BLACK VOICES
02/10/2012 02:02 pm ET Updated Apr 11, 2012

Nicki Minaj Covers Paper Magazine Spring Fashion Issue, Talks Style Icons And New Album (PHOTOS)

Excuse us for a moment as we pickup our jaw.

We can't believe how fabulous, fresh-faced and flawless Nicki Minaj looks on the cover of PAPER magazine's Spring fashion issue.

The vibrant pastel dress and blazer are far from the silly, over-the-top, costume attire we're used to seeing on Minaj. The "Super Bass" rapper looks, well, normal--aside from her brightly hued signature wigs.

We love this new pared-down Minaj. Don't you?

Simon Doonan, creative ambassador-at-large of Barneys New York, chatted with Minaj for the issue. Here are a few highlights from their convo...

On sitting next to Anna Wintour at the Carolina Herrera fashion show in September:

"Yes! I was screaming out loud inside my head. Me sitting next to the Queen of Vogue! It was such a strange experience. I felt like I was dreaming. And I thought she would be snobby or something. But she was so incredibly sweet to me."

On her style icons:

"Grace Jones definitely. So amazing. And Cyndi Lauper, I loved her right from when I was a little girl. And Janet Jackson of course. And Boy George. I always loved the way he dressed, and his music too."
On her new album:

"The album is like a collage of all my emotions. I am not sticking to any particular style. I am doing what I feel without restrictions. So it's very free and very me."

The issue hits stands February 20th. In the meantime, check out the beautifully shot feature in the slideshow below.

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