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Nicki Minaj Says She Reintroduced ‘The Female Rapper to Pop Culture’

Nicki Minaj
Robin Marchant, Getty Images

There’s no denying the success of Nicki Minaj in hip-hop, and the rapper knows she’s played a big part in the reintroduction of women rappers to the mainstream. During an interview with XXL in honor of its 20th anniversary, Minaj reflected on her career and the impact she has had.

According to Minaj, she broke into the scene during a time where there “wasn’t a big female rap presence.” The rapper added, “So, my role was reintroducing the female rapper to pop culture.”

Nicki says she was able to do this by aligning herself with “a lot of brands” and showing that female rappers can sell products.

“Whether it was the makeup, the lipsticks, whether it was the nail polish, headphones or anything like that. It just said, ‘You know what? We were overlooking female rappers for a long time.’ I don’t think we got that much credit,” she said. “I think female rappers have always been dope and influential, but I think I sort of came in at a time where big business was paying attention, so I was able to capitalize off of a lot of deals and business ventures.”

The rapper also looked back to her first album, which featured guest verses from Eminem, Kanye West and JAY-Z, and says the MCs all respected her.

“I don’t think that’s ever been done before on a female rap album. For everybody—humongous artists—to sort of cosign them, and give them that stamp of approval,” she said. “I remember every time I wrote a verse to ‘Roman’s Revenge’ and sent it to Eminem, he would send a new verse back. It was competitive. It was fun. I think all the big, male artists also treated me with a sense of respect as an MC. They took me serious. If they were on a track with me, they knew they had to come hard. So, I’m really, super proud of bringing that to the game as a female rapper.”

Check out Nicki’s full interview with XXL below.

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