Kanye West has been a prominent figure in fashion for a long time. Akin to rappers such as Pharrell Williams and A$AP Rocky, West played a massive part in bridging the gap between hip-hop and high fashion. However, when he released his Yeezy trainer and offered a partnership to Nicki Minaj, the Chicago native oddly retracted his offer last minute.
The two icons have collaborated previously, and both have substantial worldwide fanbases. However, West couldn’t maintain his original offer primarily because of his ex-wife, Kim Kardashian.
In 2010, Kanye and Nicki collaborated on the track ‘Monster,’ a single that featured on West’s project My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The song cemented Nicki’s place in hip-hop as she out-rapped Rick Ross and Jay-Z. That year, Nicki Minaj also released her debut album, Pink Friday, which many still consider a modern classic and the conception of Nicki Minaj as a world-renowned superstar.
As such, naturally, many assumed that Minaj (real name Onika Maraj), after Kanye’s original offer, the two would get to work developing a collaborative Yeezy model. However, the Graduation creator ended up retracting his offer.
In a 2022 interview with Joe Budden, Minaj disclosed why West denied her the opportunity to have her own Yeezy model, revealing, “He was like, ‘Well, if I did something with you, I think my wife [Kim Kardashian] probably wouldn’t love that idea because I should be giving that to my wife instead.”
She continued, “[Kanye was like] ‘If I was doing a female version of the Yeezys or whatever, it probably should go to my wife.'” But Maraj was confused as she had “just shown herself to be sellable in that space” after her Fendi partnership. She then proceeded to insinuate that after fighting so hard to get himself in the fashion houses as an African-American, it was a bit silly to deny a black female the chance to provide even more representation.
You can listen to the interview in its entirety below.