Nicki Minaj, Leonardo DiCaprio and Lin-Manuel Miranda are among the superstars to grace the cover of TIME’s annual 100 Most Influential People list. The full list includes visionaries in walks of life, from Usain Bolt to Hillary Clinton to Aziz Ansari to Kendrick Lamar.
As always, TIME asked other luminaries to write about the year’s honorees, and Lil Wayne, Nicki’s Young Money boss and early champion, wrote about the rap icon. Read his full text (also found here) below:
“You know, in New York they used to have these street DVDs. It just so happened that I appeared in one, and when I looked at the finished product, Nicki Minaj was on a part of the DVD. I was like, “Woooooow!” She was just being Nicki without the glitz and glamour. When I heard the first two and four bars, it wasn’t even about her rapping better than any female rapper. It was about, man, she’s rapping better than other rappers—period.
“I always wanted more for my artists and saw Nicki’s potential from the first moment I laid eyes on her. She’s reached far beyond everything I would have imagined. Man, she’s so influential and doing all the right things. She’s an icon, a boss and a role model to all these young girls out here on how to do it the right way. Her work ethic speaks volumes and has yielded these results. The scary thing is she’s still going. Ha! Nicki Minaj will go down as one of the best to do it in the history of music.”
Worth noting: all of the current U.S. presidential candidates made the TIME 100… except for John Kasich. Sorry, Johnny K., but at least you’ll always have Ohio.