Nicki Minaj has been hyping her upcoming album for a minute, stating that, creatively, it's the best thing she's done thus far in her career. She expanded on these thoughts in the latest issue of The New York TimesT magazine, which is current featuring issues where each of the eight cover personalities are individuals doing amazing things in their respective industries. Her fourth studio album, which doesn't have a release date as of yet, is responsible in large part for her new found confidence and how content she feels with her life right now.

The New York Times #TMag by #patrickdemarchelier

A post shared by Barbie® (@nickiminaj) on

“Sonically, I know what the album’s about to sound like," she said of the unreleased project. "I know what this album is gonna mean to my fans. This album is everything in my life coming full circle and me being truly, genuinely happy. It feels almost like a celebration." She also spoke to how personal her last album, The Pink Print, was and how that process allowed her to mature and evolve while working on her current project. "The last album [was] almost like my diary, closing the chapter on certain things and not knowing if I was happy or sad about beginning new chapters [...] Now, I can tell you guys what happened for the last two years of my life. I know who I am. I am getting Nicki Minaj figured out with this album and I’m loving her.”

She was also asked what qualities she thinks a good rapper should possess, with her response morphing into some pointed queries in their own right. “Do you sound intelligent? Does your flow switch up? Are you in command of the beat?" she replied. "I listen for things like that. Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Foxy Brown — Those are the three I keep in my head when I’m writing because they’ve influenced me so much, I feel like I’m a part of all of them.” Finally, she touched on feeling totally free during this new creative process, with a lack of studio interference being a big reason for the sense of liberation. “This is definitely the most inspired and free and excited I’ve been since I started releasing albums through a label,” she said. "I’m not going to blame a label. You just overthink. When you’re doing your own little thing, you feel like, I can be myself, I can be crazy. When you start working with a record company, you start thinking you need a bigger sound. I wanted to get back to the place where I wasn’t second-guessing things so much.