In every category you’re nominated you are the sole female against an ocean of men. Respect. What would winning the Grammy Award mean to you personally?
Thank you. Winning a Grammy would inspire women to continue to rap and write and to never give up. I’ve put so many years into this culture that I often feel is overlooked. Prior to my three albums, I put out three mixtapes, which also changed the game for women in rap. I would literally sit in a room for days and write, and my sole purpose was to be better than the boys and to prove that women are just as smart, creative, witty, business-savvy, etc. I never really felt that male rappers saw us as their equals. I was determined to change that.
What connects you to a song that makes you feel, “This one is special?”
I love feeling like a song is ripped out of a page in my diary. The intro to The Pinkprint feels like that to me: a song called “All Things Go.” It takes me away to a dark yet hopeful place—a secret place. Whenever I bare my soul on a song, I feel like it’s special. Those records don’t usually become singles, but they are the heart of the album. Songs like that and “I Lied,” “The Crying Game” and “Grand Piano.” If Adele were to sing “Grand Piano,” a lot more people would listen to it and be able to understand the significance of it. They’d really be able to understand the heartbreaking story that so many of us deal with in relationships.
When you first started collaborating with Wayne and Drake, what surprised you the most about their process?
Well, I loved the fact that Wayne didn’t write his lyrics down—he just memorized them. In the studio, he’d stress the importance of me writing my verses quicker than I’d become accustomed to. So it made me better and more confident. With Drake, he spent a lot of time narrowing down the actual beat he wanted to rap on. It was great for a young artist to pay attention to that.
Does the beat decide the rhyme, or are you coming with a concept regardless of how the music sounds?
I think the beat writes the entire song.
In making The Pinkprint, what came easily and what was the hardest to deal with?
The easy part was the desire to give the people new music. So I enjoyed going to the studio and creating every day. I would get lost in the music. I would be excited just thinking about how my fans would react to certain records. The hard part was telling my truth. Once you bare your soul, you feel very vulnerable. Especially when you’re used to being private. But I really felt the need to document this period of my life and to create my own “pink print.” I literally cried in the booth and cried while writing; but it’s my favorite album to date.
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