Rick Ross deemed her "one of the greatest." Lil Wayne told us she "never fails to amaze me." And even Kanye West — a man who has compared himself to God — admitted that her verse on "Monster" was the best on the entirety of his critically acclaimed My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
But despite all that, it's been a challenge for Nicki Minaj to shed that identity as a female MC.
"I do not see myself as a female rapper anymore, I'm sorry," she told MTV News on Monday. "I see myself as a rapper."
That's why the Young Money MC has ditched the wigs and outlandish costumes and said "hell no" to anything like "Super Bass" or "Starships" on her highly anticipated third studio album. A deliberate from the pop-tinged Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, her latest singles "Chi-Raq" and "Lookin Ass N---a" remind listeners that she is, before anything, one hell of a rapper.
Nicki's proved that several times, and with some of the greatest rappers in the game, including Eminem on "Roman's Revenge," Nas on "Champion," Kanye, Jay Z and Ross on "Monster," and Lil Wayne on a countless number of collaborations.
"I've worked with the greats and I've held my own with the greats and they respect me," she told us while promoting her upcoming film "The Other Woman." "So I should respect myself enough to see myself the same way they see themselves."
But that's not to say Nicki doesn't feel a bit indebted to them — in fact, she thanked them specifically for taking her to "another level," a level where, despite not having released an album in two years, millions of people "still care."
"It wasn't done like that before I came out," she said. "It just wasn't."