was) almost like my diary, closing the chapter on certain things and not knowing if I was happy or sad about beginning new chapters... 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."
She was also asked what qualities she thinks a good rapper should possess and she replied: "Do you sound intelligent? Does your flow switch up? Are you in command of the beat?"
She continued: "I listen for things like that. Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Foxy Brown - 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."
She also spoke about feeling totally free during this new creative process, with a lack of studio interference being a big reason for the sense of liberation.
"This is definitely the most inspired and free and excited I've been since I started releasing albums through a label," she said. "I'm not going to blame a label. You just overthink. When you're doing your own little thing, you feel like, I can be myself, I can be crazy. When you start working with a record company, you start thinking you need a bigger sound. I wanted to get back to the place where I wasn't second-guessing things so much."