Nicki Minaj is motivated by making a better life for her mother.
The 26-year-old rapper - who moved from Trinidad to the US at the age of five - admits living in a three-bedroom home with 15 other people and then seeing her father fall victim to drug and alcohol abuse made her determined to "kick ass" with her music.
She said: "In Trinidad we didn't have much. Then my parents moved to the States and then they sent for me, and I thought everything was going to be great.
"But my father fell victim to drug and alcohol abuse, so it was an uphill battle for a very, very long time. He was really, really addicted. My mother had to make ends meet the best way she knew how.
"Really, when I talk about my life in records like 'I'm The Best' I'm just saying, 'Hey, after all of this, here's what I've accomplished.' "What motivated me was that I wanted to get my mother out of her situation, so I always wanted to kick ass at whatever I did."
Nicki admits her difficult upbringing has made her a "very aggressive" person because she has always had to stand up for herself but she has since learned how to control her behaviour.
She added: "It has made me a very aggressive person. I always heard lots of yelling, fighting and cussing. It made me a very reactive person.
"I've been learning how to tone that down a bit. I've been learning how to say, 'OK, cool, I gotta think things through, I can't always react.'"