The "Starships" rapper joins James Corden for a deep dive into her song catalog, while showing off her skills on clarinet, writing a freestyle rap and talking about how her son helps her cope.
It's been a long time coming, but with Covid restrictions loosening around the nation, James Corden finally brought back his most popular "Late Late Show" feature after two years. And who better to help him get to work in the latest "Carpool Karaoke" than the queen of rap, Nicki Minaj.
A nice, meaty segment, Nicki and James were clearly taking the long way to CBS Studios, but that gave us plenty of time to enjoy a tour through the rapper's extensive catalog of hit records.
Even better, it gave us the chance to see James drop a beat. "I never felt that white in my life," he joked after he played beatbox to Nicki writing a freestyle rap about ... well, riding in a car with James.
"On the white scale, it wasn't that white," she told him. But he turned the tables, putting her on the spot by bringing back her musical origins as a clarinet player. She clearly hasn't stayed as connected with her childhood instrument as Terry Crews with his flute, but Nicki was still able to play a recognizable and iconic tune.
But it was in the music that they duo really excelled, with Nicki bringing all of her character and pizzazz and confidence to bear with these performances. A lot of James' passengers sing along, but Nicki was performing these tracks like this was her stage.
That could be why it came as such a surprise when Nicki revealed that she sometimes struggles with a lack of confidence, since it seems to fly in the face of her public persona, and especially her performing persona.
As it turns out, that lack of confidence has actually come because of her success. Rather than growing with confidence as she's achieved stardom and professional accolades and financial freedom, it's been the opposite.
"I think when I was younger probably my more natural state was to be more confident, but I think when you are a woman and you’re in the public eye all the time, you-- if you’re not careful, you can become less confident because you’re being constantly scrutinized," she told James.
"When I first came into the industry, I had this amazing sense of freedom because nobody gave a shit about what I was doing. Like, I could get away with doing anything. Everyone was like, 'Oh, haha, Nicki Minaj,'" she continued. "And then, it goes from that to the complete opposite where it’s like if I blink my eye wrong they’ll have a story made up about why I blinked my eye that way."
When James asked how she's learned to protect herself from that public scrutiny, Nicki echoed what a lot of other famous women have said.
"I am off of social media and I take that shit off my phone," she told him. "I have just this enormous sense of peace. And then, you realize what really matters. The things that you think about, or would worry about, they’re like, who cares, you know?"
The other thing that helps her is her son. There is no better salve for whatever the world throws at you next than the love a parent has for their child. "I don’t care what could be going on, what text just came through my phone or what I just saw on the internet, when I look at my son, I’m like just magically in love," Nicki said. "He just makes me laugh, makes me smile, makes me happy, like, he’s just so cute and cuddly."
Earlier in the video, fans were treated to something else that was incredibly cute, as Nicki performed the "Carpool Karaoke" version of a TikTok Duet alongside Adele's take on her "Monster" verse -- which Adele actually dropped on a previous installment.
The rapper also offered to help James take care of his "opps," after having to explain to him just what exactly that means. "James, if you’re gonna hang out with me, you have to at least know the lingo," she laughed. You can check it all out in the video above.
Nicki clearly loved her appearance, posting on Instagram a clip of the show, writing: "LinkInBio 🎀 Over a million views on Youtube & trending #2. WTF⁉️⁉️⁉️ Lol. Thx for watching y’all‼️‼️😘💋♥️😝 ".
"💥 The EXTENDED clip is now in my BIO to see everything; including what didn’t make it to 📺 💕🎀💕 ," she continued, then added, "What was your favorite part of #CarpoolKaraoke with @j_corden on #CBS last night⁉️⁉️⁉️⁉️ what was your fave part? 💋 What surprised you the most? 💋 What were you wishing I performed but didn't? 💋 ".
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