New Nicki Minaj Album Out in Early 2012, Says Birdman

Nicki Minaj - MTV Video Music Awards - Show - P - 2011
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The singer is "back in the studio" and "we're looking to drop" the sophomore effort "in the first quarter," the Cash Money co-CEO and founder revealed.

NEW YORK -- While Drake's sophomore album is on track for a huge first sales week, his Young Money partner-in-crime, Nicki Minaj, may be releasing her second full-length sooner than expected.

Cash Money co-CEO and founder Brian "Birdman" Williams tells that Minaj, whose debut album Pink Friday was released last November, is aiming to have her still-untitled sophomore album out in early 2012. "Nicki's back in the studio, so we're looking to drop Nicki in the first quarter," he says.

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Meanwhile, the album's first single could be released to the masses before the calendar rolls around. "Maybe this year? I don't know," says Birdman. "We're really thinking it out. But she's in the studio, and we're looking real soon, because she's ready to go and we're ready to go with her."

As Minaj preps her sophomore album, Drake will continue promoting Take Care, which is projected to sell close to 700,000 copies in its first week. Birdman says that the rapper will film a music video for "The Motto," a bonus track featuring Lil Wayne, next week, while clips for "Make Me Proud" (featuring Minaj) and the Rihanna-assisted title track are likely on the way as well. A video for "Make Me Proud," which Drake and Minaj performed on Saturday Night Live last month, would be a music video reunion for the rappers after Drake was featured in her "Moment 4 Life" video earlier this year.

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Now that Take Care has finally been released after months of meticulous work, what is Drake feeling? "Just relief," says Birdman. "Drake put a lot on his shoulders when he was finishing his album and … I think Drake deserves everything he's getting. He's the future of music, to me. And he's gonna get bigger and better. I think Drake's gonna be the one to break a lot of barriers with sales. It's just his second album -- I could see him doing a million-plus his first week in the future. It's gonna be incredible, and we're just gonna have to wait and see."