Rap vet Sandy 'Pepa' Denton, is weighing in on budding femcee, Nicki Minaj, and how the Harajuku Barbie will have to balance her racy lyrics and being a role model Pepa, who is one half of the female hip-hop duo Salt 'N' Pepa, has had her share of controversy based on her sexually explicit lyrics, but thinks Minaj's style is reminiscent of another female rapper.
"She reminds me of [Lil Kim]." Pepa said. "Bold and you know ... she's young and a lot of people are like 'oh what do you feel about her because of the message?' but to me she hasn't learned the message yet. Not everyone's role model material, but we do have a sense of responsibility because kids listen more to us than they would their parents. But [Nicki's] young, so how's she gonna enlighten?"
She went on to theorize that Minaj's affiliation with the male dominated Young Money crew has a lot to do with the kind of artist that she is. "She's new, she's excited and what happens when you have a male camp backing you? Yeah, you might be singing those kinds of lyrics," she explained. "That's what happens when you have a male camp dictating how you should be. I'm not mad at Nicki. I think she's talented. I love her style. She has a lot of attitude, she has a lot of things she wants to express so I wouldn't be mad at that. I was there at that age, so I don't expect her to be like 'oh let me start being this way.' This is what she's feelin."
Bursting onto the music scene in 1985, Pep and her partners Cheryl 'Salt'Wray and DJ Spinderella, were not shy about female sexual expression. Dropping hits like 'Push It,' and 'Shoop' the group also touched on the growing AIDS epidemic and promoted safe sex with 1991's 'Let's Talk About Sex.'
Although it remains to be seen just what Minaj's music legacy will be, it's clear that her popularity is growing at an unstoppable rate. She has appeared on tracks with Usher, Mariah Carey and Robin Thicke and recently hired Sean "Diddy" Combs as her manager. Her debut album is set to drop later this year.