Nicki Minaj Talks Theater Background, Influence On Pop Culture

By Rob Markman

During her recent performance at the Grammys Nicki Minaj went above and beyond with the theatrics and when MTV News caught up with the Queens rapper after her performance at the 2012 NBA All-Star game, she put it all in perspective. In her dressing room, Minaj talked about her background in theater, addressing the balance she strikes between hip-hop and pop.

"That's just who I am. I was a theater major; I studied theater," Nicki Minaj told MTV News. "It's funny because, even with the Grammys, that wasn't the first time I've done theater. Like 'Moment 4 Life,' I did a skit I was pretending to be an old lady, Martha, when I did 'Right Thru Me,' I did a skit. I always try to do that when I have the forum to do it."

Before she took the stage to perform "Roman Holiday" at the 2012 Grammy Awards ceremony, Nicki prefaced her stage show with the "Exorcism of Roman" mini-movie. Her recent theatrics, which have drawn a ton of criticism, aren't a far cry from the skits that appeared in her "Moment 4 Life" and "Right Thru Me" videos.

Nicki may have started out a rapper, but she has grown to be so much more. A number of her recently released songs, which are being used to set up her sophomore Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, have been pop affairs. From the RedOne-produced "Starships" to "Roman Holiday," there will be songs that will exist outside of the canon of traditional hip-hop. However, Nicki's recently released "Roman Reloaded" single featuring Lil Wayne proves that she can still spit bars with the best of them. (After all, she did rank #4 on MTV News' "Hottest MCs in the Game" list.) Still, Nicki insists that she is merely being herself.

"I guess I am pop culture just because what I'm doing seems to be popular. When people want to do what you're doing, it's kinda popular," she reasoned. "I don't ask girls to wear pink hair; they just do it. It's not about black or white; I think it's just a statement. It doesn't matter which color you are; it's just a statement of being fearless."

Being fearless is also about knowing when to cut an interview short. "OK, bye, y'all. Get out of my dressing room," Nicki joked.