The 'U.N.I.T.Y.' star told Parade that pursuing a career in the music industry is what eventually allowed her to break into acting, which she considered an incredible opportunity.
"I'm proud of everything I do, but I think I'm the most happy about becoming a rapper. It was my entrance into everything. That helped me get into acting," Latifah explained.
"That's a tough business for anyone to crack into, but having some marquee value already as a hip-hop artist helped me get into acting. For my first job, I was basically hired by Spike Lee for Jungle Fever because I was a female rapper."
The Joyful Noise actress went on to say that she is aware that her rap career has helped to ensure the success of current stars such as Nicki Minaj.
"I know that I've had something to do with it. People paved the way for me and you pave the way for others. You have to expand the game as much as you can for the ladies. I've always kind of been a champion for the ladies in that sense," she added.
"Even if we don't like each other necessarily, I appreciate that each of us has our own voice and we can express ourselves the way we see fit. Not that Nicki is like me per se, but I think many female rappers have been inspired by me as I have been inspired by others."
> Queen Latifah: 'Work won't prevent motherhood'
Watch Queen Latifah's video for 'U.N.I.T.Y.' below: