Onika Tanya Maraj (born December 8, 1984), better known by her stage
name Nicki Minaj, is a Trinidadian Hip hop and R&B recording
artist and songwriter. She first saw fame when she
signed a record deal with Young Money Entertainment and then later
Cash Money Records.
In August 2009, Minaj signed to Young Money Entertainment with distribution
from Universal Motown. In Minaj's early career, she released three
mixtapes, Playtime Is Over, Sucka Free, and Beam Me Up Scotty.
Minaj was discovered by fellow American rapper Lil Wayne and, after
the three mixtapes, Minaj signed a deal with Young Money Entertainment.
After signing the deal, Minaj began working on her debut album, titled
Pink Friday, which charted at number-two on the US Billboard 200.
Minaj became the first artist ever to have seven songs within the
Billboard Hot 100 at the same time. Her second single, "Your
Love", reached number-one on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs chart,
making Minaj the first female artist to top the chart unaccompanied
since 2002. Minaj became the first female artist to be included
on MTV's Annual Hottest MC List One month after the release of
Pink Friday, Minaj's album gained a Platinum certification in the
United States. Minaj is known for collaborating with numerous
artists and guest raps on many popular singles.
Minaj was born on December 8, 1984 in Saint James, Trinidad and
Tobago to parents of Indian and Afro-Trinidadian
ancestry. She lived in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago
with her grandmother until age five, because her parents were looking
for a place to live in the Queens borough of New York City at the
time. Her mother would occasionally visit, and one day, when Minaj
was five, her mother picked her up to move to Queens. According
to Minaj, her father drank alcohol, took drugs, and once tried to
kill her mother by setting the house on fire.
She attended Elizabeth Blackwell Middle School 210, where she played
the clarinet. She graduated from LaGuardia High School.
At LaGuardia, a school specializing in music and the visual and performing
arts, Minaj participated in the drama program. She had initially
planned to sing at LaGuardia, but lost her voice on the day of the
2007–09: Career beginnings and mixtapes
Nicki Minaj released her first mixtape in 2007, after releasing,
Playtime Is Over with an unknown label. She later released another
mixtape on July 7, 2008, titled Sucka Free, under the label of Be.
On April 18, 2009, Minaj released a third mixtape and appeared in
XXL magazine. Under the label of Trapaholics Records. In 2008
she won the Female Artist of the Year award at the Underground Music
Awards. Minaj released Beam Me Up Scotty, another mixtape, in
April 2009 which received positive coverage on both BET and MTV.And
also made another mixtape named Barbie world in 2010 
2010–present: Pink Friday
After a major record label bidding war, Young Money Entertainment
announced on August 31, 2009 that Minaj had been released a 360 deal
with the label in which she retains and owns all of her 360 rights – including
merchandising, sponsorships, endorsements, touring and publishing.
In an interview with 95.8 Capital FM, Rihanna stated that after the
two collaborated on "Raining Men" from her album Loud that
the duo would be teaming up together for a possible second collaboration
on Minaj's Pink Friday. Hip-hop rap artist and producer Kanye
West was also confirmed for the album.
On August 3, 2010 Minaj revealed on a Ustream.tv channel for her
fans that the albums name would be Pink Friday stating, “To
carry on a great tradition of Black Friday, we are going to switch
it up this year in honor of the Nicki Minaj album and call that day
Pink Friday, and call my album Pink Friday,!” A deluxe
edition of the album was also released after the standard addition.
Nicki Minaj released the artwork for her album cover on Friday, October
Minaj's debut album, Pink Friday was released on November 19, 2010.
A buzz single, "Massive Attack", was released in April.
In August, Minaj released "Your Love" as the first official
single from her debut album. The single peaked at 14 on the Billboard
Hot 100, 7 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and topped the
Rap Songs chart. Minaj became the first female artist to be included
on MTV's Annual Hottest MC List and the first female artist to
top the chart unaccompanied since 2002. In October 2010, Minaj
became the first artist to have seven songs on the Billboard Hot
100 chart simultaneously. Minaj released a joint single with
The Black Eyed Peas front man, will.i.am titled, "Check It Out",
which is Minaj's most successful single to-date around Europe. "Right
thru Me" was released September 24, 2010. Written by Stephen
Hacker, Joe Satriani, Andrew Thielk, B.Evans and Minaj herself. The
music video was released in late October, which featured Minaj a
boy-and-girl relationship drama. "Moment 4 Life" followed "Right
thru Me" and was released as the fourth overall single. The
track featured Canadian rapper, Drake, which was released on December
7, 2010, which is proving to be as successful in the Billboard Hot
100, as it is climbing each week and currently at number 37. The
single has so far peaked at number 5 on the Hot Rap Songs. Minaj's
album gained a Platinum certification in the United States a month
after the release.
On Saturday, January 29, 2011, Minaj appeared on Saturday Night
Live as the musical guest. She performed her hit songs "Right
Thru Me" and "Moment 4 Life".
Musical style and image
In an interview with Vibe Minaj discussed her sexual image stating, "[w]hen
I grew up I saw females doing certain things, and I thought I had
to do that exactly. The female rappers of my day spoke about sex
a lot... and I thought that to have the success they got, I would
have to represent the same thing. When in fact I didn’t have
to represent the same thing." In an interview with Interview,
Minaj commented on her sexual image again stating, "I made a
conscious decision to try to tone down the sexiness, I want 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
While growing up Nicki was surrounded by constant trouble and fighting
between her parents. To escape her real life problems she would
create characters and live her life through them. In an interview
with New York she stated, “[t]o get away from all their fighting,
I would imagine being a new person. "Cookie" was my first
identity—that stayed with me for a while. I went on to "Harajuku
Barbie", then "Nicki Minaj". Fantasy was my reality.”
For her debut album, Minaj created another alter-ego named "Roman
Zolanski". She stated that in songs like "Bottoms Up" with
Trey Songz it is not Nicki rapping, but instead Roman Zolanski, and
claims that Roman is her "twin brother". She claims that
he was born inside her, out of rage, and becomes him when she is
angry. She has also said 'He is a demon inside her'. Roman has been
compared to Eminem's alter ego Slim Shady, and on the song "Roman's
Revenge" from Pink Friday, Minaj and Eminem collaborate, using
these alter egos.  Roman also has a "mother" called "Martha
Zolanski", who also appeared on the song Roman's Revenge,
with a British accent.  Martha Appears in the video for "Moment
4 Life" where she appears to be Nicki's magical Godmother. In
songs such as "All I Do Is Win (Remix)" it is Nicki rapping.
Minaj stated that on her debut album, fans will get to "meet" Nicki,
Roman and Onika.
On November 18, 2010 Nicki Minaj assumed a different alter-ego named "Nicki
Teresa". Wearing a colorful scarf around her head, she went
around as the "healer to her fans" as she visited them
at The Garden of Dreams Foundation at Fuse studios in New York City.
Minaj made an appearance on Lopez Tonight on December 6, 2010 and
presented a different alter-ego for the Spanish-inspired occasion,
named "Rosa" (pronounced Rrrrrosa).
Minaj has stated that artists who have influenced her musical style
include Lil Wayne, Lauryn Hill, Jadakiss, Natasha Bedingfield, Foxy
Brown, Lil' Kim and Missy Elliott