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Nicki Minaj gives love to hip-hop, rumored boyfriend Nas and herself, in "XXL"'s 20th anniversary issue

John Shearer/Getty Images via ABCIn an interview in XXL's 20th anniversary issue, Nicki Minaj ticks off a list of hip-hop artists who she feels have made an impact in the genre for the past twenty years, including her rumored boyfriend, Nas

She says, "I would say Nas just because I'm from Queens and he really put us on the map on a different level."  

The trailblazing rap star also gives her thoughts on hip-hop being what Billboard recently called "the biggest music genre right now."

"It's no surprise to me...because hip-hop has always been barred from so much," Nicki explains. 

"I think people deem the hip-hop culture to be super credible and authentic, and I think people always want to get a piece of what is authentic. So you know, I think it only makes sense." 

As for her own role in hip-hop, Nicki calls it "super unique." 

"When my first album came out, there had been so much time where there wasn't a female rap album out that went platinum," she says. 

"There wasn't a big female rap presence right before I got in. So, my role was reintroducing the female rapper to pop culture." 

"[On] my first album, I had features with Eminem and Kanye [West]. I had so many big names on that first album. I don't think that's ever been done before on a female rap album." 

Nicki adds, "I think all the big, male artists also treated me with a sense of respect as a MC. They took me serious. If they were on a track with me, they knew they had to come hard. So, I'm really super proud of bringing that to the game as a female rapper."  

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