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Lil Wayne has paid tribute to former protege Nicki Minaj in a glowing essay for TIME Magazine.

Nicki, 33, has been named one of the magazine’s 2016 TIME 100 Most Influential People, in the ‘Icon’ category.

The Grammy award-winning artist described how he first met Nicki, real name Onika Tanya Maraj, on a DVD compilation of rappers he was on too.

“You know, in New York they used to have these street DVDs. It just so happened that I appeared in one, and when I looked at the finished product, Nicki Minaj was on a part of the DVD,” he remembers. “I was like, ‘Woooooow!’ She was just being Nicki without the glitz and glamour.

“When I heard the first two and four bars, it wasn’t even about her rapping better than any female rapper. It was about, man, she’s rapping better than other rappers – period,” he wrote.

Nicki’s star didn’t take long to rise, and after spotting her potential, Wayne, aka Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr, signed her to his record label Young Money Entertainment in 2009. But even he is shocked by the star’s success to date.

“She’s reached far beyond everything I would have imagined. Man, she’s so influential and doing all the right things. She’s an icon, a boss and a role model to all these young girls out here on how to do it the right way.

“Her work ethic speaks volumes and has yielded these results,” he shared.

Nicki is the only female artist to make an appearance on Forbes Hip Hop Cash Kings list. She made her first appearance on the list in 2011, after earning $6.5 million (£4.5million) between May 2010 – 2011. By 2013 she had risen to fourth position on the list in 2013, with earnings of $29 million (£20million) in the previous 12 months.

Yet despite her success to date, Wayne is sure the best is still to come for Nicki who is yet to win a Grammy award despite ten prior nominations.

“The scary thing is she’s still going. Ha! Nicki Minaj will go down as one of the best to do it in the history of music.”

April 21, 2016
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