'Barbershop' Star Talks Nicki Minaj & Tyga

by Taylor Ferber

You know Tyga as the "Rack City" innovator, Kylie Jenner-worshipper and... gang leader? Well, not in real life, but the 26-year-old is definitely up to some shady business in Barbershop: The Next Cut . Joining him is Nicki Minaj, the exemplar twerk queen who gets herself a pair of scissors and unmatchable attitude (wait, she's always had that) for the silver screen. Not sure how to feel about Tyga's baby face playing a big, bad gang boss? Or about Nicki with those shears? Luckily, Barbershop vet Eve is here to help sort these feelings.

Most of the time, we see Tyga in the form of a big pile of puppy love in the presence of King Kylie. In this flick, though, he gears up to play Yummy, the leader of a gang trying to corrupt Calvin's (Ice Cube) young son. We asked Tyga's co-star Eve about her reaction to the casting and she laughed. "Hilarious," she said. But how does she really feel? Can Tyga hack it as a gang leader? "I don’t know!," she tells us. "Because when they said they were getting Tyga I was like, ‘Really?’ I don’t know, he’s too cute. But it works!"

It does, does it? So much so that she would trust Tyga as the leader? "I would not, no. I don’t know! That’s the funny thing," she says. "I guess [his cuteness] is what makes it kind of menacing, it makes you like, ‘Oh shit. OK. Pretty boy, but he might kill me.’"

In short: Don't screw with T-Raww.

Barbershop continues to showcase rappers who take a stab at the acting game, and actually hit the mark. Miss Minaj is no exception. "[Nicki] was so good, honestly. We were surprised in a good way at the first table read. She came that first day and killed it," says Eve. "We were like, ‘Oh my god, this is gonna be great.’ ‘Cause you don’t know. But it happened to me as well. I’m sure it happened to Cube, I’m sure it happened to every rapper that tries to go act. I’m sure at first everyone’s like, ‘Uh oh, what are they trying to do?’ And she killed it."

That she did.

But if it wasn't for Eve's upbringing in the streets of Philadelphia, Tyga and Nicki wouldn't have her as a co-star or rapper-turned-actor to look up to. While the film addresses city violence head-on, Eve recalls her encounters with it, and she reflects on how it allowed her to stand beside these other talents:

I grew up in the hood, in the projects. I saw a lot of stuff. Guns being passed, a lot of drugs, a lot of violence. That was my reality. I remember lots of moments that as a child, you probably shouldn’t know about. [Like] what a gun looks like... It was my life and I wouldn’t change it. I would never go back and be like, "Oh, I wish I didn’t grow up there." I’m happy I grew up there. I wouldn’t be me, I wouldn’t be here. All of that made this and made me who I am. It also made me be able to be in a difficult industry ‘cause I had to go through so many things.

And here she is, paving the way for future rappers headed to the big screen, slaying one role at a time.

Images: Getty, Tumblr