Nicki Minaj ditched her signature pink wigs for the February / March 2012 cover of Vibe in favor of fiery orange curls and a tiara. Heavy is the head that wears the hip-hop crown, but Minaj does it effortlessly. She is the undisputed queen of hip-hop in 2012.
Minaj is also largely covered up in this image, wearing a silver and white, flowy and sheer tunic-type top. A queen can't flash her assets all the time, can she? One must maintain a regal air, and Minaj does that, adding spice courtesy of those aglow curls. The result is gorgeous and it's another colorful image of Minaj ingrained in our brains. Turns out, it's all a part of her grand master plan.

In the accompanying feature, Minaj said that every mag cover that she appears on is personally designed and defined. "I’ve made up my mind that when you see a Nicki Minaj magazine cover from now on, it’s really going to reflect me and it’s going to be something that I creatively had a hand in." That artistic autonomy and freedom is something that she fought for and earned, as you will soon find out.

Minaj also spoke about the not-so-fun process of recording her successful debut 'Pink Friday,' admitting, "I felt like I had something to prove to everyone who said a female rapper could not make an album unless she was talking about her p----. And so I went above and beyond to prove that I could not talk about sex and not talk about my genitalia and still have a successful album. And I proved that."

With that goal accomplished, the 'Super Bass' singer can move forward and forget the naysayers. She continued, "Now my time for proving things to my critics is over. I don’t really need to prove anything to anyone else anymore."

One of the reasons that Minaj has stood out, besides her talent, is her outrageous, head-turning fashion sense. She bursts into a room swathed in bright colors and always looks on the cutting edge. Fashion mags and houses were dying to dress her as her fame grew and despite all that recognition from another arm of culture, she stayed true to who she is.

"I realized more recently that even if it’s for a fashion magazine, I’m not gonna change who I am," Minaj said. "When I was doing photo shoots last year, I kept on being told, 'This is what we want your hair to look like and this is what we want you to look like,' and it really, really stifled my creativity."

She continued, "The other day I was talking to a photographer, and he said, 'You know what, I like your everyday looks so much better than when you do photo shoots for magazines.' And I was like, 'So do I, you’re absolutely right.' I’d been getting more and more frustrated for a while."

Minaj's credo -- when it comes to how she fits into the often snooty and high-brow fashion world -- is simple and similar to her magazine cover philosophy. She said," The fashion world will have to come to Nicki Minaj, as opposed to Nicki Minaj trying to go to the fashion world."

Amen, sister!