Maybe Nicki Minaj — whose alter ego is named Roman Zolanski — should consider yet another nickname: Onika Thurman perhaps? Because the theatrical MC does her best impersonation of Uma Thurman's Bride from in "Kill Bill" in her new "Your Love" video, which premiered Wednesday (July 21) on MTV.
"We wanted to have geisha themes, samurai themes, stuff like that," Minaj told MTV News from the Los Angeles set. "I wanted to tell a love story. It's just kinda liking a guy, where he's not really for you to like — the forbidden fruit — and me and this other girl happen to like him and we go to war."
In the clip, actor Michael Jai White serves as the Young Money MC's sensei and love interest. Decked out in geisha gear, Nicki raps while White teaches a martial arts class. She's soon swooning over her instructor.
Another student, however, also has feelings for the teacher and observes Nicki's smitten ways. The two women exchange words that escalate into all-out battle, à la the Bride and Lucy Liu's Cottonmouth character, leaving one gasping for life as White discovers the body.
The "Your Love" clip was directed by Lil X and follows the Queens rapper's first visual, 'Massive Attack," which was helmed by Hype Williams. The song is also the second single from Minaj's yet-untitled debut, slated to arrive November 23. (The rapper tweeted the date to her followers earlier this month.)
Currently, Nicki Minaj is also enjoying top-five status as a finalist vying for MTV's "Hottest Breakthrough MCs of 2010." She's earned plenty of fans with her over-the-top delivery and facial ticks during her rhymes.
"Nicki Minaj runs hip-hop," M.I.A. said recently. "She works hard, and that's what it is. She's focused, and that's good. She's got really good work ethic."
Nicki Minaj aimed to make noise with her debut single “Massive Attack,” which was produced by Alex Da Kid (Eminem, B.o.B), featured a hook penned by Sean Garrett (Beyoncé) and boasted a Hype Williams-directed video. It didn’t quite connect with the masses, however, despite all the pedigree.
But then “Your Love,” a throwaway number the Queens femcee planned to sit on, was stolen and leaked to the Web. The result? Nicki Minaj became the first solo female hip-hop artist in more than eight years to score a #1 record on Billboard’s rap chart.
“I was not planning on putting the song out at all,” she told MTV News over the weekend on the “Your Love” video set. “But then I heard it one day, somebody told me it was online. And I was like, ‘No way, no way in the world that song is out.’ I went and listened to it and was really upset. It wasn’t mixed, it wasn’t finished, it wasn’t anything — I wasn’t gonna use it at all. But then radio started playing it.”
Soon enough, the record shot up to #1; the last woman to rule the rap charts was Missy Elliott with “Work It.”
“Isn’t that crazy?” Nicki said. “Crazy. I don’t even know how it feels [to have a #1 hit] right now. But it’s amazing.”
In the meantime, the Lil Wayne protégé is still working on her untitled debut album, which she hopes to release by the end of the year. She recently aligned herself with Diddy and is fresh off winning for Best Female Hip-Hop Artist at the BET Awards last month.
According to Nicki, though, she’s still rooted in the spirit of a newcomer and not letting success go to her head.
“Sometimes people see the glitz and the glamour. That’s why they envy you,” Minaj said earlier this year. “They don’t see three, four, five years ago. They don’t see when I was selling my mixtape for $2 on Jamaica Avenue [in Queens]. They don’t see when I couldn’t get New York DJs — I lived in New York my whole life — to even play a song. At the end of the day, it’s all about hard work. You clearly see that hard work; that’s all it takes. If you really want it, direct your energy on positive sh–, and it will happen.”
These days, Lady Gaga will tell anyone who will listen that her new album is 100 percent finished, but that she won't be putting it out until next year.
In fact, earlier this week at the kickoff of the North American leg of her Monster Ball Tour in Montreal, she told her "little monsters" that she's been listening to the new songs before taking the stage, and that she's simplydying to let her fans hear them. Of course, she followed that statement up by unveiling "You and I," a song that had leaked to YouTube a few days earlier, which only further whetted fans' appetites.
With so much brand-new Lady Gaga music so tantalizingly close to being released, we decided to ask LG's fans what they're expecting to hear on the album — and who, if anyone, they would like to see their Mother Monster collaborate with on the record.
We heard a whole lot of the usual suspects — Britney Spears, Katy Perry (though we sort of doubt that will happen anytime soon), Madonna, etc. — but the fans in Montreal also had some rather, uh, less-than-traditional suggestions, some of which would be positively amazing if they every came to fruition.
"I would like to see Marilyn Manson with her," Nicholas Vansorto said. "She has made a remix with him, but I would like to hear a song with Marilyn Manson and Lady Gaga. It would be amazing."
"Nicki Minaj!" Shareejah Daley suggested. "Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga would be crazy."
Of course, there are still those out there who think that Gaga's at her best when she's flying solo — and that's exactly what they want to hear on her new album.
"I know she's not going to work with anybody — she's not going to do any duets," Genevieve Plante said. "I would like if she would continue on the way of 'Telephone,' or 'Dance in the Dark,' 'Bad Romance,' I would love that."
"I want to see her work with no one but herself right now, because Gaga's Gaga," Danik Renaud added. "So there shouldn't be anyone [else] — other than Beyoncé, of course." via mtv.com
The song, which samples "No More 'I Love You's'," a No. 23 Hot 100 hit for Annie Lennox in 1995, is the first Rap Songs No. 1 by a sole lead female artist, and by a female rapper, since Lil' Kim led with "Magic Stick," featuring 50 Cent, for five weeks beginning June 14, 2003.
Minaj is the first female artist unaccompanied by any other act to top Rap Songs since "Work It" by Missy Elliott spent 12 weeks at No. 1 beginning Nov. 2, 2002.