Kanye West‘s 2010 single “Monster” was the first time many people heard the lyrical stylings of Nicki Minaj. Her guest verse on the song outdid Kanye himself, something he acknowledged as soon as he heard it. According to Kanye’s ex Amber Rose, she was the one responsible for getting Minaj on the track in the first place.
Nicki Minaj’s ‘Monster’ verse was a moment in pop culture
Nicki Minaj was an up-and-coming rapper in the late 2000s when she was discovered by Young Money mogul Lil Wayne. Her talent as a rapper was undeniable — so much so that she re-released her mixtape Beam Me Up Scotty in 2021.
In November 2010, she released her debut album, Pink Friday. The album came out the same day as Kanye West’s iconic album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The album’s third single, “Monster,” was released a month prior.
Minaj burst onto the mainstream music scene thanks to her “Monster” verse. Despite the song also featuring guest rappers Rick Ross and Jay-Z, Kanye himself admitted that Minaj outdid him on his own song.
Amber Rose said she brought Nicki into the studio
At the time “Monster” was recorded, Kanye hadn’t even heard of Nicki. It was his girlfriend at the time, model Amber Rose, who brought her into the studio.
Rose spoke about the guest verse in an interview on the Higher Learning podcast.
“I put Nicki on ‘Monster,'” Rose said. “I put Nicki on ‘Monster.'” He didn’t know who Nicki was back then. I had Nicki pull up to the studio and I put her on ‘Monster.'”
“She was still coming up, and I saw her in the studio and I said, ‘Oh my god, this b**** is f***ing talented as hell,'” she continued. “And then I went back to Kanye and I was like, ‘You need to get this girl Nicki on “Monster.”‘ And he was like, ‘Who? What? No. I’m not… No.’ And I said, ‘Just let her pull up, what’s it going to hurt?’”
Minaj returned with her verse written in 24 hours. “She heard the song and then she came back the next day with the verse,” she said.
Kanye almost cut Nicki’s verse
Kanye was so taken aback by Minaj’s abilities that he considered taking her off the song completely. “He told me that the same day,” Rose recounted. “He’s like, ‘How the f*** did you bring in a b**** that killed me on my own song?’”
Rose herself got a shoutout in Minaj’s verse, as the Queens emcee rapped addressing Kanye, “I wish me, you, and Am could ménage Friday.”
Kanye revealed that he did want to cut Minaj’s verse in a 2013 interview on Sway in the Morning.
“I thought about taking Nicki’s verse off of ‘Monster’ because I knew people would say that was the best verse on the best hip-hop album of all time or arguably top ten albums of all time. And I would do all that work, eight months of work on Dark Fantasy and people to this day would say to me ‘My favorite thing was Nicki Minaj’s verse,'” he admitted. “So if I let my ego get the best of me instead of letting that girl get the shot to get that platform to be all she could be, I would take it off or marginalize her, try to stop her from having that shining moment.”