The 'Super Bass' rapper had to work part time jobs after graduating from New York's prestigious LaGuardia High School, and although she hated the experience, she claims she now has the last laugh.
She said: "That whole time was so horrible. It was like torture. At the end of the day, after working at whatever job I hated, I would get all dressed up and go out with the hope of getting a record deal.
"At night, I was an artist, but during the day I was a slave. When I think back on that time, on the people who made my life a living hell, I want to say, 'Are you all seeing me now?
"This is me having the last laugh after all those years when you made it hard for me to get out of bed in the morning."
Although Nicki thought about quitting at one point, her pride and dedication to making money to support her family were what eventually helped her achieve success.
She added: "I had no money, I had no one to call and I was out on my own.
"I also had the burden of not wanting to tell my mother that I was out of a job, and could I come back home?
"Besides faith in God, the only thing that got me through that time was the fear of what would happen to my family if I didn't make it.
"I remember thinking, 'I don't know if this is ever going work but I'm going to give it one final try.'"