Nicki Minaj is considered one of the greatest female rappers of all time after breaking through the male-dominated hip-hop scene with her wordplay, sexual magnetism and perseverance. But despite earning 10 Grammy nominations, selling millions of records and scoring a UK number single, she is still fighting to be respected.
Speaking to Bad Feminist author Roxanne Gay for The New York Times' T Magazine, the 34-year-old cover star revealed that climbing the ranks was no easy feat. "I had so much going against me in the beginning: being black, being a woman, being a female rapper," she said of her challenges.
"No matter how many times I get on a track with everyone's favourite MC and hold my own, the culture never seems to want to give me my props as an MC, as a lyricist, as a writer."
Back in July, Minaj celebrated the 10-year anniversary of her debut mixtape Playtime Is Over, which put her on the map and gave the likes of Remy Ma and Lil Kim a run for their money.
"I got to prove myself a hundred times, whereas the guys that came in around the same time as I did, they were given the titles so much quicker without anybody second-guessing."
In September reality star-turned-rapper Cardi B made history as the second solo female rapper to hit No. 1 on the Billboard singles chart with her hit Bodak Yellow. Many fans couldn't understand why Minaj never managed the impressive feat, but rather than rise to the bait she chose to congratulate Cardi instead.
Despite the constant scrutiny and pressure to stay ahead of her game, Minaj says she continues to be driven by her passion. "I believe in my gift wholeheartedly," she said. "Sometimes I wake up and say, 'I don't know if I can do this anymore,' you know? I've had those times. I've had those years where I'm just like, 'Am I good enough?'"
She added: "I kind of love that I've had to go through so many hurdles to get where I am because I feel like I deserve it."
Elsewhere in the interview, the Anaconda hitmaker named Lil Wayne, Jay-Z and Foxy Brown among her greatest inspirations because they "they've influenced me so much. I feel like I'm a part of all of them."