Nicki Minaj's unhappy childhood has made her "tough".

The 26-year-old rapper grew up terrified of her alcoholic, violent father in New York and admits her upbringing has given her the determination to succeed and inner strength to remove herself from unhappy situations.

She said: "All of my young and teenage Early Years we lived in fear that my mother would be killed by my father. It was ridiculous. It made me act out to guys and be evil when I was growing up.

"It made me tough. Of course it did. I am an emotional person, but I am a tough person. We didn't really have many options and that makes you feel helpless. And I think that is the worst feeling.

"I can't be like my mom - I know I can cut ties and still make it. She didn't when I felt she should have done. That's been my thing, I've been able to say, 'This isn't working any more. You need to get out of my life.' I keep it moving and it has worked."

The 'Right Thru Me' hitmaker also revealed her honesty about her own problems has inspired many of her fans to confide in her about their own difficulties.

She added in an interview with The Sun newspaper: "A lot of people send me direct messages on twitter telling me what they're going through - their father is on drugs, this and that and the third.

"They feel like they can deal with all this stuff because I did and survived. They can have the worst hand dealt to them, but they can do whatever they set their hearts on.

"A lot of fans say they like me because I don't give a damn what they say about me. As a teenager you spend so much time worrying about what other people say.

"When you have someone to look up to and feel they don't care, it makes you more comfortable with herself."