Celebrating their twentieth anniversary, XXL Magazine commemorates the milestone with a special edition featuring “twenty artists at the top of their game” on twenty different covers.
Following Diddy’s wildly quotable interview, Nicki Minaj makes only her second cover appearance with the magazine (she shared the July 2010 cover with Drake). In her sit-down she speaks on helping to bring back a woman’s presence in hip hop, (her debut album, 2010’s Pink Friday, had the second-highest sales week for a woman rapper, only behind — of course — 1998’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill), and more.
“My role in hip-hop has been super unique because when my first album came out, there had been so much time where there wasn’t a female rap album out that went Platinum. There wasn’t a big female rap presence right before I got in. So, my role was reintroducing the female rapper to pop culture. I aligned myself with a lot of brands and I was able to show that a female rapper can sell products. Whether it was the makeup, the lipsticks, whether it was the nail polish, headphones or anything like that. It just said, ‘You know what? We were overlooking female rappers for a long time.’ I don’t think we got that much credit. I think female rappers have always been dope and influential, but I think I sort of came in at a time where big business was paying attention, so I was able to capitalize off of a lot of deals and business ventures.”
The entire interview can be read here. A behind-the-scenes look at the shoot can be seen below.