Nicki Minaj, ELLE, July 2018

Karl Lagerfeld

Nicki Minaj is flying solo these days for the first time in 20 years and she says it makes her feel "strong and powerful" and has helped her creatively.

The 35-year-old rapper made her comments in ELLE magazine's July 2018 issue, which features her in a cover shoot that designer Karl Lagerfeld shot in Paris.

Nicki told the outlet that from age 15 until last fall, she has always had a serious boyfriend and has been in relationships spanning between three and 12 years at a time. The rapper, who broke up with Meek Mill late last year, said, "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 rapper said at one point in her life, she started "second-guessing" herself. She said she stopped doing that when she started learning how to sleep alone.

Nicki Minaj, ELLE, July 2018

Karl Lagerfeld

Nicki Minaj, ELLE, July 2018

Karl Lagerfeld

Nicki Minaj, ELLE, July 2018

Karl Lagerfeld

"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 said. "Becoming single was one of the things that made me feel strong and powerful. 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."

Nicki said you can hear it on her new album, Queen, when she raps about "abstaining from sex had to zen my body. I ain't giving, so don't ask, I don't lend my body. He gotta be king status to get in my body."

Queen is her first major record in three and a half years and is set for release in August.

Nicki also talked to ELLE about Meek, who was released from jail in Pennsylvania in April after serving five months for a probation violation. At the time of the interview, he was still incarcerated.

"I wouldn't wish that on anybody," she said. "But I'm also not gonna bad-mouth a judge who...because anything I say stays on the record."

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