Rapper Da Brat has opened up about her close friend Mariah Carey's previous marriage to music executive Tommy Mottola, claiming the singer was constantly monitored by cameras at the couple's lavish home.

The Funkdafied hitmaker first met the Hero superstar while working on the remix to Carey's hit Always Be My Baby in 1995, and they have collaborated on numerous tracks ever since.

Da Brat has now recalled her first meeting with Carey to Billboard magazine, revealing she immediately felt a connection with her.

She recalls, "I felt like she was just like me, but she had to keep it shielded. She wanted to do the things I did and talk the way I talked. She was signed to Sony and had this reputation to uphold of being a diva. That's why we jelled. She was living through me and we became the best of friends. We're both Aries and both like to have fun that's why we say we're 'eternally 12', because we're kids."

Da Brat was by Carey's side during some of the more trying times in her life, including the rise and fall of her five-year marriage to Columbia Records executive Mottola, which ultimately ended in divorce in 1998.

Da Brat divulges, "She was so down to earth, but her circumstances didn't allow her to do things. We'd be in the studio at Tommy Mottola's house and she'd whisper because cameras were everywhere. It's like she was trapped. I had never seen someone have everything, but be so unhappy inside because they couldn't be themselves."

Carey went on to marry comedian/actor Nick Cannon in 2008, and welcomed twins Monroe and Moroccan in 2011.