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um, yeah." When she was younger, she remembers "listening to Biggie talking about Versace. We wanna hear what jeans Jay-Z will tell us to wear this year--that's hot."Being an acting student at La Guardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts (the "Fame school") really opened her mind.
"I saw gay kids, I saw white kids, I saw grunge and pink hair and piercings," she recalls.
My hairdresser was curling one side and using a clip to hold my hair.
I was like, 'Leave it.' They all looked at me like I was insane -- but that's something I do.
But her 2009 mixtape, Beam Me Up Scotty, is Minaj 101.
On "Still I Rise," she waxes Eminem-like on a more Elton John-like subject: "And I only stop for pedestrians, or real real bad lesbians." It's lines like these that have made her hip-hop's gayest MC -- a Jay-Z for the drag queens, as it were.
Even as a young girl, Minaj recalls, "I remember having my older cousin keep repeating Slick Rick's 'Children's Story' so I could learn it.
I wanted to know Left Eye's rap on 'Waterfalls.' When Jay-Z rapped about 'calling an audible,' I knew what he meant. We're talking about our hood, but you can be intelligent and witty with it, you can do whatever.
I really just wanted to be diverse."School also taught her the power of language.She recalls a particularly revelatory assignment reading Othello. And the second line was, 'Iago, who done it' -- question mark. 'Tis monstrous Iago who done it," which basically gives the story away.