March 01, 2018 05:35 PM

Cardi B has no shame about her former life as an exotic dancer, which she resorted to before reaching chart-topping stardom to escape an abusive relationship. In the April issue of Cosmopolitan, the rapper addressed why she’s open to speaking about her pole-dancing days: “People say, ‘Why do you always got to say that you used to be a stripper? We get it.’ Because y’all don’t respect me because of it, and y’all going to respect these strippers from now on… Just because somebody was a stripper don’t mean they don’t have no brain,” she told the magazine.

Although the Grammy-nominated artist fully embraces her past, she confessed her mother wasn’t pleased with her means of making money back then. “When my mom found out I was a dancer, she was pretty upset,” Cardi revealed to drag queen Naomi Smalls in a video for Cosmpolitan.com. Her mom’s disapproval only pushed the Bronx-native to strive for more: “Me knowing that she used to hate it, it didn’t allow me to get comfortable with what I was doing.”

Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

That hunger for more would eventually land her megahit “Bodak Yellow” at the top of Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart, making her the first female rapper without a featured act to nab the top spot since Lauryn Hill in 1998. Her breakout success continues to reach new heights as she prepares to tour with Grammy-winner Bruno Mars and collaborates with big-name artists like Ozuna and Jennifer Lopez. “When it came to music, at first, I wanted to make a lot of money, but then I was like ‘I kinda want the respect’,” she said. “[Now,] when I ask them if they want to collab with me, they’ll say yes. That’s the type of respect I wanted.”

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