Nicki Minaj

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Nicki Minaj
Nicki Minaj 3, 2012.jpg
Minaj at the launch of her fragrance Pink Friday in Sydney, Australia, November 2012.
Background information
Birth name Onika Tanya Maraj
Born (1982-12-08) December 8, 1982 (age 31)
Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago
Origin Jamaica, Queens, New York, U.S.
  • Rapper
  • songwriter
  • actress
Instruments Vocals
Years active 2004–present
Associated acts

Onika Tanya Maraj (born December 8, 1982),[1][2][3] known by her stage name Nicki Minaj (/mɪˈnɑːʒ/), is an American rapper, singer, songwriter and actress. Born in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago and raised in Jamaica, Queens, New York, she gained public notability after releasing the mixtapes Playtime is Over (2007), Sucka Free (2008), and Beam Me Up Scotty (2009). Minaj subsequently signed a recording contract with Young Money Entertainment in 2009.

Her debut studio album Pink Friday (2010) peaked at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200, and spawned the top-ten single "Super Bass". During its promotional campaign, Minaj became the first female solo artist to have seven singles simultaneously charting on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. Minaj earned her second number-one album in the United States with her follow-up Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (2012), in which its lead single "Starships" peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100. The album was reissued as an expanded version subtitled The Re-Up several months following its initial launch. Minaj has served as a voice actress in the animated film Ice Age: Continental Drift in 2012 and made her acting debut in the 2014 film The Other Woman. In 2013, Minaj appeared as a main judge on the twelfth season of American Idol. Her upcoming third studio album The Pinkprint (2014) is scheduled to be released in 2014.

Minaj is the first female artist included on MTV's Annual Hottest MC List, with The New York Times suggesting that some consider her "the most influential female rapper of all time".[4] Her rapping is distinctive for its fast flow, use of alter egos and accents, notably British cockney. Her outlandish and colorful costumes, wigs and clothing have given her recognition as a fashion icon. In April 2013, Minaj became the most-charted female rapper in the history of the Billboard Hot 100, with over 44 appearances. She has endorsed Adidas, MAC Cosmetics and Pepsi. She has earned four American Music Awards, eight BET Awards, two MTV Music Awards, an MTV Europe Music Award, five Billboard Music Awards and Billboard's 2011 Rising Star award.

Life and career

1982–2006: Early life and career beginnings

Onika Tanya Maraj was born in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago on December 8, 1982, to Carol and Robert Maraj.[5][6][7] She is of mixed Indian and Afro-Trinidadian ancestry, and has three siblings.[8][9][10] Minaj's mother held numerous jobs, including as accounting clerk, foreign exchange teller and gospel singer. Her father worked for American Express, suffered from alcohol and drug addictions, and once attempted to kill her mother by setting their house on fire.[11][12] Until she was five years old, Minaj lived with her grandmother in Saint James, and was occasionally visited by her mother. She and her mother later moved to Queens, New York.[13] Minaj stated that her upbringing lacked discipline and caused her to "seek out and practice self-discipline".[14]

Minaj attended P.S 045 Clarence Witherspoon School during her elementary years, and later attended Elizabeth Blackwell Middle School 210, where she played the clarinet.[13] She then graduated from LaGuardia High School, which specializes in music and the visual and performing arts.[15][16] Minaj participated in the drama program and initially planned to sing at LaGuardia, but lost her voice on the day of the audition.[15] Minaj has described how in her high school life she was distracted from her academics by “acting and boys”.[17] Minaj wanted to become an actress, and in 2001, she was cast in the Off-Broadway play, "In Case You Forget".[18] After her acting career failed to take off, Minaj worked at Red Lobster in the Bronx at the age of 19 as a waitress.[19] Minaj was later fired from Red Lobster because of her discourteousness to customers. She stated she had been fired from "at least fifteen jobs" for similar antics.[20] Other jobs Minaj held were as administrative assistant, work in customer service, and an office manager position at an unknown business located on Wall Street.[21][22]

