Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta star and talent manager Deb Antney recently spoke about managing Nicki Minaj early in the rapper’s career. In a messy little anecdote, the manager also shared details on the extreme efforts Nicki put into hiding her relationship with her then-boyfriend, Safaree Samuels.
As seen in a clip of Deb’s visit to the Drink Champs podcast, the music mogul said that when she was managing Nicki back in the day, she had no idea that the artist and Safaree were even an item at that time. In fact, Deb explained that she actually thought Safaree was possibly one of Nicki’s assistants — and that he played for the other team.
“The craziest sh*t is — I know I really shouldn’t say this but you know, bless my heart — I never knew that her and Safaree were going together. I thought Safaree was a gay guy that she hung out with and he was her helper.”
“Listen, when I was booking her out, she’s like, ‘Deb, I need two rooms.’ But the two rooms wasn’t for him cause she would get dressed in the other room — I didn’t know that they were together. I never knew until he took my car from her, and she told me to lock him up. And he called me, and that’s when he broke down everything. He broke down everything, that they was together for the year — I didn’t know.”
“That was one thing about her,” Deb said about Nicki. “She never gave any inkling that anything was going on with them — like the way she was, I thought he was — God forgive me you know? I thought he was a gay guy that was helping her and he was her hype guy or something. I just never knew anything — but he put his career back for her, and he told me that.”
If you recall, Nicki herself opened up about how she felt it was necessary to keep her then-relationship with Safaree private due to her budding rap career. As she explained back in 2015, “When I came in the business, you couldn’t tell people you were in a relationship, because [the] record company and management said that doesn’t make you appealing to men — ‘So don’t tell people you’re in a relationship,'” she recalled being told.
Regardless, all parties have come a long way from the memories Deb recalled. Both Nicki and Safaree are married with children to separate people — and as far as Deb is concerned, when she isn’t been spilling the tea about the music business, her focus within recent years has been on staying politically active…