Nicki Minaj Announces New Record Label, First Artist Signings

Nicki Minaj is on the hunt for the next big superstar. On the most recent episode of her “Queen Radio podcast, the 40-year-old announced she is launching her own record label:

“There’s a big announcement coming… Well, I have a record label now. I believe so strongly in loyalty, and because I’ve spent my whole life giving to others that turn around and shit on me,” the hip-hop superstar said.

Though she didn’t reveal the label’s official name, Minaj did drop a few artists she’s already signed. Among the cohort include Nana FofieTate KobangRico Danna, and London Hill. A Dutch-Nigerian artist, Minaj said she first discovered Fofie thanks to mashups posted to YouTube. Fofie joined Minaj on “Queen Radio” for the news, and in her praise for the rising star, Minaj called the “Selling Dreams” singer’s voice “effortless.”

“Because I thought they were her songs and then the Nigerians came on my comments after and said ‘That’s Davido!’ I said, ‘Okay, Nigeria.’ I’ve been obsessed with you for a very long time. And I always promised you when I started … but I didn’t want to, you know, lock you into anything and if I wasn’t ready to do what I needed to do with you, what I think you deserve. You have one of the most beautiful singing voice. One of those effortless, warm voices,” she declared.

It’s been a busy week for the Grammy-nominated musician. Her latest single, “Red Ruby Da Sleeze,” dropped Friday. Minaj spoke on collaborating with Kobang on the song, another artist signed to her label:

“Tate is one of the very best hook writers of the new generation,” she said. “I almost didn’t want to tell people that, you know, I was affiliated with him because I don’t want that to affect his business. But he’s an artist, and that’s him on that hook. He wrote that hook.”

You don’t become the Queen of Rap without a little help along the way, and as she prepared to mentor these new artists, Minaj thanked Lil Wayne in the same breath — Minaj got her start as a member of Weezy’s Young Money Entertainment label, her first major contract after being discovered by the “A Milli” rapper:

“When I came in this game, I didn’t have no paperwork with Lil Wayne, but he had us on tour, he had us in a studio, he was getting on my mixtapes, so I understand the importance of having somebody else doing the heavy lifting for you. I understand why people are coming out and they’re so, you know, microwaveable and they’re here today and gone tomorrow, because there’s no structure,” she said.

“There’s no real person that believes in them. That’s like, ‘Nah, I’m gonna make it my business to see you shine.’ That’s why I never wanted to do a label before because I said to myself … unless I’m ready to really put these artists on I’m not gonna ruin anyone’s life.”

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