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During an interview, Elton John said Nicki Minaj and other rappers inspired the songs from his latest albums. He defended a style of songwriting that Minaj employs. John collaborated with Minaj and Young Thug on one of the songs from the album. John had a strong reaction to working with Young Thug.

Nicki Minaj smiling
Nicki Minaj | Todd Oren/Getty Images for Audi

Elton John said he learned this from Nicki Minaj’s songs

John’s most recent album is called The Lockdown Sessions. It includes collaboration with several artists, including a handful of rappers. Minaj, Young Thug, and Lil Nas X all appear on the album. During an interview with NME, John cited Minaj and other rappers as an influence on The Lockdown Sessions.

John explained what he learned from Minaj and other rappers. “[They take] snippets of things and make them into songs,” he said. “I’m a traditional songwriter but I’m fascinated with the way people write songs now.”
John defended this style of songwriting. “Don’t tell me these things aren’t valid,” he said. “If it’s not your cup of tea, don’t write it off as rubbish. If you don’t understand it, fair enough, but don’t knock it. It’s fantastic stuff.”

Elton John at a piano
Elton John | Jack Robinson/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Elton John was fascinated by Young Thug’s contribution to his Nicki Minaj collaboration ‘Always Love You’

John worked with Minaj and Young Thug on a song from The Lockdown Sessions called “Always Love You.” During an interview with Billboard, John said he believed that rap music is at its best when it has a melody. He enjoyed the experience of working with Young Thug on “Always Love You,” which, notably, is a rap song with a melody.
John was “just blown away” by Young Thug.

“I mean, I’ve seen Marshall [Mathers] do it in Detroit, but I’ve never seen someone like Thug come in and do that,” John said. “In the end, I had to leave because I think he felt a bit intimidated that I was there and I just wanted him to relax. But it’s just an amazing moment in my musical life. I have no understanding of how rap records are put together and it’s fascinating to watch.”

Young Thug with a microphone
Young Thug | Andrew Chin/Getty Images

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The way the world reacted to ‘The Lockdown Sessions’

John, Minaj, and Young Thug did not release “Always Love You” as a single. It did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100. The Lockdown Sessions was a hit. It reached No. 10 on the Billboard 200, staying on the chart for eight weeks.

The Official Charts Company reports “Always Love You” did not chart in the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, The Lockdown Sessions reached No. 1 in the U.K., staying on the chart for eight weeks. “Always Love You” wasn’t a hit, but it was an interesting example of John working with a younger artist who inspired him.