The first rule of a Nicki Minaj interview is simple: do not ask about her ass. Although I’d intended to do no such thing, I find myself nodding in deference when warned against it by the 26-year-old rapper’s publicist while going up in an elevator to the 50th floor of Midtown Manhattan’s London NYC hotel.
“It won’t go over well,” the publicist says as we approach the door to Minaj’s suite, which is flanked by three heavy-duty takeout bags from Red Lobster -- evidence of a recent seafood feast, and perhaps the secret to that globular, mythologized, and strictly off-limits derrière (an idea that wouldn’t have crossed my mind only moments ago).
Minaj breezes into the room wearing a brown velour tracksuit and what must be the most business-casual hairpiece she owns. Always seen in one of a seemingly endless procession of outlandish wigs, she has opted for a relatively demure look, choosing a black wig with a blunt fringe instead of her Doritos-orange wig, her technicolor, leopard-print wig, and her gravity-defying, Marge Simpson-inspired, pink candy-floss wig.
Like a pouty feline, she settles into a cream-colored divan, sits on her socked feet, and hugs the pillow in her lap. Curves aside -- and, yes, those curves are spectacular -- Minaj is tiny, something one might expect of, say, Reese Witherspoon, but not of the fiery rapper who proclaimed on her 2010 single, “Roman’s Revenge,” that she’s a “bad bitch, I’m a ****, and I’ll kick that ho, punt, forced trauma, blunt.”
All that explicit cattiness is the yin to Minaj’s girly yang, of which there is also no shortage -- from her innocent smirk to her Valley Girl speech tics. Both reside in the body of a petite, corny woman with a sunny disposition who is wearing sweatpants tonight.
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