The rapper known as Nicki Minaj burst onto the music scene in 2010 with her debut album Pink Friday, becoming one of the most popular female rappers in hip hop history. She earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Rap Album for 2012’s Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded and went on to release several successful albums including 2013’s Pink Friday :Roman Reloaded 2, 2014’s The Pinkprint, 2016’s Queen and 2017’s Starships. Her latest album, 2018’s Queen + Adam Lambert, debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart.
Minaj began performing professionally at age 14, touring across North America with rap group B2K. In 2007 she signed with Young Money Entertainment and released her debut single “Super Bass,” which topped the charts in Canada and New Zealand. The song became the best selling digital download in the United States.
In 2009 she released her second studio album Pink Friday, which included the singles “Your Love”, “Mommy Like Me” and “Stupid Hoe”. The album peaked at number three on the US Billboard 200 chart and produced five hit singles, including the worldwide smash “Starships.”
Her third studio album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, released in 2011, reached number one in over 20 countries, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and USA. It was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and sold 1 million copies worldwide. Its lead single, “Anaconda,” featuring Lil Wayne, became Minaj’s first top ten hit in the U.
Life and career
Onika Tanya Maraj is best known for being signed to Def Jam Records and releasing her debut album Pink Friday in November 2009. She has since released four studio albums—2010’s Pink Friday; 2011’s The Pinkprint; 2013’s Love Me Now; and 2017’s Queen. During the 2010s, she became one of hip hop’s most successful female artists, selling over 4 million units worldwide and receiving six Grammy Award nominations. In 2012, Forbes named her among the world’s highest paid musicians, placing her at number five.
Early life and childhood
Minaj was born on December 7, 1982, in the city of Port of Spain, in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, to parents Robert Maraj and Carol Maraj. Her father was a Trinidadian
– He was a member of the Trini Boody Band, a group formed in the 1970s that included his brothers Michael Maraj and Derrick Maraj.
– They lived together in a house in Saint James, where her mother was often away performing as part of the band.
– Her father died of cancer in January 2021, aged 57.
– Her mother later married a man named John Charles.
2004–2009: Career beginnings and mixtapes
In 2004, Minaj began recording music under the name Nicki Minaj, releasing her debut albumin April 2008. She later changed her stage name to Nicki Minaj, inspired by the rapper Queen Latifah’s character of the same name in the filmand the rapper Lil’ Kim’s alter ego, Nicki Minaj. Minaj’s second studio albumwas released in October 2009. Her third record,was released in June 2011. On December 14, 2012, her fourth album,was released.
On January 12, 2013, Minaj released her fifth album,which debuted atop the US Billboard 200 albums chart. The album sold over 500,000 copies during its first week of release. Its lead single, “Your Love”, peaked within the top 10 of several charts worldwide, including number one in Australia and New Zealand, and the UK Singles Chart. The album’s second single, “Only,” reached number six on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the charts in Canada and Ireland.
Minaj performed at the Super Bowl XLVIII halftime show on February 2, 2014, where she was joined by Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus.
2010–2011: Breakthrough with Pink Friday
The release of Pink Friday marked the beginning of Minaj’s rise to fame within hip hop music. She began rapping at age 14 and recorded songs throughout high school. After graduating high school, she moved to New York City where she worked as a waitress and performed at open mic nights. At 21, she signed with Young Money Entertainment, releasing her first mixtape titled MySpace Music: Volume One in 2006. This led to her signing a record deal with Cash Money Records and being named one of Vibe magazine’s Top 10 Artists To Watch in 2007.
In 2008, she released her first studio album entitled Pink Friday, which debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 chart and sold over 441,000 copies in its first week. Its lead single, “Your Love,” became a hit on urban radio stations and topped the charts in Australia, Canada, Ireland, Scotland, and Sweden. It peaked at number four on the US Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart. The following singles, “Right By Your Side” and “Stupid Hoe,” both reached the top ten on the same chart. Pink Friday spawned several successful remixes, including versions produced by DJ Khaled, Travie McCoy, and Lil Wayne.
2012–2013: Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded and American Idol
Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded was originally slated to be released in September 2011, but it was pushed back twice due to delays in recording sessions and production. In January 2012, Minaj announced that she had begun working on her follow-up to The Pinkprint, stating, “I’m really excited about my next project. I’ve been writing a lot.” She added, “The process is taking longer than expected because I want to make sure everything is perfect.” On February 7, 2012, Minaj revealed that she had recorded enough material for a double album, explaining, “There are a couple of songs that I didn’t finish. But we’re gonna put out the best record possible.” A few days later, she stated that she hoped to release Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded by the end of summer 2012, though she did not specify whether the album would be a part of her Pink Friday Tour.