Minaj briefly signed with Brooklyn group Full Force, in which she rapped in a foursome group called The Hoodstars, which consisted of group members Lou$tar (son of "Bowlegged Lou"), Scaff Beezy and 7even Up.[23][24] In 2004 the group recorded the entrance song for WWE Diva, Victoria titled "Don't Mess With", which was featured on the compilation album ThemeAddict: WWE The Music, Vol.6. Minaj later left the group, unsatisfied with their lack of success.[citation needed] During this time, Minaj uploaded a few songs on her Myspace profile and sent a few of her songs to people in the music industry. At the time, she was managed by Debra Antney. Fendi, CEO of the Brooklyn label Dirty Money Entertainment, who also found rapper Gravy, discovered the music and contacted Minaj, signing her to his label. Initially, Minaj adopted the pseudonym "Nicki Maraj", later changing it to "Nicki Minaj", stating "My real name is Maraj. Fendi flipped it when he met me because I had such a nasty flow! I eat bitches!"[25] Under Fendi's label, Minaj appeared on the popular street DVD The Come Up Volume 11, which featured underground rappers from New York.[citation needed]

2007–09: Mixtapes and Young Money

Minaj pictured in 2009

Minaj released her first mixtape Playtime is Over through Dirty Money Records on July 5, 2007,[26] and launched her second mixtape Sucka Free on April 12, 2008.[27] That year, she was recognized as the Female Artist of the Year at the 2008 Underground Music Awards.[28] In 2009, Minaj was involved in a conflict with ego trip's Miss Rap Supreme winner Rece Steele, who felt disrespected after Minaj interrupted her interview and placed a sign behind Steele's head during an interview for self-promotion.[29] Minaj later hung up on interviewers from Spate magazine after they inquired about the incident during a phone interview.[30] Minaj released her third mixtape Beam Me Up Scotty on April 18, 2009;[31] it received favorable coverage from BET and MTV.[32][33] One of its tracks "I Get Crazy" charted at number 20 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Rap Songs chart and number 37 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[34]

After being discovered by fellow rapper Lil Wayne,[35] it was announced that Minaj signed a recording contract with his record label Young Money Entertainment in August 2009.[36] That November, Minaj was featured with Gucci Mane and Trina on the remix of "5 Star Bitch" by Yo Gotti.[37] She later appeared on the songs "BedRock" and "Roger That",[38] taken from the Young Money Entertainment compilation album We Are Young Money (2009).[39] The singles respectively peaked at numbers 2 and 56 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100,[40] while the parent record charted at number nine on the U.S. Billboard 200 and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[40][41] Minaj was featured on the track "Up Out My Face" by Mariah Carey, which reached number 100 on the Billboard Hot 100.[42] That February, Robin Thicke featured Minaj on his song "Shakin' It 4 Daddy" at the recommendation of Jay-Z; Thicke later brought her along for several live performances, including a segment on The Late Show With David Letterman.[43]

2010–11: Pink Friday

Minaj released the track "Massive Attack" featuring Sean Garrett as the lead single from her debut studio album on March 29, 2010.[44] It reached number 65 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart,[34] and was ultimately excluded from the record because of its lackluster commercial performance.[45] Minaj was offered to join Rihanna on her Last Girl on Earth Tour in April, although she declined the invitation in order to complete her record.[46] "Your Love" was released as the official lead single from the project on June 8;[47] it peaked at number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100, number seven on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, and number one on the Billboard Rap Songs chart.[34] In August, Minaj announced through that the record would be titled Pink Friday, referencing Black Friday in the United States.[48] The following month, she released the singles "Check It Out" (with and "Right Thru Me",[49][50] the latter of which peaked at number 26 on the Billboard Hot 100.[34] In October, Minaj became the first woman to be featured on MTV's Annual Hottest MC List,[51] and became the first female solo artist to have seven songs on the Billboard Hot 100 charting simultaneously.[52]

Pink Friday was released on November 19,[53] and debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 375,000 copies.[54] "Moment 4 Life" featuring Drake was released as the fourth single on December 7,[55] and peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100.[34] The record itself was certified platinum and peaked at number one in the United States in January 2011.[56][54] Minaj performed "Right Thru Me" and "Moment 4 Life" as the musical guest for the January 29 episode of Saturday Night Live.[57] "Super Bass" was serviced as the fifth single from Pink Friday on May 13, 2011.[58] In addition to reaching number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 and being certified octuple-platinum in the United States,[34][59] the track reached the top-ten in countries including Australia and New Zealand and performed moderately across Europe.[60] Minaj later credited its initial exposure to being mentioned by Taylor Swift, stating that she "did her little interview about 'Super Bass' and [it] took off in the States with the people sort of knowing it. It's just really uncanny how all that stuff happens, we didn't plan it like that."[61] Minaj, Jessie and the Toy Boys, and Nervo appeared as the opening acts on Britney Spears' Femme Fatale Tour, which began on June 16 and concluded on August 13.[62] She and Kesha were featured on the remix of Spears' track "Till the World Ends", which peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100.[63] Minaj was also featured on the tracks "Where Them Girls At" and "Turn Me On" by David Guetta,[64] the latter of which peaked at number four in the United States.[65]

