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Nicki Minaj

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Nicki Minaj
Nicki Minaj MTV VMAs 4.jpg
Minaj in 2018
Onika Tanya Maraj

(1982-12-08) December 8, 1982 (age 38)
Saint James, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
EducationFiorello H. LaGuardia High School
  • Rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • actress
Years active2004–present
Kenneth Petty
(m. 2019)
Partner(s)Safaree Samuels (2000–2014)
Meek Mill (2015–2017)
AwardsFull list
Musical career
OriginNew York City, U.S.
Associated acts
  • 6ix9ine
  • Ariana Grande
  • Chris Brown
  • David Guetta
  • Drake
  • Lil Wayne
  • Madonna
  • Meek Mill

Onika Tanya Maraj-Petty (born December 8, 1982), known professionally as Nicki Minaj (/mɪˈnɑːʒ/), is a Trinidadian-born[a] rapper, singer, and songwriter.[5][6] She is known for her animated flow in her rapping and versatility as a recording artist.[7][8]

Born in the Saint James district of Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago and raised in Queens of New York City, she gained public recognition after releasing the mixtapes Playtime Is Over (2007), Sucka Free (2008), and Beam Me Up Scotty (2009). Early in her career, Minaj became known for her colorful costumes and wigs, her distinct flow, and the use of alter egos and accents, primarily British cockney.[9] In 2010, Minaj released her debut studio album, Pink Friday (2010), which was certified triple-platinum by RIAA,[10] and peaked at number-one on the Billboard 200 chart. Minaj's first top-five single "Super Bass" peaked at number three, at the time became the highest-charting solo song by a female rapper since 2002.[11] Her second album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (2012), saw Minaj move towards a dance-pop and pop rap sound. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200,[12] with its lead single, "Starships", peaking at number five on the Hot 100. Minaj's third and fourth studio albums, The Pinkprint (2014) and Queen (2018), marked a departure from her previous style and a return to her hip hop roots. The former's second single "Anaconda" peaked at number two on the Hot 100.

Her feature on the remix of Doja Cat's "Say So" and her collaboration with 6ix9ine, "Trollz", both released in 2020, marked her first and second number-one singles on the Hot 100, respectively, with the latter making her the second female rapper to debut at number one, following Lauryn Hill in 1998.[13] Including features, Minaj is the female artist with the second-most entries on the Hot 100, behind singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, with each accumulating over 100.[14] She has nineteen top 10 singles on the chart, the most for any female rapper so far, with four of those being solo songs.[15] Her collaboration with Karol G, "Tusa", became the longest-running number-one single in Argentina, with a total of over five months.[16] Her 2021 rerelease of her 2009 mixtape Beam Me Up Scotty debuted at number two on the Billboard 200, becoming the highest debut for a female rap mixtape on the chart.[17][18]

Minaj is one of the best selling female artists of all time with 100 million records sold worldwide.[19] Her numerous accolades include eight American Music Awards, five MTV Video Music Awards, twelve BET Awards, four Billboard Music Awards, a Brit Award, and a Guinness World Record. Billboard ranked her as the top female rapper of the 2010s, as well as seventh among the top female artists of the decade.[20][21] In 2016, Time included Minaj on their annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.[22] Outside of music, Minaj's film career has included voice roles in the animated films Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012) and The Angry Birds Movie 2 (2019) as well as supporting roles in the comedy films The Other Woman (2014) and Barbershop: The Next Cut (2016). She also appeared as a judge on the twelfth season of American Idol in 2013.

Early life

Onika Tanya Maraj was born in Saint James on December 8, 1982.[23][24] Her father was Robert Maraj (1956-2021),[25] a financial executive and part-time gospel singer of Dougla (Afro-Trinidadian mother and Indo-Trinidadian father) descent.[26] Her mother, Carol Maraj, is also a gospel singer with Afro-Trinidadian ancestry.[27] Carol worked in payroll and accounting departments during Minaj's youth.[28][29] Minaj's father was addicted to alcohol and crack cocaine[30] and had a violent temper, burning down their house in December 1987.[31] She has an older brother named Jelani, a younger brother named Micaiah, and a younger sister named Ming.

As a child, Minaj and her older brother, Jelani, grew up with her grandmother in Saint James in a household with 11 cousins.[31] Minaj's mother, Carol Maraj, was working numerous jobs in Saint James before getting her Green Card at the age of 24. She then moved to the Bronx in New York City to attend Monroe College leaving both Minaj and Jelani in Trinidad with their grandmother. Eventually, when Minaj was five, Carol got her first house on 147th Street in South Jamaica, Queens and migrated both Minaj and Jelani to live with her and their father.[31] Minaj recalled, "I don't think I had a lot of discipline in my household. My mom motivated me, but it wasn't a strict household. I kind of wanted a strict household."[32] Minaj successfully auditioned for admission to Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, which focuses on visual and performing arts.[23] After graduation, Minaj wanted to become an actress, and she was cast in the Off-Broadway play In Case You Forget in 2001.[33]

At the age of 19, as she struggled with her acting career, she worked as a waitress at a Red Lobster in the Bronx, but was fired for discourtesy to customers.[34] She said she was fired from "at least 15 jobs" for similar reasons.[35] Other jobs included customer service representative and office management on Wall Street. Minaj recalls buying a BMW as a 19 year old with the money from waitressing.[36]


2004−2009: Career beginnings

Minaj briefly signed with Brooklyn group Full Force, in which she rapped in a quartet called The Hoodstars composed of Lou$tar (son of "Bowlegged Lou"), Safaree Samuels (Scaff Beezy) and 7even Up.[37][38] In 2004, the group recorded the entrance song for WWE Diva Victoria, "Don't Mess With", which was featured on the compilation album ThemeAddict: WWE The Music, Vol.6. Minaj later left Full Force and uploaded songs on her Myspace profile, sending several of her songs to people in the music industry. Later, Fendi, CEO of Brooklyn label Dirty Money Entertainment, signed Minaj to his label in 2007 under a 180-day contract.[39] Originally adopting the stage name Nicki Maraj, she eventually changed it to Nicki Minaj stating that "my real name is Maraj. Fendi flipped it when he met me because I had such a nasty flow!"[40]

Minaj released her first mixtape, Playtime Is Over, on July 5, 2007,[41] and her second, Sucka Free, on April 12, 2008.[42] That year, she was named Female Artist of the Year at the 2008 Underground Music Awards.[43] She released her third mixtape, Beam Me Up Scotty, on April 18, 2009;[44] it received favorable coverage on BET and MTV.[45][46] At the time, she was managed by Debra Antney. One of its tracks, "I Get Crazy", reached number 20 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Rap Songs chart and number 37 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[47] After Minaj was discovered by fellow rapper Lil Wayne,[48] in August 2009 it was reported that she signed a recording contract with his Young Money Entertainment.[49] That November, she appeared with Gucci Mane and Trina on the remix of "5 Star Bitch" by Yo Gotti.[50]

In early February 2010, Minaj made her first two appearances on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with her features on "Knockout" and "Up Out My Face" by Lil Wayne and Mariah Carey respectively.[51][52] Minaj also appeared on "BedRock" and "Roger That"[53] on the compilation album, We Are Young Money (2009).[54] The singles peaked at numbers two and 56, respectively, on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100;[55] their parent album reached number nine on the U.S. Billboard 200, and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[55][56] At Jay-Z's suggestion, Robin Thicke featured Minaj on his single "Shakin' It 4 Daddy".[57] Allison Stewart of The Washington Post stated that, during that time, she "became the go-to girl for artists who wanted to add some skank to their tracks without sullying themselves in the process".[58] Minaj became the first female solo artist to have seven singles simultaneously charting on the Billboard Hot 100.[59]

2010–2011: Breakthrough with Pink Friday

Minaj performing in 2010

On March 29, 2010, Minaj released "Massive Attack".[60] Intended as the lead single from her forthcoming debut album, Pink Friday,[61] the song was dropped from the album due to poor commercial performance[62] and the next single, "Your Love", released on June 1, became the album's lead single,[63] peaking at number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the Billboard Rap Songs chart.[47] In September, Minaj released "Check It Out" and "Right Thru Me" as follow-up singles.[64][65] She also became the first female rap artist to ever perform at Yankee Stadium in 2010.[66]

In October, Minaj was featured on Kanye West's "Monster", with her verse receiving critical acclaim and many critics regarding it as the best verse; The Village Voice's Sean Fennessey stated that "Monster" was the track that announced Minaj's "brilliance" to most people.[67] Complex rated Minaj's "Monster" verse as the number-one best rap verse in the past five years.[68] Lauren Nostro of Complex wrote: "Once the beat drops, we meet the many faces of Nicki Minaj. [...] Her performance has the power, years after its release, makes you stop dead in your tracks. Altering her vocal style on every line, she bounces her wordplay from Giuseppe Zanotti shoes to Tony Matterhorn's "Dutty Wine" to suggesting a ménage à trois with Kanye and his then-girlfriend Amber Rose. [...] It was clear, she did her thing alongside the best in the game—she stole the show, in fact, outshined them all." In November 2010, Minaj received her first Grammy Award nomination for her guest verse on Ludacris' song "My Chick Bad".[69]

Pink Friday was released on November 19, 2010,[70] debuting at number two on the Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 375,000 copies.[71] Upon release, the album received generally positive reviews from critics. Sam Wolfson of NME complimented Minaj's "pop sensibility" and found her "volatility and quirks ... reminiscent of heyday Lil Wayne".[72] Entertainment Weekly's Brad Wete commended Minaj's "knack for melody" and "boasting lyrics".[73] Allison Stewart of The Washington Post wrote that the album "nibbles at the edges of what female rappers are allowed to do, even as it provides a steady helping of pop hits".[74] The album was certified platinum in December, and eventually reached number one in the United States in February 2011.[75] Pink Friday became the first solo album by a female rapper to go platinum in seven years.[76]

"Moment 4 Life" was released as the fourth single from Pink Friday shortly after the album's release.[77] The song serves as the third single off the album, released as a single on December 7, 2010. Minaj performed "Right Thru Me" and "Moment 4 Life" as the musical guest on the January 29, 2011 episode of Saturday Night Live.[78] "Super Bass", the album's fifth single, was released in April 2011,[79] and became a sleeper hit and commercial success; it ultimately peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and was eventually certified octuple-platinum in the U.S.[47][80] At the time, Super Bass was the highest charting solo single by a female rapper since Missy Elliott's Work It. The music video has 900 million views on YouTube as of August 2021.[81][82]

Minaj was one of the opening acts on Britney Spears' 2011 Femme Fatale Tour.[83] She and Kesha appeared on the remix of Spears' "Till the World Ends", which peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100.[84] On August 7, 2011, Nicki experienced a "nip slip" during a live performance on Good Morning America. Minaj was criticized for wearing the low-cut shirt during her performance which led to the brief exposure of her breast on a live telecast. ABC apologized for incident.[85] Minaj, while interviewed on ABC's Nightline show, apologized for the incident and denied that she intentionally sought to expose herself on live television as a publicity stunt.[86] The incident attracted protest from the Parents Television Council.[87] Despite this, Minaj continued to perform at high-profile events throughout 2011; Donatella Versace invited her to perform with Prince for the introduction of a Versace collection for H&M, and she performed "Super Bass" at the 2011 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.[88] In December 2011, Minaj was nominated for three Grammy Awards, including Best New Artist and Best Rap Album for Pink Friday.[89] Also that year, she won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Hip-Hop Video for "Super Bass", marking her first VMA win.[90]

2012–2013: Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded and The Re-Up

Minaj performing in London, England on the Pink Friday Tour in 2012

"Starships" was released in February 2012 as the lead single from Minaj's forthcoming second album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded.[91] The song reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100,[47] and went on to become the fifth best-selling single of 2012 and one of the best-selling digital singles of all time.[92] Minaj's crossover into pop music was criticized by some, despite her commercial success.[93] Minaj was sued by Chicago artist Clive Tanaka in September 2013 for its alleged copyright infringement.[94] Follow-up singles "Beez in the Trap" and "Right by My Side" were released shortly after.[95][96] Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded was eventually released on April 2, 2012, two months later than planned.[97] The album was preceded by the promotional singles "Roman in Moscow" and "Stupid Hoe".[98][99] The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 253,000 copies,[71] and was certified platinum by the RIAA in June 2012.[100] However, its mix of hip-hop songs and mainstream pop material received mixed reviews from music critics.[101] Randall Roberts of the Los Angeles Times commended its "minimal, bouncy hip-hop tracks" for highlighting Minaj's "charm and achievement", but wrote that the "disjointed, artistically confused" album "drives off a cliff" with "dance pop songs as simple as they are generic".[102] Slant Magazine's Matthew Cole panned it as a "mediocre rap album".[103] In a positive review for Rolling Stone, journalist Jody Rosen called it a "filler-free mega-pop album" and commented that "the energy never flags".[104] "Pound the Alarm" and "Va Va Voom" were later released as the final singles from the album.[105][106] Minaj and rapper M.I.A. joined Madonna to perform the single, "Give Me All Your Luvin'", during the Super Bowl XLVI halftime show on February 6, 2012.[107] Minaj was the first solo female rapper to perform at the Grammy Awards, premiering "Roman Holiday" during the 2012 ceremony on February 12.[108] Her exorcism-themed performance was controversial, with the American Catholic League criticizing Minaj for bringing a fake "Pope" to escort her on the red carpet. The "exorcism" scene that was performed during her appearance was criticized as well.[109][110] Catholic League president Bill Donohue called Minaj's performance "vulgar".[110][111]

Minaj's visuals (pictured) on Madonna's MDNA tour, during a performance of "I Don't Give A" in 2012

Minaj began her headlining Pink Friday Tour on May 16, 2012,[112] which was followed by the Pink Friday: Reloaded Tour beginning October 14, 2012.[113] Although she was scheduled to headline the June 3 Hot 97 Summer Jam at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, at the request of Lil Wayne she canceled her appearance the day of the show after Peter Rosenberg of the station dismissed her single "Starships" as "not real hip-hop".[114]

The following month, Minaj voiced Steffie in the animated film Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012).[115] She won 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.[116] Her collaboration with Pearl Future on the song "Looking At Me" made it to the top 20 in BBC Radio 1.[117] An expanded version of Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, subtitled The Re-Up, was released on November 19, 2012.[118] That month, Minaj was the subject of a three-part E! documentary titled Nicki Minaj: My Truth.[119] She announced plans for her own record label after signing Parker Ighile, Brinx, Keisha, and Blackout Movement.[120]

In September, Minaj joined the judges' panel for the twelfth season of American Idol with Mariah Carey, Keith Urban, and Randy Jackson.[121] Throughout the show there were disagreements between Carey and Minaj.[122][123][124] Minaj left the series at the end of the season.[125]

2014–2017: The Pinkprint and other ventures

Minaj's first live-action theatrical film The Other Woman was filmed in spring 2013 and premiered on April 25, 2014.[126] She played Lydia, assistant to Carly (played by Cameron Diaz).[127][128] In 2013, Minaj described her then-forthcoming third album, The Pinkprint, as "a continuation of The Re-Up with a lot more" and said it would focus on her "hip-hop roots".[129][130] During an MTV interview, she said that her third album would be "next level" and that she has "much to talk about".[131]

In February 2014, Malcolm X's daughter Ilyasah Shabazz voiced her displeasure by the artwork of her slain father used "inappropriately" for Minaj's single "Lookin' Ass Nigga".[132] A statement from the Malcolm X estate read: "Ms. Minaj's artwork for her single does not depict the truth of Malcolm X's legacy, is completely disrespectful, and in no way is endorsed by [Shabazz or the Malcolm X] family."[132] Minaj released an apology to the estate,[132] however the rapper received backlash after remarks were made towards Shabazz in a mixtape recording ("Chi-Raq") that went: "Malcolm X daughter came at me/lookin' ass niggas ain't happy/rolled out with some Latin Kings and some eses in them plain khaki's."[133]

"Pills n Potions" was released as the lead single from The Pinkprint in May 2014.[134] "Anaconda" was released in August as the second single, peaking at number two on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming her highest-charting single in the U.S. to date.[135][136] The music video for "Anaconda" attracted significant controversy from conservative media and went viral upon release online; it set a 24-hour Vevo record, accumulating 19.6 million views on its first day of release, breaking the record previously held by Miley Cyrus for "Wrecking Ball".[137] In December of that year, Minaj received two Grammy Award nominations, for Best Rap Song ("Anaconda") and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance ("Bang Bang" with Jessie J and Ariana Grande).[138]

Minaj (left) performing with Ariana Grande at the T-Mobile Arena Grand Opening in 2016

The Pinkprint was officially released on December 15, 2014, and debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200, with first week sales of 244,000 equivalent units (198,000 in pure album sales and 46,000 combined album-equivalent units and streams).[139][140] Upon release, the album received generally positive reviews[141] from critics. Billboard magazine's Niki McGloster called it "her best album to date".[142] Sheldon Pearce of The A.V. Club thought that The Pinkprint is "the closest Nicki Minaj has ever gotten to balancing her tendencies".[143] Randall Roberts from the Los Angeles Times wrote that throughout the album, "she's intent on channeling her talent to explore and document her many moods. The combination is often, if not always, intoxicating".[144] At the 58th Grammy Awards, Minaj received three more Grammy Award nominations, including a second Best Rap Album nomination for The Pinkprint.[145]

In November 2014, Minaj released a lyric video containing Nazi-style imagery for her third single "Only". There was immediate backlash from the Anti Defamation League, who stated that it was "troubling that no one among Minaj's group of producers, publicists and managers raised a red flag about the use of such imagery before ushering the video into public release." They called the video "insensitive to Holocaust survivors and a trivialization of the history of that era."[146][147] Minaj did not have creative control over the video.[148]

On November 9, 2014, Minaj hosted the 2014 MTV Europe Music Awards at The SSE Hydro, Glasgow, Scotland.[149] She also won the Best Hip-Hop Award for a second time.[149] In March 2015, Minaj embarked on her third world tour entitled The Pinkprint Tour and also became the first female artist to chart four songs simultaneously in the top 10 of Billboard's Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop airplay chart.[150] At the 2015 BET Awards, Minaj won her sixth consecutive award for Best Female Hip-Hop Artist, becoming the female rapper with most wins in that category.[151]

In August 2015, Madame Tussauds unveiled a wax figure of Minaj, which depicted her bent down on her hands and knees—the pose from the "Anaconda" music video.[152][153] The attraction received criticism from some, including rapper Azealia Banks and The Independent, who called it "sexist" and "racist".[154][155] Despite this, Minaj voiced her approval of the wax figure on social media.[156] After numerous visitors began taking sexually suggestive photos with Minaj's statue,[157] the museum instituted extra security.[156][158] In September 2015, it was announced that Minaj would executive produce and appear in a scripted single-camera comedy series for ABC Family (now Freeform) based on her life growing up in Queens, New York.[159] The show was titled Nicki and the pilot episode was filmed in Minaj's hometown in January 2016.[159] In October 2016, Minaj stated the filming was postponed for undisclosed reasons.[160]

In May 2015, it was announced that Minaj would feature in the third installment of the Barbershop film series, alongside Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer, Eve, and other original cast members.[161] Titled Barbershop: The Next Cut, the film was released on April 15, 2016, and received critical acclaim, earning an average score of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes; the site's critical consensus reads, "Heartfelt, thought-provoking, and above all funny, Barbershop: The Next Cut is the rare belated sequel that more than lives up to the standard set by its predecessors."[162] Minaj's character in the film is a "sassy" hairdresser named Draya.[161] For her performance, she was nominated for a Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Actress: Comedy.[163]

In February 2017, Minaj was featured on Jason Derulo's single "Swalla",[164] which reached the top ten in several countries, including a peak of number six in the UK singles chart.[165] The following month, Minaj signed with the major modeling agency, Wilhelmina Models.[166] On March 20, 2017, when her singles "No Frauds", "Changed It", and "Regret in Your Tears" were released simultaneously, Minaj broke the record for the most Billboard Hot 100 entries for a female artist, which was previously held by Aretha Franklin.[167] The record was later surpassed by Taylor Swift in December 2020.[168] In May, Minaj opened the 2017 Billboard Music Awards with a medley performance that was described by a Rolling Stone writer as "flamboyantly produced" and "dexterous".[169]

Throughout the remainder of 2017, Minaj performed guest verses on several singles, including Migos' "MotorSport" and Yo Gotti's "Rake It Up", both of which peaked inside the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, at numbers six and eight, respectively.[170] She also featured on Katy Perry's "Swish Swish", which peaked at 46 on the chart and was certified platinum in the US and Canada.[171]

2018–2019: Queen

Minaj announced her fourth album, Queen, on the red carpet at the 2018 Met Gala; the album was scheduled to be released on June 15, 2018,[172] but was delayed multiple times before being released on August 10, 2018.[173][174][175] Its lead single, "Chun-Li", was released on April 12, 2018, and peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.[176] She performed the song on Saturday Night Live and the 2018 BET Awards.[177][178] Another single, "Barbie Tingz", was released alongside "Chun-Li", but did not make the final album cut. It is, however, included on the Target version of the album.[179] Queen's second single, "Bed", featuring Ariana Grande, was released on June 14, 2018, alongside the album pre-order, and peaked at number 42 on the Hot 100.[180][181][182] On July 22, 2018, Tekashi 6ix9ine's single "Fefe", which featured Minaj, was released and debuted at number four on the Billboard Hot 100.[183] "Fefe" marked Minaj's highest bow on the chart as a featured artist at the time, besting the sixth place start of "Bang Bang" in 2014.[184] It later peaked at number three on the Hot 100,[183] and was added to Queen in the middle of its first tracking week.[185]

