"It’s the first time in my life I’ve ever been single," she tellsELLE magazine's July issue. "I remember feeling like I could do anything at one time in my life and somewhere along the line, I just started second guessing myself for whatever reason."
The publication notes that this is the first time the 35-year-old rapper has been single since she was 15. "As soon as I realized that I could actually live and breathe, and eat and sleep, and walk and talk, without having a boyfriend, something clicked in me," she continues.
Minaj, who was most recently in a relationship with Meek Mill, says she has learned a lot from being on her own.
"Becoming single was one of the things that made me feel strong and powerful," she says. "The fact that I am a young woman who doesn’t need a man for money. I don’t need a man for a job. I’ve never had to f**k for beats. I’ve never had to f**k for a record deal. I don’t have those pressures. I get up when I want, shop when I want."
Minaj's upcoming album, her first in four years, is appropriately titled Queen, and the Egyptian-themed cover features the rapper nearly nude and lying on a branch against an orange background. In a recent tweet, she called Queen"my greatest work to date."
"I really think it’s gonna be the best album of the year," she tells ELLE of her album, due out August 10. "I went through a moment where I got to know myself again, and then I went through a moment where I got to know myself as the rapper again. And then I locked [myself] in the studio and I didn’t want to leave. Spiritually, I’ve experienced more growth in the last six months of my life, of my career, than I have in the last eight years."
The "Chun-Li" artist also opens up about her sexuality. "I love being sexy; I’m never gonna stop being an exhibitionist," she admits before adding that she also believes in "it being OK to keep your legs closed."
"Maybe I was naïve, but I didn’t realize how many girls were modern-day prostitutes," she explains. "Whether you’re a stripper, or whether you’re an Instagram girl — these girls are so beautiful and they have so much to offer. But I started finding out that you give them a couple thousand dollars, and you can have sex with them. I was like, 'Yikes.' It’s just sad that they don’t know their worth. It makes me sad as a woman. And it makes me sad that maybe I’ve contributed to that in some way."
Continuing to share her point of view, Minaj says she'd rather women "be called snobby or a b**ch or conceited" rather than they be called "easy, and a ho and a sl**."
Minja fired back with some flirting of her own, writing: "Babe, I thought we were gonna keep it on the low 'til the wedding. Yikes. I'll talk to you when I get home."
Nicki Minaj's sexiest Instagrams of 2017
Nicki Minaj's sexiest Instagrams of 2017
🎀She see my sexy ass every time she scroll🎀🦄
I took the price & lift dat btch up 😜🔥
Get the look from my Dazed Mag cover shot by Steven Klein now! @hm sexy AFFFFFF 😜🤪
I hate the internet 😭 #DamnGina
Wanna Minaj? @papermagazine 🧐👅 photos by @ellenvonunwerth #BreakTheInternet edition
Cookin up dat base. Lookin like a kilo. He just want a taste. Biggin up my ego.
Barbie® in @alexanderwangny - my baby Alex nailed the design of this entire get up. Obsessed. NEW YORK!!!
When ya date is mad cute too 😍 @alexanderwangny head to toe. Makeup by @officialsheiks Hair by @kimblehaircare Styled by ONIKA 🤷🏽♀️
Malibu Barbie® 🎀 Oh hey @prettylittlething 🎀
We slept on the same tour bus, performing 2 mins each on Wayne’s tour every night. You always gave me the best advice. Your success continues to inspire me. Happy Birthday brown bwoy!!!! @champagnepapi #YoungMoney
Celebrating 'The Greats' issue for the New York Times style magazine @ The Met Breuer in NYC. I'm told I'm the 3rd musician to be on the cover. Such a proud New Yorker tonight. Thank you to everyone @tmagazine. Dress by Botegga Venetta. Shawl by Givenchy.
Coat by #CalvinKlein
I'll kill for this one, just know. Happy Birthday @liltunechi Game Changing Legend vybez #YoungMoney over everything
Here's lookin at you, kid
#ShotByKlein @stevenkleinstudio for @dazed
Cuz the boyz in the hood are always hard. Come talking dat trash we'll pull ya card.
Ooohhhh look what you made me do 🤑 watch @jimmyfallon TONIGHT 12:35 am Eastern/11:35 pm Central on NBC
You'll never be alone. I'll be with you from dusk til dawn 🎀
Last night was...💕
Barbie goes to work. In Chanel & Alaia
#OscarDeLaRenta Barbie in the city
Loved this #Monse #YSL look. What should tonight's look be? 🤔
Get out of my shot. You're in my shot. Thank you for having me @monsemaison Loved the show! Coat/Skirt by @monsemaison Boot by @ysl #NYFW #Monse
#MertAndMarcus Book Launch #NYFW #Balmain #ElieSaab PINK & BLACK INCHES
If I was the ref niggaz would have to give me a back massage every time they missed a free throw.
This choker costs 1 Million Dollars. If I lose it, will you return it to me?
#BarbieTingz link in my BIO to watch the #RakeItUpVIDEO now!!!! #TwoTonePinkAndBlonde is only for the baddest baddies😻😌 Tag the baddest btch you know. 😘
New stripper boots, who dis? I love being a stripper.
All my favorite guys in one photo 😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍 #StephenGan @mariotestino @karllagerfeld @hk0712 @vmagazine dinner 😛
🎱 ~~~~~ Dress: Mugler~~~~Belt: Philosophy
#NickiInPARIS hit the wheel so hard make it rotate 🦄 all my btchs get it, they make money all alone 👅 #HaiderAckermann show was flawless. @h.a 🙏🏽 Top: Mugler
Shoes: Alexandre Vauthier
Pasties: Agent Provocateur
Shades: Veronique Leroy
👅💕🎀👅💕🎀🎲 photo by @grizzleemusic ~ #HairByNeal #MakeupBySheika #StyledByMaher #BootByGiannvitoROSSI 🎀
😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍 photo by @grizzleemusic ~ #HairByNeal #MakeupBySheika #StyledByMaher #BootByGiannvitoROSSI 🎀
#ATBIMS. 😂 y'all so childish Omgskibbidybopbopghjhddfnjj - I was gonna wait to share the news but...
Issa secret shoot 👅🎀
When @Diplo call u & say #RunUp went top 10 on the worldwide iTunes chart w/in 24 hrs. Not US.... the worldwide jawn... thx u guys! 😘 @partynextdoor @majorlazer 🏃🏾♀️⬆️ watch the lyric video on YouTube now!
#RunUpVideoShoot last night. Love these shoes #Louboutin