Onika Tanya Maraj, born December 8, 1982,better known by her stage name Nicki Minaj (pronounced /mɪˈnɑːʒ/), is a Rap and R&B recording artist who rose to fame after becoming a member in rapping group Young Money. She was born in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago, but moved to the Queens borough of New York City as a child and graduated from LaGuardia High School in 2003.
Minaj began her music career in 2007 after she released her first mixtape Playtime Is Over. The mixtape followed by mixtapes, Sucka Free and Bream Me Up Scotty which were released in 2008 and 2009 respectively. Minaj had her first label sucess after fellow American rapper, Lil Wayne discovered and secured a record deal with her with Young Money Entertainment with distribution from Universal Motown In August 2009.
She released her first debut album, Pink Friday in 2010 which became a commercial success, peaking at the top of the U.S. Billboard 200. and was later certificated platinum Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) a month after its release. She became the first artist ever to have seven singles on the Billboard Hot 100 at the same time. Her second single, "Your Love", reached number-one on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs chart, making Minaj the first female artist to top the chart unaccompanied since 2002.She also became the first female artist to be included on MTV's Annual Hottest MC List.
Minaj was born in 1982 in Saint James, (a suburb of Trinidad and Tobago's capital city Port of Spain). Her parents were of mixed Indian and Afro-Trinidadian ancestry and she lived in Saint James with her grandmother until age five, because her parents were looking for a place to live in the Queens borough of New York City at the time. Her mother would occasionally visit, and one day, when Minaj was five, her mother picked her up to move to Queens. According to Minaj, her father drank heavily, took drugs, and once tried to kill her mother by setting the house on fire.
She attended Elizabeth Blackwell Middle School 210, where she played the clarinet. She graduated from LaGuardia High School. At LaGuardia, a school specializing in music and the visual and performing arts, Minaj participated in the drama program. She had initially planned to sing at LaGuardia, but lost her voice on the day of the audition.
While some songs and interviews have implied that Minaj is bisexual, she has said that she does not date nor have sex with women, but added in an interview with Out magazine, "I don’t date men either.In an interview with Vibe she commented, "I just embrace all people of all lifestyles and I don’t tell them they are bad people. And I say girls are beautiful and girls are sexy and they need to be told that, and if they don’t have anyone to tell them that and mean it, I’m gonna tell them that. But I feel like people always wanna define me and I don’t wanna be defined. She reiterated her dislike of being labeled in an interview with OUT, saying: "The point is, everyone is not black and white. There are so many shades in the middle, and you’ve got to let people feel comfortable with saying what they want to say when they want to say it.
During an interview in the May 2010 issue of Details, Minaj was asked if she felt hip-hop was becoming more gay-friendly. She responded, "I think the world is getting more gay-friendly, so hip-hop is too. But it's harder to imagine an openly gay male rapper being embraced, people view gay men as having no street credibility. But I think we'll see one in my lifetime.
In June 2011, a Twitter hoax amongst many others (such as Justine Simmons) reported Minaj to be dead. The hoax involved a generic trend, "#ripnickiminaj" being holstered to the top of a global list of the most popular "Trends" on 26 June.
In July 2011, Minaj's cousin, Nicholas, was murdered near his home in Brooklyn, New York. Minaj tweeted that she was devastated.
Mixtapes and Young Money
Nicki Minaj released her first mixtape in 2007 after releasing Playtime Is Over with Dirty Money Records. She later released another mixtape on July 7, 2008, titled Sucka Free, under the label of Be. On April 18, 2009, Minaj released a third mixtape and appeared in XXL magazine. In 2008 she won the Female Artist of the Year award at the Underground Music Awards. Minaj released Beam Me Up Scotty, another mixtape, in April 2009 under the label of Trapaholics Records. Beam Me Up Scotty received positive coverage on both BET and MTV.
After being Minaj signed a succure record deal with Young Money Entertainment, it was confirmed that artist would unite as a rapping group, and Minaj would be present in the group. As part of the group, the rapping group released single "Every Girl", which charted at number ten on the Billboard Hot 100. The second single was confirmed to be "BedRock", the song became a commercial success charting at just below the top of the Billboard Hot 100 at number-two; on the song Minaj has a solo rap verse. Third single released from the album, "Roger That" which Minaj also appeared on as a Young Money artist. Despite the song gaining good reviews from critics, the song charted at number fifty-six. Many critics said that Minaj steals the spotlight.
Breakthrough and Pink Friday
After a major record label bidding war, Young Money Entertainment announced on August 31, 2009 that Minaj had been released a 360 deal with the label in which she retains and owns all of her 360 rights – including merchandising, sponsorships, endorsements, touring and publishing. In an interview with 95.8 Capital FM, Rihanna stated that after the two collaborated on "Raining Men" from her album Loud that the duo would be teaming up together for a possible second collaboration on Minaj's Pink Friday. Hip-hop rap artist and producer Kanye West was also confirmed for the album. On August 3, 2010 Minaj revealed on a Ustream.tv channel for her fans that the album's name would be Pink Friday stating, “To carry on a great tradition of Black Friday, we are going to switch it up this year in honor of the Nicki Minaj album and call that day Pink Friday, and call my album Pink Friday,! A deluxe edition of the album was also released after the standard edition. Nicki Minaj released the artwork for her album cover on Friday, October 15, 2010.
