"Hottest Breakthrough MC of 2010" Candidate: Nicki Minaj
Nicki Minaj is in the running for MTV News' "Hottest Breakthrough MCs of 2010" because of her massive attack — not her single of the same name, which came out earlier this year and has a big-budgeted video full of eye candy. Minaj's appeal is about more than one song, more than one type of flow, more than one genre of music, even more than one gender. Her charisma and versatility have made her today's face of female rap, but her appeal is universal.
The Young Money MC has an army of female supporters she calls her "Harajuku Barbies" that are enthralled with her style and persona. The guys love her audacity and precision on the mic as well as her beauty.
From Southside Queens to Down South in Atlanta, the New York native credits grinding down-bottom with helping to make her one of the most versatile MCs in the game right now.
"[Lil] Wayne liked me," Minaj told MTV's "Sucker Free" backstage in Boston earlier this year. "He saw me on ['The Come Up'] DVD and he wanted a female for Young Money. I moved to Atlanta, me and Gucci [Mane] started working crazy. People started thinking I was a Down South girl. I feel more diverse because I did that — because I'm not a rapper that just stayed in Jamaica, Queens. It was a great thing.
"Sometimes people see the glitz and the glamour. That's why they envy you," she added. "They don't see three, four, five years ago. They don't see when I was selling my mixtape for $2 on Jamaica Avenue [in Queens]. They don't see when I couldn't get New York DJs — I lived in New York my whole life — to even play a song. At the end of the day, it's all about hard work. You clearly see that hard work; that's all it takes. If you really want it, direct your energy on positive sh-- and it will happen."
She's notched dozens of guest spots along pre-eminent spitters such as Rick Ross, Busta Rhymes, Fabolous, Ludacris, Jadakiss and, of course, her Young Family members, and just like her skills on the mic, Nick's work ethic can't be questioned. She's a fashion icon, a sex symbol, she appeals to men and women and she has a huge fanbase. The only thing she's lacking at this point is a debut LP.
"I am still hungry," Minaj, who says her main goal this summer is to sit in the studio and complete that album, said with a smile. "I'm not hungry in monetary way; I'm hungry like I wanna feel what it's like to have 10 albums under my belt. I think when you're a perfectionist — when you are an artist, you want to be great at your craft — sometimes it's not about money. I feel like I'm still a new artist, I still gotta prove myself, I still have to prove myself to me that I can do this. The features are great — I thank all the artists that gave time, the opportunity to feature with them. But I'm Nicki Minaj, I'm capable of doing what they do. I just wanna get out here and prove it. The album is coming soon. It's something I can't date. I'm not rushing it. The album will come when it's ready, in its natural time."
Nicki and 19 other up-and-coming MCs are in the running to become MTV News' "Hottest Breakthrough MCs of 2010" — and the winner will be decided by you!
Cast your vote for the "Hottest Breakthrough MC of 2010" right here! The top five will be revealed beginning on July 19, and the winner will be announced on the "Sucker Free Summit" July 25!