The day before the album's release, Minaj launched her own Beats 1 radio show, Queen Radio.[186][187] Queen debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200 with 185,000 album-equivalent units, of which 78,000 came from pure album sales.[188] It also debuted at number five in the UK and at number four in Australia, marking the highest debut of Minaj's career in the latter country.[189][190] Upon debuting second on the Billboard 200, Minaj expressed frustration and criticized several people in a series of tweets, including Travis Scott, whose album Astroworld claimed the top spot for a second week in a row, blocking Queen from the top spot. Minaj claimed that Travis Scott sold shirts, merchandise, and ticket passes for an unnannounced tour to boost his album sales.[191] Queen's roll-out and the ensuing controversy was documented by several news outlets and commentators.[192][193][194] Queen received generally positive reviews,[195] though some critics took issue with the album's length and lyrical content. Mosi Reeves of Rolling Stone wrote that Queen "brings a new Nicki Minaj character: the regal, haughty monarch, a woman who insists on sword-sharpened rhymes as a prerogative for excellence", but described "a flabby, meandering mid-section". For The Washington Post, Chris Richards felt the "songs are way too long, and there are far too many of them". He also wrote that Minaj's "sense of melody feels stale and flavorless".[196] Despite the mixed critical response and noticeable decline in radio play for its singles,[197] the album was certified Platinum by the RIAA in January 2019, for moving over 1 million equivalent units.[198]

Minaj (middle) performing with Little Mix at the 2018 MTV Europe Music Awards

On August 20, Minaj won her fourth MTV Video Music Award for the "Chun-Li" music video at the 35th annual ceremony.[199] Later that month, BTS' single, "Idol", featuring Minaj, was released; it debuted and peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it the group's second highest-charting song.[200] On October 12, 2018, British girl group Little Mix released their single featuring Minaj, "Woman Like Me".[201] A music video, which features Minaj wearing "Elizabethan ruff and not much else", was released the same month.[202][203] A BBC writer opined that the video "tackle[s] gender stereotypes".[204] Minaj was featured on Tyga's song "Dip", which reached number 63 on the Hot 100, making her the first female artist to have 100 entries on the chart.[205] She later attended the year-end Billboard Women in Music event, receiving the Game Changer Award for the accomplishment.[206]

Minaj also participated in a series of music festivals. On September 2, 2018, Minaj co-headlined the annual Made in America Festival and suffered a wardrobe malfunction.[207][208] In November 2018, Minaj was invited to the DWP music festival in China but did not perform due to problems with the company hosting the event.[209] In April 2019, Minaj made a guest appearance at the 2019 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival during Ariana Grande's set and performed alongside her to their collaborations "Side to Side" and "Bang Bang". However, she experienced technical difficulties with her earpiece.[210] Later that month, Minaj parted ways with her longtime management team after a mutual agreement.[211]

In June 2019, Minaj released her first solo song of 2019, titled "Megatron". In July, she provided information on her forthcoming fifth studio album, appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon stating "You're the first to find out ... of course there's a new album."[212] She appeared on the song "Hot Girl Summer" alongside Megan Thee Stallion in August 2019, which debuted and peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100.[213] Minaj had a voice role in The Angry Birds Movie 2, released in the same month.[214] On November 1, 2019, Minaj appeared on the Charlie's Angels: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack on the song "Bad To You", along with Ariana Grande and Normani. The following week, "Tusa", Minaj's collaboration with Colombian singer Karol G, was released to streaming platforms. The track peaked at number 42 on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached the top of many other charts,[215] including the "Hot Latin Songs" chart which made it the first song with two lead female artists to debut in such position.[216]

2020–present: Collaborations and Beam Me Up Scotty re-release

After a social media hiatus, she returned to both Twitter and Instagram on January 30, 2020, to announce her appearance as a guest judge on the premiere episode of the twelfth season on the American reality competition series RuPaul's Drag Race.[217] The next day, her collaboration with American singer Meghan Trainor entitled "Nice to Meet Ya" was released accompanied by a music video.[218] Soon after posting a snippet of a new, untitled track, Minaj announced that she would be returning to music with her first solo song of 2020, titled "Yikes" which was released on February 7, 2020.[219][220]

On May 1, 2020, American rapper Doja Cat featured Minaj on two remixes of her song "Say So". That week, the remix topped the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Minaj's first single to reach number one on the chart.[221] It was the first female collaboration in six years since "Fancy" by Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX (2014) to peak atop the chart,[222] and marked the first time that a song by two female rappers reached the top.[223][224] Minaj also broke the record for having the longest wait to reach the top of the Hot 100, as the remix became her 109th entry on the chart. Minaj charted for two weeks as a featured artist.[222][225] On June 12, 2020, 6ix9ine and Minaj released "Trollz", which became their third collaboration. It debuted atop the Hot 100, becoming Minaj's second number-one single.[226] This made Minaj the second female rapper to debut atop the Hot 100 chart since Lauryn Hill did so in 1998 with "Doo Wop (That Thing)".[227]

On July 30, 2020, Minaj collaborated with ASAP Ferg and MadeinTYO for the track "Move Ya Hips".[228][229] Almost a month later, Minaj featured on Ty Dolla Sign's track, "Expensive" and featured in the video for it.[230][231] She continued to appear as a featured artist on several songs into late 2020,[232][233] and released "What That Speed Bout!?" with Mike Will Made It and YoungBoy Never Broke Again on November 6.[234] Later that month, Minaj announced a six-part docuseries cataloging her life set to premiere in 2021 on HBO Max.[235]

On May 14, 2021, Minaj released a reissue of her 2009 mixtape Beam Me Up Scotty.[236] It debuted at number two on the Billboard 200.[17][237] A song from the reissue, titled "Seeing Green" featuring fellow rappers Drake and Lil Wayne (associated with Young Money's lineage alongside Minaj) reached number twelve on the Billboard Hot 100.[238][239] In September 2021, Minaj was revealed as a feature on English singer-songwriter Elton John's upcoming studio album, The Lockdown Sessions. She appeared on the track "Always Love You" with John and Young Thug.[240] On September 14, 2021, Minaj split with her previous manager Irving Azoff and is now[b] being managed by SALXCO, best known for managing The Weeknd and Doja Cat.[241][242] On September 28, 2021, Jesy Nelson released a collaboration with Minaj as her solo debut called "Boyz".[243] It debuted at number four in the UK and number sixteen in Ireland.[244][245]

In October 2021, Minaj was revealed to cameo as a host in the season six reunion of The Real Housewives of Potomac.[246]


Musical style

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

— Minaj on her rapping style in a Billboard interview[35]

Minaj performing during the Femme Fatale Tour in 2011

Minaj is known for her animated rapping style and "unique" flow.[247] Her rapping is distinctive for its speed and the use of alter egos and accents, primarily British cockney.[248][9] She often both sings and raps in her songs, and has made use of metaphors, punch lines, and word play. The alter egos are incorporated with her lyrics in British accents (Roman Zolanski) or soft-spokenness (Harajuku Barbie). Ice-T said about 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."[249]