Minaj's debut album, Pink Friday was released on November 19, 2010. A buzz single, "Massive Attack", was released in April. In August, Minaj released "Your Love" as the first official single from her debut album. The single peaked at 14 on the Billboard Hot 100, 7 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and topped the Rap Songs chart. Minaj became the first female artist to be included on MTV's Annual Hottest MC List and the first female artist to top the chart unaccompanied since 2002.
On Saturday, January 29, 2011, Minaj appeared on Saturday Night Live as the musical guest. She performed her hit songs "Right Thru Me" and "Moment 4 Life". On February 9, 2011, it was announced that Pink Friday had reached number one on the Billboard 200 in its eleventh week on the chart. It was hinted by Simon Cowell that Minaj would join the judging panel of the American version of the The X Factor. Starting in June 2011, Minaj will be supporting Pink Friday by serving as an opening act along with Jessie and the Toy Boys and Nervo on Britney Spears' sixth concert tour, the Femme Fatale Tour, in support of her seventh studio album, Femme Fatale. She also was featured on the official remix of Spears' track "Till The World Ends" along with Spears and singer Kesha, which charted at number 3 in the US in April 2011. "Super Bass" was released from Pink Friday in May 2011, the reception of the single was huge after the single charted within the top 10 in many of countries including; United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Canada and more.
Musical style and image
In an interview with Vibe Minaj discussed her sexual image stating, "[w]hen I grew up I saw females doing certain things, and I thought I had to do that exactly. The female rappers of my day spoke about sex a lot... and I thought that to have the success they got, I would have to represent the same thing. When in fact I didn’t have to represent the same thing. In an interview with Interview, Minaj commented on her sexual image again stating, "I made a conscious decision to try to tone down the sexiness, I want people—especially young girls—to know that in life, nothing is going to be based on sex appeal. You’ve got to have something else to go with that. Minaj has a tattoo of the traditional Chinese characters "上帝與你常在" shangdi yu ni chang zai on her left arm, meaning, "God is always with you.
While growing up, Minaj's home life was often chaotic, with her parents constantly fighting As a means of escape, she would create characters and live her life through them. In an interview with New York she stated, "To get away from all their fighting, I would imagine being a new person. 'Cookie' was my first identity – that stayed with me for a while. I went on to 'Harajuku Barbie,' then 'Nicki Minaj.' Fantasy was my reality.
On November 18, 2010 Minaj assumed a different alter-ego named "Nicki Teresa". Wearing a colorful scarf around her head, she went around as the "healer to her fans" as she visited them at The Garden of Dreams Foundation at Fuse studios in New York City. Minaj made an appearance on Lopez Tonight on December 6, 2010 and presented a different alter-ego for the Spanish-inspired occasion, named "Rosa" (pronounced Rrrrrosa).
Minaj has stated that artists who have influenced her musical style include Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, Lil Wayne, Lauryn Hill, Jadakiss, Natasha Bedingfield, Foxy Brown, Lil' Kim and Missy Elliott She was also inspired by Madonna, Marilyn Monroe, Grace Jones and Cyndi Lauper.
Pink Friday (2010)
Awards and nominations
Year Nominated work Award Result
2008 Nicki Minaj Underground Music Awards Won
2010 BET Awards Best Female Hip-Hop Artist Won
BET Awards Best New Artist Won
Young Money BET Awards Best Group Won
BET Awards Best New Artist Nominated
"BedRock" (Young Money feat. Lloyd) BET Awards Viewer's Choice Nominated
Nicki Minaj Teen Choice Awards Choice Breakout Artist – Female Nominated
"Massive Attack" MTV Video Music Awards Nominated
Nicki Minaj BET Hip Hop Awards People's Champ Won
BET Hip Hop Awards Rookie of the Year Won
BET Hip Hop Awards Made You Look Won
BET Hip Hop Awards Hustler of the Year Nominated
BET Hip Hop Awards Lyricist of the Year Nominated
MOBO Awards Best International Act Nominated
2011 "My Chick Bad" (Ludacris featuring Nicki Minaj) Grammy Awards 2011 Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group Nominated
Nicki Minaj NAACP Image Awards Outstanding New Artist Nominated
"2012 (It Ain't the End)" (Jay Sean featuring Nicki Minaj) UK Asian Music Awards Best Video Won
Nicki Minaj NARM Breakthrough Artist of the Year Won
Billboard Music Award for Top New Artist Nominated
Billboard Music Award for Top Rap Artist Nominated
Pink Friday Billboard Music Award for Top Rap Album Nominated
"Bottoms Up" (Trey Songz featuring Nicki Minaj) Billboard Music Award for Top R&B Song Nominated
Nicki Minaj BET Awards Best Female Hip Hop Artist Won
"Super Bass" Teen Choice Awards for Best Summer Song Nominated
Nicki Minaj Teen Choice Awards for Best R&B/Hip-Hop Artist Nominated
"Moment 4 Life" (Nicki Minaj featuring Drake) MTV Video Music Awards for Best Collaboration Nominated
Super Bass MTV Video Music Awards for Best Female Video Nominated
"Super Bass" MTV Video Music Awards for Best Rap Video Nominated