Nicki Minaj has long called Lil Wayne her mentor and credited the rapper with discovering her back in 2009, when Lil Wayne signed Minaj to Young Money Entertainment. The two have had a well-documented friendship and working relationship, and in TIME magazine’s annual list of 100 Most Influential People, Wayne writes a beautiful essay about Minaj’s impact as an icon.
“When I heard the first two and four bars, it wasn’t even about her rapping better than any female rapper,” he wrote. “It was about, man, she’s rapping better than other rappers — period.”
Wayne continued, “She’s an icon, a boss and a role model to all these young girls out here on how to do it the right way. Her work ethic speaks volumes and has yielded these results. The scary thing is she’s still going. Ha! Nicki Minaj will go down as one of the best to do it in the history of music.”
Minaj most recently released The Pinkprint in 2014 and toured extensively with the album in 2015. During her stop at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center last July she brought out Wayne. At the time she shouted him out and said, “I think you are the greatest rapper alive. Thank you for changing my life.” He turned the sentiment back around and said, “I would agree with her, but there is a certain person by the name of Nicki Minaj who is kicking my ass.”
In December, EW also named Minaj one of our Entertainers of the Year, and when asked how she surprised herself most in 2015, she said, “I got a little bit more centered.”
See Wayne’s full essay on Minaj over at TIME.