Onika Tanya Maraji, or as she is more commonly known, Nicki Minaj was born December 8, 1984 in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago, later moving to Queens, New York at the age of 5. The “Super Bass” singer had a very troubled childhood. Her father was an abusive drug-addict who was very violent to Minaj’s mother. He reportedly set the family’s home on fire in an attempt to kill her mother. Minaj has always felt the the empowerment of women was an amazing thing and says what she had to go through in her childhood is what drives her to be strong and successful. Being so affected by her father, at a young age, Nicki began making different personas for herself so that she could escape and pretend to be a different person. As a child, she named one of the personas Cookie, which is her now persona, Nicki Minaj.
At the age of 12, she wrote her first rap and went on to act at La Guardia High School of Music and Art, which is the school that inspired the movie “Fame”. With her strong drive, she started writing more of her own rhymes and they were soon seen by Dirty Money CEO Fendi, which connected her to rapper, Lil’ Wayne. The released a few mix tapes in April 2007, building the anticipation to a break through to the industry. In April of 2010, after being heavily talked about, Minaj released her debut album “Pink Friday” and first single “Massive Attack”, which describes exactly what happened. Only two months after the single was released, she won Best Hip-Hop Female at the BET Awards. It has been a wild ride of Minaj since then. She has collaborated with some of the industry’s biggest names, Kayne West, Mariah Carey, and Rhianna, just to name a few and there are more lining up to work with her.
One thing that people have watched about Nicki is her ever changing style. She stated that when she first got into the industry she thought she had to do certain things from watching other female rappers. She stated that they would openly talk about sex and dress very seductively, so she thought she had to do the same thing to be successful. She slowly started to see that she didn’t need to do that and has changed her image to a more conservative, yet still funky style. She says that she wants to be a role model to young girls and show them that they don’t need to show a lot of skin to be sexy and confident. This is nice to see, because there have been other female rappers that have showed a little more than they needed to. Another thing that usually throws a loop is when Nicki will perform on one of her tracks as one of her alter-egos. People never know “who” is really rapping.
Ms. Minaj has shown that even through the hurt and pain of childhood you can succeed if you set your mind to it. She has defined the odds and really shown what a true, strong, independent woman is. She will definitely be around for many years to come and will always be reinventing herself. Strap in, it’s time for some “Super Bass”.