Jon Caramanica of The New York Times called Minaj "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."[9] Although many critics describe her technique as bubblegum rap, Minaj said: "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—I'm not mad at it because it got everyone's attention."[250] Robby Seabrook III of XXL included Minaj in list of "most unique flows from rappers over the last five years", saying that she "has solidified her spot as a leader of the pack for her animated flows, inspiring many other women in hip-hop to play with their vocals. She goes from campy to bellicose, excited to eccentric, oftentimes all on one song."[251]

Noted as a rap artist, she also occasionally lends herself to electronic music genres (especially electropop).[252] Pink Friday marked her exploration of the genres, spawning electro songs including the pop-laden "Super Bass".[253][254] Also combining rap with synthesizer music, Minaj's second album, Pink Friday Roman Reloaded, had a number of electro-hop and electro pop songs: "HOV Lane", "Whip It", "Automatic", "Come on a Cone", "Young Forever", "Fire Burns",[255] "Roman Holiday",[256] "The Boys" and "Beez in the Trap";[257] while "Starships" is a eurodance song.[258]

Her verse on Kanye West's "Monster" was critically acclaimed and contributed greatly to her popularity; many critics said she had the best verse in the song.[259][260] West claimed at one point he considered deleting her verse from the track, because he was worried it would outshine his own work:

It was like that moment when I thought about taking Nicki's verse off of "Monster" because I knew people would say that was the best verse on the best Hip Hop album of all time or arguably top ten albums of all time. And I would do all that work, eight months of work on "Dark Fantasy" and people to this day would say to me 'My favorite thing was Nicki Minaj's verse.' So if I let my ego get the best of me instead of letting that girl get the shot to get that platform to be all she could be, I would take it off or marginalize her, try to stop her from having that shining moment…[261]

Tara Colley of The Conversation described Minaj as a "pre-eminent female rapper" and that she has "consistently straddled the distinct personas of gangsta boss and sexy pop siren without truly committing to either" and that "her chameleonic ability" matches "some of rap's most verbose, witty, filthy and pop-friendly" stars such as Eminem and Lil Wayne.[262] Zoe Johnson of XXL, stated that in recent years Minaj's "beat selection has moved to refined production full of grit and hip-hop flare in recent years".[263]

Alter egos

With her parents frequently fighting during her childhood, Minaj lived through characters she created as a means of escape. She recalled that "fantasy was my reality" and her first identity was Cookie, who became Harajuku Barbie and (later) Nicki Minaj.[264] In November 2010, Minaj assumed the alter ego Nicki Teresa, wearing a colorful headdress and calling herself "healer to her fans" during a visit to the Garden of Dreams Foundation at Fuse Studios in New York.[265] She introduced another alter ego, Rosa (pronounced with an exaggerated R), to commemorate her December 2010 appearance on Lopez Tonight.[266]

One of Minaj's most well-known alter-egos is "a demon inside her" named Roman Zolanski (named after film director Roman Polanski with modified surname), Minaj's "twin brother", whose character she assumes when she is angry.[267] Roman has been compared to Eminem's alter ego Slim Shady, and on "Roman's Revenge" Minaj and Eminem collaborate as their alter egos.[268] On her next album, she said that there would be a lot of Roman: "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."[269] Roman has a mother, Martha Zolanski,[270] who appeared on "Roman's Revenge" with a British accent[271] and singing on "Roman Holiday" for the first time.[272][273] Martha appeared in the "Moment 4 Life" video as Minaj's apparent fairy godmother.[267]


According to Minaj, rappers Jay-Z (left), Foxy Brown (center) and Lil Wayne (right) are her three biggest influences.

Minaj cites Lil Wayne, Foxy Brown, and Jay-Z as major influences: "I can’t even imagine my career, um, my creative spirit without Wayne. I credit him with a lot of what I do. [...] I feel like I’m still intertwined with him creatively." Minaj has called Lil Wayne her mentor and credited him with discovering her.[274][275] On Foxy Brown and Jay-Z, Minaj said: "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."[276] She said, further: "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", adding that Foxy Brown was "the most influential female rapper" for her.[277] Minaj said in a T Magazine interview in 2017: "Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Foxy Brown... [...] Those are the three I keep in my head when I’m writing because they’ve influenced me so much, [...] I feel like I’m a part of all of them."[278]

Jada Pinkett Smith is one of Minaj's role models in her acting career.[279] Minaj was inspired by R&B singer Monica, singing "Why I Love You So Much" at every talent show she entered. While performing in Atlanta as part of her Pink Friday Tour, she called Monica one of her all-time greatest musical influences. Lauryn Hill is also one of Minaj's major influences, with Minaj quoting her lyrics in a high school yearbook.[280][281] Minaj has also cited Madonna, Enya, Eminem, Beyoncé, Kanye West, Trina, Drake, Remy Ma, and Lil' Kim as influences.[282][283][284][285][286]

She called Betsey Johnson a fashion inspiration: "[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!"[287] Minaj has also expressed appreciation for Cyndi Lauper's style and how her videos inspired her as a teenager: "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."[288]

Public image

An Afro-American woman in a blonde wig and bright teal eyeshadow wears a shirt constructed of variously colored cotton balls
Early in her career, Minaj often wore colorful costumes, cosmetics, and wigs

Billboard listed Minaj the fourth-most-active musician on social media on its March 2011 Social 50 chart.[289] Minaj is also the most followed rapper on Instagram with 155 million followers.[290] On Twitter, she is one of the most followed rappers, with 22 million followers on the app, as of 2021.[291] She joined American Idol as a judge in 2013.[292] BET has named Minaj as a "gay icon."[293]

Refinery29 writer Channing Hargrove cited her as a "camp style icon",[294] and Nicola Dall'Assen of Allure called her a "fashion icon".[295] She has cited Alexander McQueen, Gianni Versace, and Christian Louboutin as her favorite designers.[296] Minaj has also been called the "black Lady Gaga" because of her colorful costumes and wigs.[297][298] The Huffington Post described her style as "risk-taking" and "far-out", with "bold sartorial choices";[299] Minaj has been included on the annual Maxim Hot 100 list several times.[300][301] In 2014, Minaj underwent a reinvention in her image sporting a "natural" and "softer" look, wearing fewer wigs and less colourful costumes.[302] She stated that she "went so far to the other side that there's only one place to go from there. You can either continue doing costumes or you can just say, "Hey guess what? This will shock them even more. Doing nothing will shock them even more"".[302][303]

Her physique, notably her buttocks, has attracted significant attention from the media.[304][305] Early in her career, she made autographing breasts part of her movement to empower women.[306] In 2010, she said that although she originally felt obligated to mimic the provocative behavior of the "female rappers of [her] day", she intended to subdue 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."[307][308]

Minaj talked about feminism in an interview with Vogue in 2015, saying "There are things that I do that feminists don't like, and there are things that I do that they do like. I don't label myself. I just say the truth about what I feel. I feel like women can do anything that they put their minds to."[309] In 2018, an interview with Elle, in which she discussed sex workers, her own sex appeal, and sexuality in music and on social media, attracted criticism.[310][311] In The New York Times Magazine, music critic Vanessa Grigoriadis said that Minaj "has become expert at modelling the ways that women can wield power in the industry. But she has also drawn attention to the ways in which power can be embodied by a woman standing up for herself and speaking her own mind."[citation needed]

