Nicki Minaj is opening up about a fashion collaboration with Kanye West that never came to be.
Earlier today, Joe Budden released his highly-anticipated interview with the rap queen. At one point during the nearly two-hour conversation, Nicki spoke about her successful partnership with Fendi, which came about following the release of her 2018 single “Chun-Li.”
“‘Chun-Li’ said ‘Fendi prints on’ and that changed everything,” recalled Nicki (50:00 mark). “Once ‘Chun-Li’ came out and I said ‘Fendi prints on,’ all the girls started posting and saying ‘Fendi prints on,’ so Fendi gave me a deal.”
Her 2019 Fendi Prints On collection with the Italian luxury fashion house was an instant hit and sold out. “All of the stuff flew off the shelves,” she added.
After showing how bankable she was with Fendi, Nicki approached Ye about a potential female partnership with Yeezy.
“I told Kanye about that. I was like, ‘Hey look, I’m about to do something and I just wanted to make sure I spoke to you first,’ because you know I have so much respect for him,” she said.
However, the idea never got off the ground because he was concerned with how his then-wife Kim Kardashian would feel if he collaborated with another female celebrity. “He was like, ‘Well, if I did something with you, I think my wife probably wouldn’t love that idea because I should be giving that to my wife instead, if I was doing a female version of the Yeezys or whatever, it probably should go to my wife.’”
While Nicki understood where Ye was coming from, she was also surprised by his response given past comments he made about the fashion industry refusing to give opportunities to influential Black artists.
“Kanye was very vocal about the fashion industry not letting him in at one time,” she said. “So if a Black female who you know has just shown herself to be sellable in that space…I come to you as a Black man that I look up to, I’m doing that because you inspired me because you said the fashion industry didn’t want to let us in even though we’re so influential.”
Nicki said she doesn’t know how Kim actually felt about her pitch. “That’s how [Ye] thought she would feel about it and so it is what it is.”
She decided to share the story as a cautionary tale about supporting your own. “We have to be careful that when we put these things out there and when a door is open that we do figure out a way to have another Black face there in that space,” she said. “That’s why it takes us so long to get into so many things, even though we are the most influential people on the planet.”
Elsewhere in the in-depth interview with Joe Budden, Nicki also gave props to Lil’ Kim while weighing a potential Verzuz battle.