Guest Star: "Nicki Minaj Kept Doing A Bunch Of Weird Sh*t That Just Didn't Look Good"
Monday, Nov 22, 2010 8:10AM
[Flashing Lights: New York City-based photographer Dirty Souf Yankee reveals her private May 2008 photo shoot with Young Money superstar Nicki Minaj before she became "Barbie".]
My photo shoot with Nicki Minaj came from me doing a favor for a friend of mine from Spate Magazine. He had called me at the last minute like "Hey, I can't pay you, but this is a cover shoot and we're shooting this girl Nicki Minaj." I knew who she was but I didn't know too much about her outside of the fact Lil Wayne was co-signing her. So I decided to do it.
I went over to this studio around the Times Square area where the photo shoot was taking place and we were there waiting for her and she didn't show up. So then they had to re-book another studio space in the building because an hour went by and we waited another hour. She still didn't show up. Then there was another booking which had to take place and her camp ended up having to re-book about three or four times during the day and this was the last possible one they could get because the place was closing.
She finally showed up and we had to tell her there wasn't a lot of time since the place was [about to close]. She wasn't ready, she didn't have her hair and make-up done, nothing. So then she had to get ready. By the time she got ready, her and her friends were laughing and at the same time, I was thinking to myself, "D*mn, we were supposed to be doing three looks and we have under an hour to do the shoot." So I kept checking with them saying, "Hey, how's it going? About how much longer before you're ready?"
So she finally comes out of the bathroom half an hour before the place is closing. She comes into the room and it was crazy because I had to work with so many retarded things going on in the place. The lights were crappy, there was only one couch to use as a prop and the room was entirely black. Generally, as a photographer, you want to shoot somewhere that has a white background so the light won't reflect off other colors and that affects how other colors show up in the photo.
When I get to shooting her, at first she was really not feeling comfortable. You could tell it was one of her first photo shoots because her arms were crossed and she had this angry look on her face like, "I'm not feeling this." Me, Nicki, and her friend were the only females in the room. She was unhappy with that and had everybody else get out.
At this point, we only had about 20 minutes to shoot this. So I was trying to be creative. I took a couple shots of her without the props then I decided to use the couch because it was like a white or beige color. So I thought maybe it would work out better right there. She was animated but not the way she is now. She was doing crazy things with her face just to do them. I didn't coach her for any of the photos. She kept doing a bunch of weird sh*t that just didn't look good. It was a slutty look.
Back then, she was very much just like "Hood Nicki." She wasn't doing the whole "Harajuku Barbie" look like she has now. She would have the politically correct face but a controlled "F*ck You" look and she liked to throw up her middle finger a lot and show off her boobs. It was a very sexed up feel. I finally had her on the couch and ended up getting some decent shots. Some of it was cool for that particular look and then I remember my friend saying the look they wanted for the cover was her to be in hair rollers and a net over her head but we didn't have but another 15 minutes. But we had run out of time and couldn't do it.
To make a long story short, Spate Magazine eventually put out the Nicki Minaj cover and I realized they didn't use any of my photos. So I was like, "Y'all went and got another photographer behind my back after you asked me to do this sh*t for free?" I was upset. I told them I had spent the whole day waiting for this girl, clearly they had no concept of time and I was pretty upset and ranting. But they told me her manager Sickamore sent them the shots. That's why these photos came from a never-before-seen shoot because Sickamore went behind my back and got a different photographer for Nicki.
Check out Dirty Souf Yankee's unreleased photos below:
Be sure to check back tomorrow for Flashing Lights' next feature, Derick G, as he discusses his exclusive shoots with the Young Money crew.
Dirty Souf Yankee is an established professional photographer who has published works and taken shots of artists including Vado, Waka Flocka Flame, Travie McCoy, Cory Gunz and more. To check otu Dirty Souf Yankee's works, just click here.