XXL’s in-depth interview with Nicki Minaj for one of their 20th anniversary covers unlocked some valuable gems. The music mogul was asked about her contributions to the hip-hop game, and believes that she helped bring an underrepresented group of entertainers back to the forefront.

“My role in hip-hop has been super unique because when my first album came out, there had been so much time where there wasn’t a female rap album out that went platinum,” she explained. “There wasn’t a big female rap presence right before I got in. So, my role was really reintroducing the female rapper to pop culture.”

Minaj, who cited Eminem, Lauryn Hill, Foxy Brown and rumored flame Nas as some of her biggest influences, also said that she emerged onto the scene at the perfect time.

“I aligned myself with a lot of brands, and I was able to show that a female rapper was able to sell products.”

“I don’t think [female rappers] got that much credit. 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.”

Whether you’re a fan or not, you can’t knock Ms. Minaj’s hustle. From music to fashion to libations to makeup, she’s living proof that you don’t have to be a one-trick pony in any industry. Her versatility in many realms of the entertainment industry has made her one of the most recognizable hip-hop artists in years.

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