On March 29, 2012, Minaj confirmed that she had finished recording the album and that it would be released sometime during the spring of 2012. She also revealed that she had written some of the music herself and collaborated with several producers, including Dr. Luke, Diplo, RedOne, and Hit Boy.
2014–2017: The Pinkprint and acting ventures
In December 2012, Minaj signed a recording contract with Republic Records. She began working with producers such as DJ Khaled, Dr. Dre, Boi-1da, Travie McCoy, Hit-Boy, Mike WiLL Made-It, and others. On February 17, 2013, Minaj released her debut studio album, . The album debuted atop the US Billboard 200 chart, selling over 150,000 copies in its first week, becoming the fastest female album to reach number one since Rihanna’s Rated R (2009). The album spawned five singles—”Super Bass”, “Anaconda”, “Make Me Proud”, “Flawless”, and “Shake It Off”—which became successful worldwide. In addition, “Anaconda” reached number one on the US Hot 100, making Minaj the first rapper ever to achieve this feat. The album earned Minaj four Grammy Award nominations, winning Best Rap Album and Best Rap Solo Performance for “Anaconda”. Additionally, Minaj won Best Rap Collaboration for “Anaconda”, along with Best Rap Song for “Anaconda”. Her follow up studio album The Pinkprint was released on October 28, 2014. The album debuted at number one in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK, and peaked within the top ten in nearly every major market around the globe. Its first single, “Boss”, topped the charts in several countries, while “Bed” and “Don’t Tell ‘Em” both peaked inside the top twenty in the US. In November 2014, Minaj performed at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards, where she won three awards, including Record Of The Year and Best Rap Album for The Pinkprint. In January 2015, Minaj headlined her fourth concert tour, titled The Queen Tour. During the same month, Minaj was named MTV Video Music Awards’ Artist To Watch. Later that year, Minaj starred in the biographical drama film Bangerz, based on Nicki Minaj’s life. The soundtrack for the film, featuring songs from Minaj herself, was released on June 22, 2015. In 2016, Minaj collaborated with Lil Wayne on his tenth studio album I Am Not a Human Being II. In 2017, Minaj released her fifth studio album, Queen. On September 7, 2018, Minaj announced that she had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. In August 2018, Minaj revealed that she was pregnant with twins. On October 11, 2018, Minaj gave birth to twin girls, Kulture Kiara Naiya Joy and King Cairo.
2018–2019: Queen and marriage
In June 2017, Minaj announced that her fourth studio album, titled Queen, would be released on October 27, 2018. On July 28, 2018, Minaj revealed the cover art for the album along with the tracklisting and release date. Later on, it was reported that the album had been pushed back to November 9, 2018, due to production issues. However, in January 2018, Minaj stated that the album would still be released in early 2018. In April 2018, Minaj confirmed that there would be no single from the album prior to the album’s release. On May 16, 2018, Minaj posted a photo of herself wearing a wedding dress on Instagram, and later that day, she officially announced that she was engaged to rapper Offset. On June 8, 2018, Minaj announced that the album would be delayed again, this time until late summer/early fall. On July 31, 2018, Minaj shared the artwork for the album’s second single, “Barbie Tingz”, and on August 2, 2018, she tweeted that the album would be coming out on August 10, 2018, the same day as her performance at the 2018 MTV VideoMusic Awards.
2020–2021: Motherhood, Beam Me Up Scotty re-release, and lawsuit
In January 2020, Minaj revealed that she was pregnant with her second child. On February 10, she announced via Instagram that she was expecting a boy. On April 9, she shared a photo of herself holding her baby bump on social media. A few days later, she tweeted out a picture of her son, writing, “My precious angel.”
On June 24, Minaj posted a video clip of herself singing along to Meghan Trainor’s hit song “Nice To Meet Ya”, featuring vocals from Trainor and guest appearances by Minaj, Cardi B, and Nicki Minaj. The cover version of the track received positive reviews from critics.
Minaj released her fourth mixtape,, on October 4, 2020. Its lead single, “Beam Me Up Scottie”, features guest verses from Drake, Future, Young Thug, Travis Scott, and Quavo. The project contains production by Metro Boomin, DJ Mustard, Murda Beatz, Southside, Sonny Digital, WondaGurl, and others.
The following month, Minaj filed a lawsuit against former manager Scooter Braun over unpaid royalties. Her lawyers claimed that he owed her $2 million and accused him of fraud. They asked for a jury trial.