Nicki Minaj Inspires ‘The Next Level,’ will.i.am Says

Producer/rapper says Nicki pushed him on 'Check It Out.'

Sorry, Drake, but ex-Twitter-wife Nicki Minaj and will.i.am might prove to be a match made in hip-hop heaven — musically, at least.

The pair heaped praise on each other recently while on the video set for their “Check It Out” collaboration, the latest offering from Nicki Minaj’s forthcoming debut album, Pink Friday.

The Black Eyed Peas frontman, who has produced for Nas, Fergie and other acts, said the Young Money upstart inspired him while they were in the studio.

“I work with a lot of artists, and say you work with an artist that didn’t push to bring the best out,” he told MTV News as he turned to Nicki Minaj “That [wasn't the case with 'Check It Out'] because I was hanging with you and I heard your record and I heard your verse. So I was like, ‘I got to take it to the next level now.’ ‘Cause usually you mess with cats and there is no next level, because they don’t inspire the next level. So she inspired the next level. So push it. You went 5 miles, then you better go 100.”

The duo recently shot a video in Los Angeles for “Check It Out,” which they premiered during the VMA pre-show . For the clip, will.i.am suggested Nicki bring back the spirit of her live performance, particularly the skintight leather outfit she donned onstage.

“You can expect to see a bunch of flyness as far as outfits,” he told MTV News. “When I say flyness, I’m referring to Nicki.”

Do you think will and Nicki make a good team? Let us know in the comments!