The cover art and music video for her 2014 single, "Anaconda", attracted significant media attention upon release.[312] The music video was viewed 19.6 million times in its first 24 hours of release.[313] The Guardian called the video "racy" but noted that she "doesn’t shy from ruffling her audience’s feathers",[314] while others praised Minaj for "owning her sexuality",[315] examining her work through a feminist perspective.[312][316][317][318] Another writer for The Guardian said, of the "Anaconda" video, Minaj turns "the classic song into a conversation, and [refuses] to let the camera objectify her lap dance by keeping it zoomed out, at a distance."[319]


Katy Perry (left) and Minaj perform for service members during the 2010 VH1 Divas Salute the Troops concert

In 2010, Minaj performed a cover of "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", alongside singer Katy Perry, for service members during the 2010 VH1 Divas Salute the Troops concert.[320][321] In 2011, Mattel created a Barbie doll with Minaj's likeness to auction for Project Angel Food, a charity that provides food for people afflicted with HIV and AIDS.[322] In 2012, 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, PS 45.[323]

In May 2017, Minaj offered via Twitter to pay college tuition fees and student loans for 30 of her fans. She appeared to grant their requests, ranging from $500 to school supplies to $6,000 for tuition, promising to respond to more requests in a month or two.[324] She also announced that she would launch an official charity for student loans and tuition payments in the near future.[325] In the same month, Minaj revealed on Instagram that she has been donating money to a village in India for a few years via her pastor, Lydia Sloley. These donations helped the village get a computer center, a tailoring institute, a reading program, and two water wells. "This is the kind of thing that makes me feel the most proud", she said about the new additions to the village.[326]

In August 2017, after Hurricane Harvey hit the city of Houston, Texas, Minaj answered a social media challenge by comedian and actor Kevin Hart and donated $25,000 to the Red Cross, saying she was "praying for everyone there".[327][328] On September 4, 2018, Minaj appeared as a guest and performed several songs on The Ellen Degeneres Show.[329] Throughout the episode, Minaj and Degeneres, with the participation of Walmart, gave out over $150,000 in donations to fans.[330][191] In 2019, Minaj pulled out of headlining a concert in Saudi Arabia following online backlash from activists, after women's rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul, was detained and arrested for speaking out against the Saudi regime. Minaj was praised by Thor Halvorssen of The Human Rights Foundation, who criticized her initial plan to perform in a letter, and released a statement saying, "After careful reflection [...] I believe it is important for me to make clear my support for the rights of women, the LGBTQ community and freedom of expression."[331][332]

In 2020, Minaj donated $25,000 to the "St. Jude's Home for Girls" school after visiting the school in her native country of Trinidad. In a speech, Minaj encouraged the girls to push through hard obstacles, even referencing her own experience with domestic violence: “I’ve experienced being in a home with domestic violence. I’ve experienced, you know, being at a very difficult crossroads in my life as a teenager. And sometimes as a teenager when things happen, you feel like there’s no up from there.”[333] In the same year, following the release of Minaj and 6ix9ine's collaboration, "Trollz", Minaj announced that a portion of the proceeds from the song, along with profits from all merchandise, will go towards the Bail Project amid the Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd.[334]


Various media outlets, such as BBC News, Billboard, NME, Yahoo! News and GQ have referred to Minaj as the "Queen of Rap".[335][336][337][338][339][340] while NPR Music, XXL, LA Times and T Magazine have referred to her as the "Queen of Hip Hop".[341][342][343][344][345][346][347] In 2012, Jon Caramanica of The New York Times called Minaj "the most influential female rapper of all time", and she was called "the world's biggest female rap superstar" in 2015 by Vanessa Grigoriadis from its magazine.[9][citation needed] Jochan Embley of Evening Standard also included her among the "most influential rap artists."[348] Zoe Johnson of XXL called her "one of the most versatile MCs" and that she has "made millions off upbeat pop hits and traditional hip-hop sounds that cater to both her femininity and her assertive side".[263] Sowmya Krishnamurthy of NPR noted that Minaj has portrayed "the quirky, life-size Barbie, glamorous vixen and girl-next-door", arguing that she "changed the landscape for artists in hip-hop for the past decade" with said alter egos and "incarnations".[341] In 2012, Billboard credited her for bringing female rap back to the mainstream in the US.[349] In 2017, Patrik Sandberg of Dazed argued that Minaj "has, by any available metric, surpassed every other female hip hop artist to become the most successful in history."[343]

Zoe Johnson of XXL commented that Minaj "has helped birth a new generation of rappers that mimic her style".[263] She has influenced several new artists, including Tinashe,[350] Cher Lloyd,[351] Billie Eilish,[352] Lil Nas X,[353] Ms Banks,[354] Asian Doll,[355] Doja Cat,[356] Megan Thee Stallion,[357] Latto,[358] BIA,[359] Maliibu Miitch[360] and Saweetie.[361]

With over 140 features, Billboard has called Minaj a "rap and pop icon", adding that "she's been one of popular music's most reliable guest performers, notching [dozens of chart hits as a supporting presence on other artists' singles."[362] As a featured artist, Minaj has been credited by Complex for being able to "take a simple song and turn it into a smash hit just because she's featured on it."[363] In 2012, Jon Caramanica of The New York Times said that:

Minaj "became a nimble, evocative rapper. She became an intricate lyricist. She became a thoughtful singer. She became a risky performer. She invented new personae. More than any other rapper in the mainstream, she pushed hard against expectations [...] with no one around to compare herself to, or for others to compare her to, she became her own watermark."[364]

In 2014, Erik Nielson of NPR said that Minaj's "success over the last decade has stood as an exception to the unwritten rule that women rappers no longer have a place among elite artists".[365] Nylon writer, Demicia Inman, also credited Minaj for her influence which "stands as one of the most successful rappers of the millennium".[366] Inman went on to say that Minaj "battled misogyny and industry bias against black women to carve her own identity and sound" thus impacting her career.[366] Complex writer Danyra Haffenden also commented that, "From her bold outfits to her multi-colored wigs, Minaj oozed confidence that inspired others who were watching closely... [she] doesn't need anything but her art to speak for itself".[367]


Minaj is the recipient of numerous accolades, including eight American Music Awards, twelve BET Awards, seven BET Hip Hop Awards, four Billboard Music Awards, five MTV Video Music Awards, six MTV Europe Music Awards, two People's Choice Awards, one Soul Train Music Award, and four Teen Choice Awards. Minaj has received a total of 10 Grammy Award nominations. She received her first Grammy nomination in 2010 for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group ("My Chick Bad" with Ludacris). In 2012, Minaj received three nominations, including Best New Artist and Best Rap Album (Pink Friday). In 2014, she also received her second nomination for Best Rap Album (The Pinkprint). She has won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Hip-Hop Video three times ("Super Bass", "Anaconda", and "Chun-Li") and has won the Best Female Video Award once ("Starships"). Minaj is the first woman to have appeared on the Forbes "Hip Hop Cash Kings" list since its inception in 2007, having made four consecutive appearances between 2011 and 2014.[368][369][370][371]

