Who Is Nicki Minaj?
Nicki Minaj, who was born in the Caribbean and moved to New York when she was 5 years old, overcame a challenging upbringing to become a popular hip-hop singer. She has “gone far beyond what I would have dreamed,” according to her label-mate Lil Wayne, who deems her “an icon.” In the annals of music, Nicki will be remembered as one of the best to do it.
Onika Tanya Maraj, better known as Minaj, was born on December 8, 1982 in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago. When she was 5 years old, her family relocated to Queens, New York. Minaj’s father had a violent past and was a heavy drug addict. He once tried to kill Minaj’s mother by setting fire to the family’s home. According to Minaj, these early setbacks fueled her desire to surpass the standard of living her parents had. “She told Details magazine, “I’ve always had this female empowerment idea in the back of my mind because I wanted my mother to be stronger, and she couldn’t be. If I’m successful, I can transform her life, I reasoned.”
The young Minaj created personalities for herself that would enable her to reinvent herself in order to get to that point. An early form was “Cookie,” then came “Harajuku Barbie” before finally deciding on Nicki Minaj. She has claimed that “fantasy was my reality.” Minaj has a natural talent for stage presence. She wrote her first rap when she was 12 years old, then pursued acting at LaGuardia High School of Music and Art, the institution that served as the basis for the film Fame. She took on a variety of solid jobs, including one as a waiter at Red Lobster, where she was fired for being impolite to patrons, but her acting career never really took off.
Minaj began singing as a backup singer for New York City rappers like Full Force in an effort to get into the music industry. She soon started producing her own content. Fendi, the CEO of Dirty Money, ultimately stumbled across Minaj’s MySpace profile, fell in love with what he heard, and signed her to his company.
Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj worked together on a number of mixtapes, the first of which, Playtime Is Over, was released in April 2007. This link introduced Minaj to Lil Wayne. This mixtape and others that came after it, such as Sucka Free (2008) and Beam Me Up Scotty (2009), showed off Minaj’s assertiveness and outspoken fashion. In August 2009, she joined Lil Wayne’s Young Money label and became the imprint’s first female artist. She collaborated with Mariah Carey and Robin Thicke on the We Are Young Money compilation album (2009), which helped her establish her increasing reputation.
Debut Album: ‘Pink Friday’
The expectation for Minaj’s debut album, which was set to be released that fall, had grown by early 2010. She debuted her first single, “Massive Attack,” in April of that year, and then “Your Love.” She won Best Hip Hop Female at the annual BET Awards two months later. She credited Lil Wayne with the honor. Eight singles were released to promote the Pink Friday album, which was released in November. It achieved triple platinum status and garnered mostly favorable reviews. “Her labelmate Drake Is completely aware of how amazing she is, but also how delicate,” wrote Entertainment Weekly’s Brad Wete. On her albums, Minaj used a variety of personas, such as Onika, Nicki Lewinsky, and Roman Zolanski.
‘American Idol’ Feud With Mariah Carey
Minaj makes a cameo on the hit television show American Idol in March 2012. In order to create place for her at the judges’ table, she instructed singer Jennifer Lopez, who was a judge on the competition, to “scoot over a little bit.” Then, rumors of a conflict between Lopez and Minaj spread, which Minaj later denied. However, Minaj seems to have gotten her dream later that year when she was confirmed as a judge on American Idol. It didn’t take long for her and colleague judge Mariah Carey to get into an argument. During the early auditions for the show, the two appeared to take an immediate disliking to one another and engaged in an open argument.
The two battled it out on television once the show’s 12th season debuted in early 2013. During Charlotte, North Carolina, tryouts, Minaj and Carey got into a fight, and Minaj stormed off stage. According to the New York Daily News, Carey later claimed that Minaj had threatened to hurt her physically, which led her to decide to hire more security. Minaj has tweeted that American Idol “is NOT a singing competition” in response to criticism of the program.
Film Roles and Other Business Interests
Minaj had been expanding her career in various ways. In 2012’s Ice Age: Continental Drift, she voiced the mammoth Steffie, and in 2014’s The Other Woman, costarring Cameron Diaz, she made her film debut. Later, she was nominated for a Teen Choice Award in 2016 for her performance in Barbershop: The Next Cut. In addition to having her own fragrance brand, she has fronted numerous endorsement partnerships and advertising campaigns, including those for MAC Cosmetics, Adidas Originals, and Pepsi. She owns stock in the streaming service Tidal. Early in 2017, she split up with the rapper Meek Mill.
More Hits and ‘Queen’
Minaj’s musical priorities haven’t changed despite all of her other endeavors. She contributed to numerous singles in 2017, and with the simultaneous release and success of “No Frauds,” “Regret in Your Tears,” and “Changed It,” she surpassed Aretha Franklin’s previous record for the most female artist Billboard Hot 100 entries.
In April of the following year, Minaj released “Chun-Li” and “Barbie Tingz,” two brand-new songs. Later that year, she released the songs “Rich Sex” with Lil Wayne and “Bed” with Ariana Grande. She also collaborated with the contentious rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine on the song “FEFE.” Her fourth studio album, Queen, released at No. 1 two days after the singer launched her Queen Radio show on Apple Music’s Beats 1 station on August 8.
In Frankfurt, Germany, at the beginning of 2019, Minaj and rapper Juice Wrld launched The Nicki Wrld Tour. The artist released “Megatron,” her first solo song of the year, in late June in addition to her other collaborations.
After the September release of The Angry Birds Movie 2, in which she had a vocal role, Minaj made the shocking announcement through Twitter that she would be retiring in order to “have my family.” By getting married to her partner Kenneth Petty in October, the musician took a step toward realizing her family’s wishes, even if she later assured her fans that there would be more music to come.
Following her collaboration with Meghan Trainor on “Nice to Meet Ya” to start off 2020, Minaj made a guest judge appearance on the RuPaul’s Drag Race season 12 debut. She later collaborated with Doja Cat on a remix of “Say So,” which became the first of Nicki Minaj’s songs to top the Billboard Hot 100.
Minaj and Petty got hitched in October 2019. She stated that she was pregnant in July 2020. On September 30, 2020, Minaj and Petty welcomed their boy as their first child.
Rappers Meek Mill and Safaree Samuels were once Minaj’s partners.