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Before Nicki Minaj signed on as an American Idol judge, she counseled with a number of people — including Lil’ Wayne and Mike Darnell, Fox’s president of alternative programming. According to a new cover story about the show in the Hollywood Reporter, Nicki had fears that the show might make her “too famous” — which might all but further alienate her among select members of the rap community. Yes, I know she’s recorded “Super Bass” and a bunch of other Kid Bopz-approved pop songs that already did that for her, but you know, she has a right to her concerns.

Obviously, Nicki changed her mind and here’s a breakdown on why she signed on:

“I had a lot of talks with people — my family, my best friends, my label, Lil Wayne, management and then the producers,” she says. In the end, it was Darnell who helped sway her. Adds the 30-year-old: “He was so lovable and made me feel so comfortable and confident. He kept saying, ‘I promise we’re going to protect you; you’re going to love it, we’re a big family.’ “

Among Minaj’s concerns: her cred in the rap world, for one. As an artist signed to Cash Money Records — home to her mentor Lil Wayne, Drake, Jay Sean and DJ Khaled and a label that has sold more than 78 million albums since its founding in 1991 — she points to “a judgmental culture in hip-hop,” where “sometimes you are afraid of being too famous because it’s almost, like, is that even cool? Being that accessible, someone you see on TV every week? I never pictured myself as that type of person. I’m still surprised that I decided to do it.”

Now has for that fight between she and Mariah Carey, only Mimi would discuss it:

When asked about the exchange, Carey says she has “yet to figure out” why the situation escalated as it did. “Sometimes things get heated for their own reasons,” she evades, adding, “I don’t think the panel has an issue.” Minaj flat-out refuses to discuss it.

One note about Minaj on set, though:

(But it must be said that, according to Idol staffers, Minaj has been late to the set every day.)

You can read the story in full over at The Hollywood Reporter.


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Nicki Minaj Originally Worried That “Idol” Might Make Her “Too Famous”  was originally published on