In 2010, Minaj became the first female solo artist to have seven songs on the Billboard Hot 100 simultaneously, and the first woman to appear on MTV's Annual Hottest MC List since its inception in 2007.[372][373] In 2011, Minaj was ranked sixth on the Rolling Stone master ranking of the "Kings of Hip Hop" which is based on record sales and social media metrics.[374] She is the only rapper to win the BET Award for Best Female Hip-Hop Artist seven consecutive times.[375][376] In 2013, Minaj became the most-charted female rapper on the Billboard Hot 100 at the time, with 44 entries, tying Mariah Carey as seventh among women of all genres.[377] Minaj has nineteen top 10 singles on the chart, the most for any female rapper, with four of those being solo songs.[378][379] In 2017, Minaj broke the record for most Hot 100 entries by any female artist, surpassing Aretha Franklin, and in 2018, she became the first female artist to accumulate 100 entries on the Hot 100. She held the mentioned record for most Hot 100 entries by a female artist until it was broken in December 2020 by singer-songwriter Taylor Swift.[380][381][382][383] She is the female artist with the second-most Hot 100 entries, behind Swift.[384][385] In 2019, Billboard Women in Music awarded her with the Game Changer Award.[386][387]

In 2019, her collaboration with Karol G, named "Tusa", received two nominations at the Latin Grammys.[388] The song became the longest-running number-one single on the Argentina Hot 100, having spent 25 weeks on the position.[16][227] In 2020, Minaj become the second female rapper to chart at number one on the Hot 100 more than once with her 6ix9ine collaboration "Trollz".[227] She also became the second female to debut atop the chart since Lauryn Hill in 1998.[227] In the same year, she also was the most streamed female rapper on Spotify.[389] In 2021, the music video for "Anaconda" became the first female rap solo song to reach one billion views on YouTube.[390][391] This marked her sixth overall video to reach one billion views, including features on other channels, becoming the first female rapper to do so.[392] In 2016, she was listed on the Time 100 annual list of the most influential people in the world; she was also featured on one of the physical covers of the issue.[393][394] Complex ranked her eighth on their list of best rappers of the 2010s, being the only female rapper on the list.[395]

Business ventures


Minaj promoting her first fragrance "Pink Friday" in 2012

Minaj has a prominent line of fragrances first launched in September 2012. She partnered with 'Give Back Brands' to introduce her first fragrance, "Pink Friday",[396] which was nominated for three 2013 FiFi Awards for Fragrance of the Year, Best Packaging, and Media Campaign of the Year.[397] A "Pink Friday: Special Edition" was released in April 2013 and a deluxe edition version of the fragrance, titled "Pink Friday: Deluxe Edition", was also launched in December 2013.[398][399] Her fourth and fifth fragrance line, "Minajesty", was launched in September 2013[400] followed by a flanker fragrance, "Minajesty: Exotic Edition", which was released exclusively to the Home Shopping Network in June 2014. This was followed by the launch of her sixth fragrance line, "Onika", in September 2014.[401] A year later in 2015, Minaj release "The Pinkprint", her seventh fragrance in support of her third studio album of the same name.[402] In 2016, Minaj launched her eighth fragrance "Trini Girl."[403] In 2018, in support of her fourth studio album, she released her ninth fragrance, "Queen."[404]

Products and endorsements

Minaj has been affiliated with several manufacturing companies and has endorsed a number of products during her career. She has also stated that she has learned the ins and outs of business so she could do it herself.[405] Her first collaboration was a November 2010 endorsement deal with MAC Cosmetics which sold a lipstick, "Pink 4 Friday", for four consecutive Fridays to promote her album Pink Friday.[406] In 2011, Minaj helped introduce the Casio TRYX in Times Square, and created a six-piece nail polish collection for OPI Products with colors named after her songs.[407][408] In April 2012, Minaj helped launch the Nokia Lumia 900 in Times Square.[409] The following month, Minaj appeared in television and internet advertisements for Pepsi's "LiveForNow" campaign, which featured a remix of her single "Moment 4 Life".[410][411] She endorsed the 2012 Viva Glam campaign with Ricky Martin, which raised $270 million for the Mac AIDS Fund.[412][413] 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 song, "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.[414][415]

In 2011, Mattel crafted a Barbie doll with Minaj's likeness for charity, which Minaj described as a "major moment" in her career.[416] A spokeswoman for Mattel stated that, "Barbie is obviously a pop culture icon [...] and Nicki is a big part of pop culture and also huge within the fashion industry, as well as a big Barbie fan."[416] Matthew Perpetua of Rolling Stone stated that the "Minaj Barbie doll is notable in that the rapper has made Barbie dolls a crucial part of her aesthetic."[417]

In early 2013, Minaj fronted the Viva Glam campaign by herself, which included the introduction of "Nicki 2 lipstick and lip gloss". She also introduced the "Nicki Minaj Collection" clothing line for Kmart, composed of clothing, accessories and housewares.[418][419] In February 2013, Bluewater Comics announced that Minaj would star in the Fame biographical-comic series, debuting in Fame: Nicki Minaj.[420] She partnered with Beats Electronics to introduce her "Pink Pill" speakers in April 2013, appearing with DeRay Davis in a commercial for the speakers that same month.[421][422] In June 2013, Minaj lead an ad campaign for Myx Fusions, a fruit-infused, single serve moscato wine beverage of which she is a part owner.[423][424] On March 30, 2015, it was announced that Minaj was a co-owner of the music streaming service Tidal. The service specializes in lossless audio and high definition music videos. In addition to Minaj and company owner Jay Z, sixteen stakeholders including Beyoncé, Madonna, Rihanna, and Kanye West own a 3% equity stake in the service.[425]

In 2017, she starred in H&M's holiday campaign along with Anna Ewers, Mariacarla Boscono, Jesse Williams, Charlee Fraser, and Elibeidy Dani.[426] In 2018, Minaj starred in the trailer for Madden NFL 19 alongside Lil Dicky, Quavo and others.[427] In 2019, Minaj began a partnership with the luxury clothing company Fendi who stated that the collaboration "made sense ... she will present it extremely well."[428] Minaj's "Fendi Prints On" collection launched in 2019 on October 14.[429]

Controversies and feuds

Remy Ma

Disagreements between Minaj and rapper Remy Ma originated in 2007, when Ma took note of Minaj's freestyle record, nicknamed "Dirty Money", from her mixtape Playtime Is Over (2007).[430] In the record, Minaj recites: "Tell that bitch with the crown to run it like Chris Brown/she won three rounds, I'ma need a hundred thou/like 'Chinatown'—bitches better bow down/oh you ain't know, betcha bitches know now/fuck I got a gun—let her know that I'm the one".[431] Minaj reportedly never confirmed or denied that the song was about Ma.[430] Although Ma and Minaj shared words of encouragement in recent years,[432] their relationship soon soured, and they began releasing verses and songs with lyrics aimed at each other, including Ma's "Money Showers" with Fat Joe and Minaj's "Make Love" with Gucci Mane.[433] On February 25, 2017, Ma released "Shether".[434] On March 3, 2017, during a visit to The Wendy Williams Show, Ma accused Minaj of "trying to keep [her] off of red carpets" and "trying to make sure awards don't go to [her]".[435] A week later, in an interview hosted by BuzzFeed News, Ma stated that she had second thoughts about releasing the diss track and commented on the difficulties of being a woman in the music industry.[436] Minaj subsequently responded with the song "No Frauds", in which she accused Ma of spreading falsehoods and made fun of Ma's poor record sales with Plata O Plomo.[437][438]

