Nicki Minaj, born Onika Tanya Maraj, was born December 8, 1982 in Saint James, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago. She is the second youngest child of her parents, Kenneth and Marilyn Maraj. Her father is Trinidadian while her mother is American. Her siblings are twin brothers named Kamaal and Malique.
Minaj grew up listening to music such as Michael Jackson, Prince, Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Lionel Richie, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Luther Vandross, Barry White, Anita Baker, Aaliyah, Faith Evans, Destiny’s Child, Brandy, Mary J Blige, Beyoncé Knowles, Alicia Keys, Rihanna, Ciara, Monica Bellucci, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez and Barbra Streisand.
She began performing at age 10. At 13 she performed on stage with her brother at his birthday party. In 1999, she signed a recording contract with LaFace Records and released her debut album Pink Friday. She went on to release three additional studio albums: Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, Pink Friday: Roman Zolomon and Pink Friday: Money Make Me…
In 2005, Minaj became one of the world’s highest paid entertainers with earnings of $15 million. She earned over $4.5 million dollars in 2007 alone. Minaj is known for her distinctive voice and fashion sense. She is often referred to as Queen Bee.
On August 30th, 2010, Minaj married rapper Safaree Samuels. They had been dating since 2008. After five months of marriage, Minaj filed for divorce citing irreconcilable differences. Their divorce was finalized on February 7th, 2011.
In 2012, Minaj released two singles; “Mommy Like”, featuring Lil Wayne and “Super Bass”. Both songs charted well on Billboard Hot 100. She later announced that she was pregnant with her first child. However, it turned out to be false. On May 31st, 2013, Minaj gave birth to her daughter Ariana Grande.
Her fourth studio album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded was released on October 29th, 2013. Its lead single was titled “Roman Holiday.” It peaked at number 2 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
Life and career
Onika Tanya Maraj (born December 8, 1982) is an American singer, songwriter, rapper, actress, fashion designer, producer and entrepreneur. In addition to being signed to Def Jam Recordings, she has released three studio albums—Pink Friday (2010), Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (2012) and The Pinkprint (2014)—and one mixtape album, Love And War (2011). She has collaborated with several artists including Kanye West, Rihanna and Eminem. Aside from music, Minaj has established herself as a fashion icon. She has designed clothing lines such as Rocawear and Young Money Clothing Group, and launched her own jewelry collection under her label XO, Inc.
Early life and childhood
Maraj was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, and raised in Saint James, a suburb of Port of Spain. Her parents are Robert Maraj and Carol Maraj; she has four siblings, brothers Jelani Maraj and Robert Jr., sister Keshia, and younger brother Daniel. When she was five months old, her family moved to the United States, where they settled in New Jersey. Maraj attended high school in Maplewood, New Jersey, graduating from Union Catholic Regional High School in 2001.
In 2005, while still attending college, Maraj auditioned for the reality show Making the Band 2, which aired on MTV2. She won the competition and went on tour with the group. Afterward, she continued to work at the record store Urban Outfitters, where she met future collaborator 50 Cent. He later introduced her to his manager, Jerry Heller, who became her mentor. During this period, she began writing songs and performing in local venues.
Maraj eventually landed a recording contract with Universal Records, and recorded her debut single “Stupid Hoe”, produced by Rico Beats. Despite mixed reviews, the song peaked at number 21 on Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart. In 2007, she released her second single, “Get Like Me”. This song received better reviews, reaching number seven on the same chart. She followed up with another single, “Right By My Side”, featuring rapper Lil’ Kim. The song reached number six on the US Bubbling Under R&B/HIP-Hop Singles chart.
After signing a management deal with Heller, she changed her name from Onika Tanya Maraji to Onika Tanya Mariah Dijon Fierro, shortened to Onika Tanya. She later dropped the middle initial M because she felt it didn’t fit her image. Onika Tanya’s debut studio album, titled Onika, was originally scheduled to be released in 2008, but was delayed due to Heller’s legal issues. The album was ultimately shelved.
2004–2009: Career beginnings and mixtapes
On May 12, 2005, Minaj released her debut single, “Superhead”, featuring Lil’ Kim. On November 14, 2006, Minaj released her second single “Get Like Me”. Both songs failed to make it onto the charts.
In late April 2007, Minaj announced that she had been dropped from Island Def Jam Records and was now recording under Universal Motown Records. She also revealed that she had signed a publishing deal with Warner/Chappell Music.
Minaj released her third single, “Check It Out”, on September 18, 2007. It peaked at number twenty-seven on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart. Her fourth single, “Right Thru Me”, was released on January 22, 2008, peaking at number forty-four on the US Billboard Hot 100.
Her fifth single, “Stupid Hoe”, was released on October 30, 2008, reaching number thirty-two on the US Billboard Hot Rap Tracks chart. Her sixth single, “Make Love”, was released on December 10, 2008, reaching number sixty-five on the US Hot R&B/hip hop Songs chart.
On June 26, 2009, Minaj performed at the MTV Video Music Awards along with Kanye West, 50 Cent, Jay Z, Rihanna, Britney Spears, Eminem, Drake, Nicki Minaj, Miley Cyrus, Justin Timberlake, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Usher, Alicia Keys, Chris Brown, Ne-Yo, T.I., Nelly Furtado, Akon, Flo Rida, Robin Thicke, Timbaland, Pharrell Williams, John Legend, DJ Khaled, Fat Joe, Swizz Beatz, Nas, Ludacris, Ciara, Jamie Foxx, Pitbull, Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliott, Big Sean, Wiz Khalifa, Jadakiss, Keri Hilson, Diddy, Common, Kid Ink, Fabolous, B.o.B, Young Jeezy, Jim Jones, Snoop Dogg, Andre 3000, 2 Chainz, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Wale, Omarion, Eve, Tyga, and Aaliyah.
She released her seventh single, “Your Love”, on August 11, 2009, reaching number seventy-one on the US Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart. Her eighth single, “Moments”, was released on October 13, 2009, becoming her highest charting single on the US Billboard Hot 200, reaching number ninety-eight.
On February 25, 2010, Minaj released her ninth single, “My Hair”, which reached number fifty-nine on the US Billboard Hot Digital Songs chart. Her tenth single, “Can’t Let You Go”, was released on April 28, 2010, peaking at number eighty-three on the US Billboard Hot Singles Sales chart.