"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**."