The rapper born Roman GianArthur Reid debuted her debut album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded on Dec. 8, 2012. She followed it up with three more studio albums, including Anaconda (2014), Queen (2016) and The Pinkprint (2018). Her fifth album, Queen 2, came out earlier this week, and she just dropped a music video for “Chun-Li.”
2004–2009: Career beginnings and mixtapes
In 2004, Minaj began making music under the name Nicki Minaj, releasing her debut single, “Roman Holiday”, on November 15, 2008. On May 19, 2009, she released her second single, “Your Love”. Her third single, “Moments”, was released on June 10, 2009. She released her fourth single, “Stupid Hoe”, on August 31, 2009. On September 3, 2009, Minaj released her fifth single, “I Am Your Leader”, featuring Lil Wayne. On October 29, 2009, Minaj performed at the MTV Video Music Awards.
On January 21, 2010, Minaj released her sixth single, “Right By My Side”, featuring Kanye West. On April 14, 2010, Minaj performed at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. On May 11, 2010, Minaj was announced as one of the performers at the 2010 BET Hip Hop Awards. On July 22, 2010, Minaj won Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist at the Teen Choice Awards. On September 20, 2010, Minaj appeared on American Idol as a guest judge during the Top 4 week. On December 9, 2010, Minaj received three nominations at the 2011 Grammy Awards, including Best New Artist and Record of the Year for “Your Love”. On January 26, 2011, Minaj performed at Radio City Music Hall. On
2010–2011: Breakthrough with Pink Friday
In 2009, Minaj signed a record deal with Young Money Entertainment/Cash Money Records. She began working on her debut studio album, titled Pink Friday, which was released on November 19th, 2010. Throughout production of the album, she worked with several producers such as Swizz Beatz, DJ Mustard, Bink!, Hit-Boy, RZA, Kanye West, Jeezy, Eminem, and others.
Pink Friday sold over 750,000 units during its first week of release, becoming the fastest selling hip hop album since 50 Cent’s Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ in 2003. The album debuted at number 2 on the US Billboard 200 chart, behind Eminem’s Recovery, which became his sixth consecutive #1 album and seventh overall. The following week, Pink Friday moved up to become the number one album, making Minaj the first female rapper to do so since Lauryn Hill did so with 1998’s The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill. As of January 2011, the album has been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
Minaj’s debut single, “Super Bass,” was released on June 15, 2010. The song peaked at number 14 on the US Hot 100. Its music video features cameo appearances by Drake, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown, Tyga, and Fabolous. It also featured a remix version that included verses from T.I., Rick Ross, Lloyd Banks, and Birdman. In addition to being the lead single for the soundtrack to the film Step Up Revolution, the song is featured in the trailer for the movie Grown Ups 2.
2012–2013: Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded and American Idol
Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded was originally released on April 2,
The album was preceded by the
Promotional singles “Anaconda”, “Right By My Side”, and “Stupid Hoe”. On August 24, 2011, Minaj announced that Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded would be delayed due to creative differences with record label Interscope Records. She stated that the delay would allow her to focus on work on her upcoming sophomore studio album. On January 31, 2012, Minaj announced that she had signed a joint recording contract with Def Jam Recordings and Republic Records. This meant that her third studio album would now be released under both labels.
On February 9, 2012, Minaj revealed the cover art for Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded. On February 11, 2012, Minaj performed “Starships” live during the Super Bowl XLVI halftime show. On February 12, 2012, Minaj premiered the music video for “Starships” on MTV. During the same day, it was confirmed that Pink Friday: Roman Reload would be released on April 2, 2013.
Minaj embarked on the Pink Friday: Reloaded tour in support of the album on May 16, 2012. The tour visited North America, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, South Africa, Europe, and Latin America. After several dates were cancelled, the tour ended on September 30, 2012.
In March 2013, Minaj appeared on the second season of Fox’s singing competition series, The X Factor. Her performance of “Your Love” earned her three out of four judges’ votes, but failed to make it into the top ten.
2014–2017: The Pinkprint and acting ventures
Minaj’s debut studio album, The Pinkprint, was released on June 15, 2014. The album debuted atop the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 531,000 copies in its first week, becoming Minaj’s highest first-week sales tally at the time and breaking the record held by Drake’s Thank Me Later. On August 7, 2014, Minaj became the first female rapper to earn five consecutive number one albums on the Billboard 200, following up her previous four releases—Pink Friday (2010), Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (2012), Pink Friday: Girls Night Out (2013), and Pink Friday: All About the Boys (2015).
The Pinkprint earned critical acclaim upon release, earning numerous accolades, including a spot on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 50 best albums of the 2010s. The album won several awards, including the BET Hip Hop Awards’ award for Top Female Artist, MTV Video Music Award for Video of the Year, and the American Music Award for Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Album. The Pinkprint also earned Minaj two Grammy Award nominations, including Best Rap Album and Best Rap Solo Performance for “Anaconda”. Her performance of “Anaconda”, featuring Nicki Minaj, Eminem and Beyoncé Knowles, was nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
2018–2019: Queen and marriage
After a four-year break from releasing music, Nicki Minaj returned to the scene with her fourth studio album She. The album arrived on August 10, 2018, and it immediately became one of the most anticipated releases of the year. Its lead single, “Queen,” had been teased since June 2017, and it eventually came out on July 25, 2018. The song proved to be a huge success, reaching the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and becoming Minaj’s third consecutive number-one hit.
The second single off the album, “Barbie Tingz,” was released on October 5, 2018. It peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached the top ten in several countries including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Sweden.
Meanwhile, Minaj performed at the MTV Video Music Awards where her latest single, “Chun-Li,” took home the award for Best Rap/Hip Hop Song. On September 7, 2018, Minaj was announced as the headliner for the 2018 edition of the Made in America festival. However, she suffered a wardrobe malfunction during the performance of her hit single “Super Bass.”
In September, Minaj coheadlined the annual Made In America festival and shared the stage with Eminem, Travis Scott, Future, Post Malone, Big Sean, Cardi B, Migos, and many others.
2020–2021: Motherhood, Beam Me Up Scotty re-release, and lawsuit
Minaj has been busy over the past few months. On June 25, she revealed that she had given birth to a baby boy named Eazy Nelson II. He weighed 7 pounds, 3 ounces, and measured 19 inches long. Minaj shared photos of herself cradling her newborn son and wrote about how much he loves his mommy.
On August 2, Minaj announced via Instagram Live that she would soon release a remixed version of her hit song “Stupid Hoe” featuring fellow rapper Cardi B. The remix, titled “Nice To Meet Ya”, features guest vocals from American singer-songwriter and record producer Meghan Trainor. The track premiered on August 5 via Apple Music and Spotify.
The following day, Minaj published a video announcing that she and fellow rapper Doja Cat are collaborating on two remixes of Doja Cat’s song “Say So.” The remixes, called “Treat Myself” and “In Case You Didn’t Know,” feature additional vocals from Minaj and were released on August 8 and 9 respectively. Both songs peaked at number one on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart.
On October 28, Minaj filed a $10 million lawsuit against former collaborator DJ Khaled over unpaid royalties. The suit claims that Khaled failed to pay out money owed to her under her contract while promoting his albums Suffering From Success (2010), I Changed Lanes (2012), Father Of Asahd (2013), and We the Best Forever (2015).