Since her success with Pink Friday, Minaj has been involved in a feud with rapper Lil' Kim, who accused Minaj of copying her likeness.[66] It was speculated that Minaj's track "Roman's Revenge" was directed towards Kim,[67] although Minaj stated that it was more generally referring to "everyone who has been in interviews talking" because "no one is worth having their name mentioned out of my mouth and they never will get that."[68] Kim reignited the feud with her mixtape Black Friday (2011), the title and artwork for which mimics Pink Friday;[66] a fragment of Minaj's diss track "Tragedy" was previewed that April.[69] Their conflict sparked a feud between Minaj and rapper Foxy Brown, who claimed that Minaj falsely detailed a conversation in which they discussed Kim.[70] Brown released the diss tracks "Hold Yuh" and "Massacre", directed towards Kim and Minaj, in November 2010 and January 2011, respectively.[71][72] Brown and Minaj settled their dispute in June 2012.[73]

2012–13: Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded and American Idol

Minaj performing at Radio 1's Big Weekend, June 2012

Minaj released the track "Roman in Moscow" on December 2, 2011 in anticipation of her second studio album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (2012).[74] It charted at number 64 on the Billboard Hot 100,[34] although it was excluded from the final track listing.[75] The song "Stupid Hoe" followed on December 20,[76] and later reached number 59 in the United States.[34] Critical commentary suggested that the latter track was directed towards Lil' Kim, who commented that "If you have to make a song called 'Stupid Hoe,' you must be a stupid hoe."[77] Minaj and rapper M.I.A. joined Madonna to perform their single "Give Me All Your Luvin'" during the Super Bowl XLVI halftime show on February 6, 2012.[78] She became the first solo female rapper to perform at the Grammy Awards after premiering her song "Roman Holiday" during the 2012 ceremony on February 12.[79] The controversial exorcism-themed performance generated polarizing commentary, while Chuck Creekmur from AllHipHop predicted that the segment saw Minaj "reaching out to the mainstream with this performance, trying to make that full leap into the pop world."[80]

"Starships" was serviced as the lead single from Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded two days later.[81] It respectively charted at numbers four and five on the Canadian Hot 100 and the Billboard Hot 100,[34] and became the fifth best-selling single of 2012.[82] Minaj was later sued by Chicagoan artist Clive Tanaka for alleged copyright infringement with the track in September 2013.[83] "Roman Reloaded" featuring Lil Wayne was released as a promotional single from the record on February 23,[84] and charted at number 70 in the United States.[34] Follow-up singles "Beez in the Trap" featuring 2 Chainz and "Right by My Side" featuring Chris Brown were both premiered on March 20;[85][86] they respectively reached numbers 48 and 51 on the Billboard Hot 100.[34] Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded was ultimately released on April 2, two months later than initially planned.[87] It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 253,000 copies,[54] and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.[88] However, its combination of hip hop tracks and mainstream pop material generated mixed reviews from music critics.[89] "Pound the Alarm" and "Va Va Voom" were respectively released on June 15 and September 12,[90][91] and reached numbers 15 and 22 on the Billboard Hot 100.[34]

Minaj began her headlining Pink Friday Tour on May 16,[92] which was followed by the Pink Friday: Reloaded Tour beginning on October 14.[93] She was scheduled to headline during the Hot 97 Summer Jam in New Jersey at MetLife Stadium on June 3, but pulled out of her performance day-of at the request of Lil Wayne after Peter Rosenberg from the station criticized "Starships" as not being "real hip-hop".[94] The following month, Minaj voiced the character Steffie in the animated film Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012).[95] She later won the awards for Best Female Video for "Starships" at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards and Best Hip-Hop at the 2012 MTV Europe Music Awards.[96][97] An expanded version of Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded subtitled The Re-Up was released on November 19.[98] Its singles "The Boys" with Cassie, "Freedom", and "High School" featuring Lil Wayne charted at numbers 41, 31, and 20 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[34] That month, Minaj was featured in the three-part E! documentary special Nicki Minaj: My Truth.[99] She had also announced plans launch her own record label, having signed Parker Ighile, Brinx, Keisha, and Blackout Movement.[100]

