Nicki Minaj

Jennifer Cooper, E!

Nicki Minaj is giving Miley Cyrus major props.

E! News caught up with the hip-hopster at a super-swanky Myx & Mingle July 4th cruise around New York Harbor while launching her new fruit-infused beverage, Myx Fusions Moscato, which she co-owns with Love & Hip-Hop creator Mona Scott-Young and Myx CEO, Peter Reaske, that's now in stores.

And when we asked her about the former Hannah Montana star's recent comments that Minaj is one of her biggest influences, Minaj couldn't resist gushing about her young admirer.

"OMG! Miley is sooooo cute and every time I see her I say again and again that she is so damn cute and down to earth. I really love her," the Pink Friday rapper told us exclusively. "What a compliment that was to me. I really love her back. Thanks Miley!"

In an interview with last month, Cyrus called Nicki one her top five favorite female singers along with rapper Lil' Kim and her own godmother, Dolly Parton.

"Nicki is now my Lil' Kim of my generation so that's cool," she said.

The remarks came after media and fans have been drawing constant comparisons between the 20-year-old crooner and the 30-year-old MC thanks to Miley's new music video for her hit "We Can't Stop," which echoes the crazy, eclectic style of Nicki's clips, not to mention scenes of Cyrus twerking.

However, Miley denied that she's trying to ape the performer.

"A lot of people wanted to try to make me the white Nicki Minaj," Cyrus told the site. "That's not what I'm trying to do. I love 'hood' music, but my talent is as a singer."

Miley's recent makeover however has gone over well with Nicki, who was quick to praise her for her new short hairdo and more mature style.

"She looks very sexy and sassy in her new video," noted Minaj. "I love it! I love her new look, she is really all grown up. I love that she cut her hair. Some people were iffy that she cut it, but I love people that have the balls to do whatever they want."

Minaj also gave a big thumbs-up to Miley's twerking skills.

"I can tell now Miley is really developing into her own self," added Minaj. "I love her twerking moments. That's what is all about being an artist."

—Reporting by Jennifer Cooper

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