Nicki Minaj is still the talk of the town on the heels of Sunday night's Grammy performance, this week releasing a new single from her album and appearing on the cover of New York magazine.
The new song, "Starships," hit the Internet yesterday and finds the Young Money rap queen in pop radio mode. Produced by Red One, the track has an electronic buoyancy and catchy guitar loop that should place it comfortably next to recent hits by Jessie J and Rihanna.
Minaj performed a different song, "Roman Holiday," at the Grammy Awards this past Sunday, and the performance has inspired some harsh criticism and debate ever since. The strange affair involved a Pope look-a-like, a video clip borrowed from The Exorcist, levitation and a dark gospel choir among many other elements that were not easy to follow. Speaking to Ryan Seacrest on his radio show yesterday, Minaj tried to explain some of the meaning of what was going on onstage.
“The religious figure is there because he was called on by Roman’s mom to rehabilitate him,” she said of the fake Pope. “I had this vision for him to be sort of exorcised — or actually he never gets exorcised — but people around him tell him he’s not good enough because he’s not normal, he’s not blending in with the average Joe. And so his mother is scared and the people around him are afraid because they’ve never seen anything like him. He wanted to show that not only is he amazing and he’s sure of himself and confident, but he’s never gonna change, he’s never gonna be exorcised. Even when they throw the holy water on him, he still rises above.”
Minaj said that she initially played a version of the song for Grammy producers in the studio and they became excited for her to perform it on the broadcast.
“The Grammys chose ‘Roman Holiday,’" she revealed. "The producers of the Grammys came to the studio and I played them ‘Roman Holiday,’ and I could not play them another record after they heard that. They went crazy. I could have chosen to do a no-brainer pop song, but I can’t do it anymore. I have to stay true to what I’m doing.”
Nicki also spoke on her other recent high profile performance during the Super Bowl halftime show with Madonna and M.I.A. Echoing Madonna's sentiments about M.I.A.'s controversial decision to give the camera the middle finger, Nicki said that it's not something she would have done.
"I'm a cuckoo lady, too, but I would never be able to do it off the strength of Madonna," Minaj said, adding "I love MIA and I don't want to say anything that is the wrong thing, but me personally, I couldn't see myself doing it, just for the respect for Madonna. I wouldn't want any backlash to come back on Madonna."
Get more Minaj in this week's New York magazine, where Barbie is the cover girl for the spring fashion issue.
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(Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)