In September, Minaj joined the judging panel for the twelfth season of American Idol, alongside fellow new hires Mariah Carey and Keith Urban and returning judge Randy Jackson, with a salary of $12 million.[101] That October, a leaked video circulated in which Minaj and Carey were in the midst of a heated argument during auditions in Charlotte, North Carolina.[102] Minaj was alleged to have been heard saying off-camera, "If I had a gun, I would shoot that bitch", which she denied.[103] Carey claimed that Minaj created an "unsafe work environment" and had subsequently increased her personal security.[104] Their tension was reignited after Carey noted that Minaj did not have a number-one song on the Billboard Hot 100 during a live broadcast in May 2013, which Minaj responded to through a series of tweets that were described as "extremely harsh" insults towards Carey.[105] Minaj and Carey both left the series at the conclusion of the season that month.[106] That year, Minaj became the most charted female rapper in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 with 44 entries.[107] With seven nominations, she also led nominations for rap musicians at the 2013 Billboard Music Awards,[108] and became the first female rapper to win the award for Best Female Hip-Hop Artist at the BET Awards four times consecutively.[109]

2014: The Other Woman and The Pinkprint

After filming in spring 2013, Minaj appeared in her first live-action theatrical film The Other Woman with its premiere on April 25, 2014.[110] She portrayed Lydia, the assistant to the character Carly (portrayed by Cameron Diaz.)[111][112]

In its earlier stages of production, Minaj described her upcoming third studio album The Pinkprint (2014) as "a continuation of The Re-Up with a lot more". She also stated that it will focus on her "hip-hop roots".[113][114] During an interview with MTV, she stated that the work of her third album would be "next level" and will have "so much to talk about". She said, "I'm really excited and the people that have been working with me now, have been people that I haven't worked with before so it's like they're bringing a new sound to the album that I've never experimented with."[115] Minaj released a string of freestyles on her SoundCloud throughout the first half of 2014. She released a remix to "Danny Glover" by Young Thug, on January 28, 2014[116] followed by "Chi-Raq" featuring Lil Herb and a song called "Yasss Bish" premiered online May 3, 2014, which features and is produced by Soulja Boy.[117] On February 12, 2014, a video for the song "Lookin Ass", directed by Nabil, was released.[118] The song is also a part of Young Money's compilation album, Young Money: Rise of an Empire, in which it serves as the official third single.[119]

"Pills N Potions" was announced as the lead single from The Pinkprint on May 18, 2014; it was released on May 21, with the video debuting on Vevo June 10, 2014.[120][121] On June 29, 2014, Minaj won Best Female Hip-Hop Artist at the BET Awards 2014 for the fifth consecutive year, making her the only artist, male or female to win the "Best Hip-Hop Artist" award five times in a row. Minaj also ties Missy Elliott for most wins of "Best Hip-Hop Artist", each currently winning five times.[122]


Public image

An Afro-American woman in a blonde wig and bright teal eyeshadow wears a shirt constructed of variously colored cotton balls.
Minaj is known for her outlandish costumes, cosmetics, and wigs.

Minaj has been noted by the media for her curvaceous figure.[123] She commented that she originally felt obligated to mimic the provocative behaviors that the "female rappers of [her] day" provided for an example, although has expressed her intentions of initially subduing her sexuality because she "[wants] 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."[124][125] Minaj has made "signing boobs" part of her movement to empower women.[126] In an interview with The Guardian, Minaj says she is competing with both male and female rappers, explaining that "That's why I say stuff like, 'Dick in your face', because I don't even wanna refer to female genitalia any more. ... I just feel I have bigger balls than the boys". In her song "Moment 4 Life", she refers to herself as a king instead of a "queen".[127]

Minaj has been described as the "black Lady Gaga" due to her use of outlandish costumes and wigs, though Minaj has rejected such comparisons.[128] She cites Alexander McQueen, Gianni Versace and Christian Louboutin as her favorite designers.[129] The Huffington Post described Minaj's fashion as "risk-taking", "far-out", with "bold sartorial choices",[130] with Yahoo! commenting that her costume was "colorful" and "crazy", and that "the fashion and music world would certainly be very quiet without Ms Minaj".[131] Minaj has been invited to attend various events for fashion designers. Donatella Versace invited Minaj to perform for the launch of the collaboration of Versace for H&M alongside Prince. She also performed "Super Bass" at a Victoria Secret fashion show in November 2011.[132] Minaj was personally invited to be seated with Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour during New York Fashion Week to see designers such as Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera.[133]

