Thursday, November 20, 2014 6:35am ET by  
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Nicki Minaj on 'Anaconda' artwork: 'I’m at the level in my career where I can do whatever I want'

Nicki Minaj believes she earned the right to release images like her recent 'Anaconda' cover.

The rapper's artwork for the single turned heads this summer as it shows Minaj squatting on the floor baring most of her backside.

Speaking in a new interview with Complex magazine, the former American Idol judge said she wanted to take an image like that because she is now able to do "whatever the hell" she wants.

Minaj said: "The artwork was not premeditated. I was shooting the 'Anaconda' video and I had my photographer there taking pictures. When I was about to shoot my next scene, I asked to see the pictures he’d taken. He went through five or six and that one came up, and I was like, ‘Oh my God. Yo, that picture is crazy!'.

"What made me excited about it was that people hadn’t seen me do a picture like that in years. The reason why I stopped taking pictures like that was because I needed to prove myself. I needed for people to take me seriously. I needed for people to respect my craft. I’ve proven that I’m an MC. I’m a writer; I’m the real deal, so if I want to take sexy pictures, I can. I’m at the level in my career and in my life now where I can do whatever the hell I want to."

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Watch the 'Anaconda' video below: