Nicki Minaj plans to release her next studio album sometime soon, but so far, she’s been secretive about when exactly her fans should expect it. Last month, she told Dazed, “I’ve made it my business with this album to not even put a date or a deadline on it… I can’t say if I’m fifty-per-cent, eighty-per-cent or ten-per-cent done, because I don’t know. Tomorrow, I might walk into the studio and decide that I don’t like anything I’ve done in the last six months. Or, tomorrow I might walk in and feel like the whole album is done. There’s so much beauty in not knowing.”

Even if she has yet to announce a release date, Minaj knows how to get her fans excited about her latest project. She’s on the cover of the next issue of the New York TimesT Magazine, and author Roxane Gay interviewed her about the highly-anticipated album. Minaj hasn’t revealed the title yet, but she told Gay that it’s “super, super iconic.” (Of course it is. This is Nicki MInaj we’re talking about.)

Minaj says the album is going to mean a lot to her fans, explaining, “This album is everything in my life coming full circle and me being truly, genuinely happy. It feels almost like a celebration. The last album, The Pink Print, was almost like my diary, closing the chapter on certain things and not knowing if I was happy or sad about beginning new chapters. I was really writing about feeling unsure. Now, I can tell you guys what happened for the last two years of my life. I know who I am. I am getting Nicki Minaj figured out with this album and I’m loving her.”

The record-setting rapper was photographed by French fashion photographer Patrick Demarchelier for the issue, and she looks just as comfortable modeling designer clothes as she does posing in skintight vinyl outfits on Instagram.

In the New York Times interview, Minaj talks about the hurdles she had to overcome to get where she is in her career. On her new album, she focused on being herself, because she misses the freedom she felt back when she was making mixtapes. She said, “I wanted to get back to the place where I wasn’t second-guessing things so much. Sometimes simple is O.K.”

We still don’t know when Minaj’s fourth album is coming, but it sounds like whenever it gets here, it’ll be worth the wait.

#nickiminaj @nickiminaj for T Magazine @tmagazine Stylist #marieameliesauve Makeup @patmcgrathreal Hair #Tokyo

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Minaj also shared a few behind-the-scenes pics from the shoot on her own Instagram:

Behind the scenes. After the shoot with the legendary Patrick 😍

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