Billboard named Minaj the fourth most-active musician on social media on their Social 50 chart in March 2011.[134] On Twitter, she is the most followed rapper in the world.[135] On Twitter and in public appearances and interviews, Minaj refers to her fans collectively as "Barbs" and her male heterosexual and LGBT following as "Boys" and "Ken Barbs" respectively,[136] alluding to her "Harajuku Barbie persona. Minaj deleted her Twitter account for eight days in April 2012, following a dispute between her and her fans who wanted to leak snippets of her then unreleased album.[137] At the time, she had 11 million followers and lost over a million followers as a result of the ordeal.[138]

In 2013 Minaj's style underwent a transformation into a more "natural" look, including less colorful makeup and wigs, as she described in order to be taken more seriously, which made its debut during the later episodes of American Idol.[139][140]

Alter egos

With her parents frequently fighting during her childhood, Minaj lived her life through characters she created as a means of escape. She recalled that "fantasy was my reality" and stated that her first identity was "Cookie", which became "Harajuku Barbie" and later "Nicki Minaj".[141] In November 2010, Minaj assumed the alter ego "Nicki Teresa", for which she wore a colorful headdress and called herself the "healer to her fans" during as visit to the The Garden of Dreams Foundation at Fuse Studios in New York City.[142] She introduced another alter ego "Rosa", pronounced with an exaggerated "R" sound, to commemorate the Spanish-inspired nature of her appearance on Lopez Tonight in December.[143]

Minaj switches between her fast-paced Roman Zolanski persona to his mother, Martha, during this 30-second sample of "Roman Holiday".

Problems playing this file? See media help.

For Pink Friday, Minaj created another alter ego, "Roman Zolanski", which Minaj claims is her "twin brother" that was born inside her, out of rage, and that she becomes him when she is angry. She has also said he is "a demon inside her".[144] Roman has been compared to Eminem's alter ego "Slim Shady", and on the song "Roman's Revenge" from Pink Friday, Minaj and Eminem collaborate, using these alter egos.[145] On her next album, she said there would be a lot of Roman in it, "And if you're not familiar with Roman, then you will be familiar with him very soon. He's the boy that lives inside of me. He's a lunatic and he's gay and he'll be on there a lot."[146] Roman also has a "mother" called "Martha Zolanski",[147] who also appeared on "Roman's Revenge", with a British accent,[148] and on "Roman Holiday", singing for the first time.[149][150] "Martha" appears in the video for "Moment 4 Life" where she appears to be Minaj's magical godmother. In songs such as "All I Do Is Win (Remix)" it is Minaj rapping.[144] Minaj stated that on her debut album, fans will get to "meet" Nicki, Roman and Onika.[144] Minaj also produces with her management team and personal friends as Pink Friday Productions, most notable for producing in her second studio album.

Musical style

"When I started rapping, people were trying to make me like the typical New York rapper, but I'm not that," Minaj says. "No disrespect to New York rappers, but I don't want people to hear me and know exactly where I'm from."

—Minaj talking about her rapping technique in an interview with Billboard.[20]

Minaj is known for her animated rapping style, particularly her flow. She often combines metaphors, punchlines and wordplay into her work, which has received comparisons to her mentor, Lil Wayne. The New York Times described Minaj as "a sparkling rapper with a gift for comic accents and unexpected turns of phrase. She's a walking exaggeration, outsize in sound, personality and look. And she's a rapid evolver, discarding old modes as easily as adopting new ones."[151] While many critics describe her technique as bubblegum rap, Minaj explained, "What people don't know is that before I was doing that craziness I was doing me, I was just doing regular sounding rap that anyone could hear and identify with. But once I started doing all that weird shit—im not mad at it because it got everyone's attention."[152] Widely recognized as a rap artist, Minaj heavily lends herself to electronic music genres,[153] especially electropop. Her debut album Pink Friday marked her exploration of the genre, spawning a string of electro-hits, including "Super Bass".[154] Following the same conventions of combining rap with electronic synths, Minaj's second album pervasively toiled in the electropop genre and generated various songs, including "HOV Lane", "Whip It", "Automatic", "Come On A Cone", "Young Forever", and "Fire Burns",[155] and the Billboard hits, "Roman Holiday"[156] and "Beez in the Trap".[157] At this stage in Minaj's career, she adventured into collaborations with other artists, producing additional electronic hits: "The Boys" with "Me & U" singer Cassie, and "Beauty and a Beat" with Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber.[158]