Lil' Kim

Minaj has been embroiled in a feud with rapper Lil' Kim since her success with Pink Friday.[439] Kim accused Minaj of copying her image, saying: "If you are going to steal my swag, you gonna have to pay. Something gotta give. You help me, I help you. That's how it goes to me."[439] Minaj's single "Roman's Revenge" with Eminem was believed to be a response to Kim's comments,[440] although she later denied this.[441] She responded to the situation in an interview with HOT 97's Angie Martinez, saying, "She picked a fight with Foxy, then she picked a fight with Eve, then she picked a fight with Remy, then it was Mrs. Wallace, then it was Nicki Minaj. Every time you in the news, it's 'cause you gettin' at somebody! Where's your music? Put your music out, and when I see your name on Billboard, that's when I'll respond to you. Other than that, goodbye. It's Barbie, bitch."[442] Lil' Kim reignited the feud with the release of her mixtape Black Friday (the title of which directly referenced Minaj). The artwork portrays Lil' Kim decapitating Minaj with a sword.[439] A fragment of a diss track called "Tragedy" was released in response by Minaj in April 2011.[443] Following the release of Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, critics suggested that the track "Stupid Hoe"[444] may have contained attacks directed at Kim. Lil' Kim later suggested in an interview with 105's Breakfast Club that the song "Automatic" was similar to her unreleased material, also calling Minaj "obnoxious" and "catty".[445] Minaj seemingly alluded to the feud in a 2018 Genius interview, saying: "Someone got at me. A veteran got at me, and I hit them with Roman's Revenge and then I kept on going."[446] In 2021, Lil' Kim stated on the red carpet of the BET Awards that she would like to do a Verzuz with Minaj.[447]

Cardi B

During New York Fashion Week 2018, at an after party hosted by Harper's Bazaar, fellow rapper Cardi B caused significant controversy when she threw one of her high heel shoes at, and attempted to physically attack, Minaj.[448][449][450] Cardi B later alleged that Minaj had previously "liked" comments made by other users on social media, who spoke negatively about Cardi B's abilities to take care of her newly born daughter.[451] Minaj subsequently discussed the incident in an episode of her Beats 1 radio show, Queen Radio, in which she denied the accusations and called the altercation "humiliating", said that she would never talk negatively about a child, and accused Cardi of allegedly cyberbullying someone named "Clarissa" in a heated Instagram exchange from 2014.[452][453][454][455]

COVID-19 vaccine tweets

On September 13, 2021, Minaj announced she would not be attending the 2021 Met Gala due to the COVID-19 vaccine requirement. She stated that she has avoided public appearances and travelling because of her infant son.[456][457] Minaj shared several tweets about her unvaccinated status, claimed she wanted to "do more research"[458] and claimed that "her cousin's friend in Trinidad suffered swollen testicles, became impotent, and had to cancel his wedding as a result of the COVID vaccine."[459] These tweets received widespread backlash on social media, where her story about her cousin's friend became the subject of jokes and memes.[460] Shortly after, Minaj praised those who had been vaccinated and set up a Twitter poll on COVID-19 vaccine brands.[461] Trinidad and Tobago health minister Terrence Deyalsingh declared that Minaj's claims were false, lamenting that his team "wasted time trying to track down" such a report.[462]

When asked about the subject of Minaj’s statements in a press conference, England's Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said that she should be "ashamed" for "peddling untruths on social media".[463][464][465] In response, Minaj posted a "mocking" audio message aimed at Boris Johnson in a comedic British accent, "sarcastically" claiming that she "went to school with Margaret Thatcher".[466] The White House offered Minaj a phone call with a doctor to answer questions about the safety of the vaccine.[467] In an Instagram Live response two days later, she claimed that she was "simply asking questions" and she did not "give any facts" about the vaccine.[468]

Personal life

In her song "All Things Go", Minaj revealed that she had an abortion as a teenager.[469] Minaj has said that although it has "haunted" her, she stands by her decision.[470] In July 2011, her cousin Nicholas Telemaque was murdered near his home in Brooklyn, an incident she references in her songs "All Things Go" and "Champion".[471][472]

Early in her career, Minaj identified as bisexual. However, she eventually stated in a 2010 Rolling Stone interview that to get attention: "I think girls are sexy, but I'm not going to lie and say that I date girls."[473] In May 2020, she once again addressed her sexuality, stating in a verse on Doja Cat's "Say So" remix, "Used to be bi, but now I'm just hetero." The lyric received backlash and divided members of the LGBT community, with some accusing her of "bisexual erasure" and calling the lyric problematic, while others voicing "there is nothing wrong with originally identifying as bisexual, and then later in life identifying as straight."[474][475]

In late 2014, Minaj separated from her longtime boyfriend Safaree Samuels, whom she had dated since 2003.[c] According to Minaj, he had proposed to her, but she declined.[476] Several tracks on The Pinkprint are believed to have been inspired by the end of their relationship.[477] Minaj began dating rapper Meek Mill in early 2015.[478] In January 2017, she announced that she had ended their relationship.[479][480][481] She briefly dated fellow rapper Nas in the year 2018.[482]

In November 2017, Minaj's brother Jelani was convicted of predatory sexual assault against a child and endangering the welfare of a child. On January 27, 2020, he was sentenced by Nassau County Supreme Court Judge Robert McDonald to 25 years to life.[483][484][485]

In December 2018, Minaj began dating her childhood friend Kenneth "Zoo" Petty and filed for a marriage license in August 2019.[486] She announced that they had officially married on October 21.[487] She hyphenated his last name to hers upon marriage, becoming Maraj-Petty.[488] After facing federal charges for failing to register as a sex offender in California, her husband was entered into the California Megan's Law database in 2020, having been convicted of attempted rape in the first degree in 1995 in New York.[489] He previously served nearly four years in prison for the mentioned crime.[490][491] In August 2021, the victim, named Jennifer Hough, filed a lawsuit against the couple for alleged harassment and alleged intimidation to recant her account.[492][493] In September 2021, Hough spoke about the mentioned lawsuit on her first on-camera interview on The Real.[494]

In July 2020, Minaj announced via Instagram that she was expecting her first child.[495] On September 30, 2020, Minaj gave birth to a son. Minaj refers to him as "Papa Bear" in public.[496][497][498][499]

In February 2021, Minaj's father, Robert Maraj, died while walking along a road on Long Island in a hit-and-run accident. He was 64.[25] Charles Polevich, a 70-year-old man, was charged with killing Maraj. Nassau County Police Department said in a news conference they had tracked Polevich's car, and he turned himself in to police.[500] He was arraigned and charged with two felonies: leaving scene of incident involving death of a person and tampering with or suppressing physical evidence.[501] Minaj commented on her father's passing in a 2021 letter, saying, "[..] it has been the most devastating loss of my life. I find myself wanting to call him all the time, more so now that he's gone. [...] May his soul rest in paradise. He was very loved & will be very missed."[502]


Studio albums

  • Pink Friday (2010)
  • Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (2012)
  • The Pinkprint (2014)
  • Queen (2018)


  • Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012)
  • The Other Woman (2014)
  • Barbershop: The Next Cut (2016)
  • The Angry Birds Movie 2 (2019)


Headlining tours

Opening act

See also


  1. ^ Minaj claims she immigrated to the United States "illegally" and it is unclear what her American citizenship status is.[4]
  2. ^ Minaj stated in a September 2021 Instagram Live that she was being managed by SALXCO.
  3. ^ Minaj states in the "My Time Again" documentary, released in 2014, that she was in an 11-year relationship.


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