The 38-year-old star can see a lot of similarities between the 'Wrecking Ball' hitmaker and the legendary 'Material Girl' singer, who was catapulted into the spotlight following the success of her self-titled debut album in 1983.
He told the Daily Star newspaper: ''Miley's a great talent. She's young and ambitious and wants to do it her way.
''Madonna did it her way, and she became one of the greatest female entertainers of all time.
''Madonna grew up in the age of no social media. She wasn't under the type of scrutiny Miley's under.''
Miley caused controversy at the MTV Video Music Awards earlier this year with a raunchy 'twerking' performance with Robin Thicke - which saw her shaking her butt while thrusting her hips - and Nelly believes outrageous antics like that are essential for success.
He explained: ''You have to stay in people's faces now. You have to be seen all the time, making headlines.''
However, the rapper believes the 20-year-old singer - who found fame on Disney TV show 'Hannah Montana' - may make a few mistakes as she finds her own identity in the industry.
He explained: ''When you're 20 years old and you've been under a machine your whole life and been told what to do, when you get to a certain age you're like: 'I want to do it my way.'
''Whatever mistakes she makes she's going to have to deal with them. She understands that.''
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