Her verse in Kanye West's "Monster" was well received by critics, stating she had the best verse in the song.[159] Her alter egos are incorporated in her lyrics through her use of British accents (Roman Zolanski) and being soft-spoken (Harajuku Barbie.) Ice-T says of Minaj's rapping style, "[Minaj] does her thing. She has her own way of doing it. She has an ill vocal delivery. She kind of reminds me of a female Busta Rhymes, like how she throws her voice in different directions."[160]


Rapper Jay-Z has been one of two major influences for Minaj.

Minaj has stated that artists who have influenced her musical style include Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, Lil Wayne, Smokey Robinson, Lauryn Hill, Jadakiss, Natasha Bedingfield, Remy Ma,[161] Lil' Kim and Missy Elliott.[162][163] She has also been inspired by Janet Jackson,[164] Madonna, Britney Spears, Marilyn Monroe, Grace Jones,[165] M.I.A. and Cyndi Lauper.[166][167][168]

Minaj cites Foxy Brown and Jay-Z as major influences, saying, "I really loved [Foxy] as a female rapper. I was really interested in her mind and her aura [and] I was really, really into Jay-Z. Me and my friends in high school, we were reciting all of the Jay lyrics. His words were our words in our conversations all the time."[169] She once said, "I never really told Foxy how much she has influenced me and how much she changed my life, and you've gotta tell people that when they're alive to even be able to take the compliment, instead of paying tribute to them when they're no longer here", and added that Foxy Brown was "the most influential female rapper" for her.[170]

Jada Pinkett Smith is one of Minaj's role models in her acting career.[171] Minaj was inspired by R&B singer Monica, and used to sing her song "Why I Love You So Much" at every talent show she took part in; while performing in Atlanta on her Pink Friday Tour, she referred to Monica as one of her biggest musical influences of all time.[172] Minaj has also named Kanye West, Trina and Drake as influences.[173]

Minaj has called Betsey Johnson another of her fashion inspirations, saying, "[Betsey] is a free spirit. When I met her the other day, I felt like I knew her for my whole life. She's so warm and considerate and caring. She's amazingly talented and I've been wearing her clothes forever, so to meet her was like, 'Yay!' [I was] bowing down to her; she's dope!"[174] Minaj has also expressed her love for Cyndi Lauper's style, and how her videos inspired her image when she was a teenager, saying, "When I first went to get my hair colored, I was about 14 and I wanted blonde highlights. The beautician said, 'No, you have to get your mother on the phone,' and I was just crying and begging. I've always been experimenting. Cyndi Lauper's videos - that's what intrigued me."[175]

Products and endorsements

A plastic doll on display wearing a gauzy, pale gown with a neon pink wig and matching stilettos.
A custom-made Barbie by Mattel, modeled after Minaj

Minaj has been affiliated with several manufacturing companies and product endorsements during her career. Her first collaboration was through an endorsement with MAC Cosmetics in November 2010, which sold the lipstick "Pink 4 Friday" for four consecutive Fridays in promotion of Pink Friday.[176] Minaj helped launch the Casio TRYX in Times Square in April 2011,[177] and created a six-piece nail polish collection OPI Products with colors named after her songs in October.[178] That December, Mattel produced a custom-made Minaj-themed Barbie doll to be auctioned on charitybuzz, and was valued at approximately $US15,000.[179][180]

Minaj helped launch the Nokia Lumia 900 in Times Square in April 2012,[181] and appeared in a commercial and internet advertisements for Pepsi's "LiveForNow" campaign that May; the commercial featured a remix of "Moment 4 Life".[182][183] Minaj participated in the Viva Glam campaign with Ricky Martin in 2012, which has raised $US270 million for the Mac AIDS Fund.[184][185] With designer Jeremy Scott, Minaj signed an endorsement deal with Adidas' fall and winter 2012 campaign to appear in Internet advertisements and commercials for Adidas Originals. Set to her track "Masquerade", her segment of the advertisement was filmed in Brooklyn and also featured Big Sean, Derrick Rose, Sky Ferreira and 2NE1 in other locations worldwide.[186][187] In September 2012, Minaj launched her first fragrance Pink Friday with Give Back Brands.[188] A limited edition Pink Friday Special Edition was released in April 2013.[189]

