Why Nicki Minaj Modeled Her Career After Jay Z

If you're seeking a long, illustrious career and the keys to building an empire, Hov is the standard.

If you’ve ever doubted Nicki Minaj, you might want to reconsider.

According to Forbes, she’s the sixth highest grossing act in hip-hop (and the only woman). While Minaj began her career by releasing a handful of mixtapes, in no time she experienced a meteoric rise to fame, signing to Cash Money Records in 2009, and releasing her breakthrough single “Your Love” in 2010.

Indeed, she’s carved out her own lane in rap, and regularly goes toe-to-toe with men, without so much as breaking a sweat. In my eyes, that’s grounds for GOAT-level status.

In a new interview with Marie Claire, the Queen of Rap shared one of the secrets to her business savvy:

"I don't need to read a book about [business]. I can look at someone's career and just pinpoint the dos and the don'ts, and the one person I've done that with for my entire career was Jay Z. He did such a great job being an authentic street guy and a businessman, and I was like, 'Why aren't there women doing that, taking the success from rap and channeling it into their empire?' I felt like anything he could do, I could do."

Taking cues from someone as successful as Jay Z is a no-brainer for anyone, really (on that same Forbes list, Jay Z is the second most profitable act). Hov has had a long, illustrious career, and if Minaj is using him as an example, we should expect her to be around for just as long. But in order for Minaj to truly make it, to have become a global superstar, she also needed to possess an inordinate amount of irrational confidence. Jay Z has that characteristic in spades, but it cannot be taught or merely mimicked.

How does that famous Jay Z lyric go? “I'm not a businessman; I'm a business, man!”


By Tara Mahadevan. Follow her on Twitter.


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