Minaj fronted the Viva Glam campaign in 2013, which included the launch of the "Nicki 2" lipstick and lip gloss. That January, she launched "The Nicki Minaj Collection" exclusively through Kmart in January 2013, which consists of clothing, accessories, and housewares.[190][191] In February, Bluewater Comics announced that Minaj would star in the Fame biographical comic series and would make her debut in the comic book titled Fame: Nicki Minaj.[192] Minaj partnered with Beats Electronics to launch the "Pink Pill" speaker in April, and appeared with actor DeRay Davis in its commercial later that month.[193][194] In June, Minaj announced that she would front the campaign for the moscato beverage called "Myx Fusions", which she also shares ownership of.[195] Her second fragrance Minajesty was released in September 2013.[196]

Personal life

Minaj is the first and only female rapper to be featured on Forbes's Hip Hop Cash Kings list. She made her first appearance on the list in 2011, having earned US $6.5 million from May 2010 to May 2011.[197] In 2012, she ranked at No. 8 on the list, having earned US $15.5 million from May 2011 to May 2012.[198] Minaj further rose on the list in 2013, ranking at No. 4, with total earnings of US $29 million, from June 2012 to June 2013.[199] In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Minaj donated $15,000 to the Food Bank For New York City and held a turkey drive at her alma mater, P.S. 45 in New York.[200]

Minaj is a Christian.[201][202] She stated that after her father went to rehab and started attending church, "he got saved and started changing his life."[201][203]

In July 2011, Minaj's cousin Nicholas Telemaque was murdered near his home in Brooklyn, New York.[204] Minaj referenced Telemaque in the song "Champion" through the lyrics, "Cause they killed my little cousin, Nicholas/ But my memory's only happy images."[205][206]

Critics have noted Minaj's use of various sexual identities within her music,[207] with some implying that she is bisexual.[208] However, she has said that she does not date or have sex with women,[15] but added in an interview with Out magazine, "I don't date men either."[209] 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. ... But I feel like people always wanna define me and I don't wanna be defined."[210]


Since the launch of her musical career, Nicki Minaj has been involved in numerous feuds with other fellow female rappers and various musical icons alike. One of Minaj's earliest feuds occurred in 2007 with fellow female rapper Remy Ma, after Remy perceived lyrics in Minaj's freestyle record, nicknamed "Dirty Money",[211][212] as being disses towards her.[212][213] Remy addressed that she would "[diss Minaj] back for that one" and be "a problem" to Minaj once she would be released from prison.[213][214][215] Since 2010, Minaj has engaged in a longstanding feud with female rapper Lil' Kim, after Kim made accusations of Minaj copying her image.[66] The conflict between the two artists ignited a feud with another fellow female rapper, Foxy Brown, who dubbed Minaj a "liar" for making false accusations of having a conversation with her about Lil' Kim.[216] In 2011, Minaj would be entangled in feuds with pop music icon Cher and Latin female rapper Miss Lady Pinks.[217][218]

In 2012, Minaj feuded with American icon and singer Mariah Carey, after a video leaked via TMZ, showing the two not getting along on the set of American Idol.[219][220] The controversy later resulted in Minaj feuding with American journalist Barbara Walters and rock musician Steven Tyler, after Minaj falsely accused the two as "racists" over comments surrounding her American Idol feud with Mariah Carey.[221][222] The conflict also drew female rap veteran Da Brat into the fray after false reports surfaced of Brat defending Carey and threatening to beat Minaj with a bottle.[223][224] Minaj in response denounced Da Brat as a "sir" and tweeted: "The struggle for u to even AFFORD that bottle is why the barbz r now cackling DOWNNNt."[223][225] Da Brat responded: "Nicki nor Mariah has ever disrespected me so I would not disrespect either of them."[224][225] In June 2014, Minaj has engaged in a subtle feud with musician Iggy Azalea after Minaj reportedly mocked Azalea during her performance at the annual BET Awards,[226] and made comments suggesting that she wrote her own recordings and implied that Azalea did not.[227] The accusations has since then drawn comments and opinionative takes from Nick Young and hip-hop artist T.I.[228][229][230]




See also


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