Born on December 8, 1984, Nicki Minaj is an Indo-Asian descent. She grew up in a troubled family with a father who was a drug addict. She studied singing and acting at LaGuardia High School but like many other big stars, she began her singing career as a backing vocalist for other artists.
Her talent was first spotted by Young Money CEO Fendi on MySpace and later was recruited for The Carter Edition of Young Money's "The Come Up" DVD series. Her rapping skill caught the attention of Lil Wayne who later on tagged her for a number of collaborations in his mixtapes.
In April 2007, Nicki released her first mixtape "Playtime Is Over". Weezy lent his vocal on one of the songs. A year later, she dropped another mixtape "Sucka Free" which landed her as Female Artist of the Year at the Underground Music Awards.
After the arrival of her third mixtape "Beam Me Up Scotty" which received positive reviews from BET and MTV, she appeared in a bunch of joint tracks for studio albums from the likes of Ludacris, Usher, Mariah Carey and, of course, her mentor Weezy.
Nicki finally released her debut single "Massive Attack" in March 2010. She teams up with Sean Garrett on the hook and tags her BFF Amber Rose aka Kanye West's girlfriend when shooting the music video.
The singles "Your Love" and "Check It Out" then preceded the release of her official debut album, "Pink Friday]", which was released later in 2010. It peaked at No. 2 on Billboard 200 and went platinum. She earned a handful of 2011 Grammy nominations, including Best New Artist, Best Rap Album, and Best Rap Performance.
In early 2012, she released "Starships" as the first offering from her sophomore effort, "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded", an album built around her devil-may-care alter ego "Roman Zolanski." Boasting guest appearances from Nas, Wayne, Rick Ross, Chris Brown and Beenie Man, the album hit No. 1 on the U.S. albums chart. In addition to "Starships", the album spawned other hits like "Pound the Alarm" and "Va Va Voom" which reached the Hot 100's top 40. By the end of 2012, Minaj was announced as a judge for the twelfth season of "American Idol", although she left at the end of the season.
In 2013, Minaj announced that she would be releasing a new album in 2014. "Lookin A**" was released in March 2014 as the first single off the album which was later titled "The Pinkprint". "Pills N Potions" was released a few weeks later as the second single. However, the biggest hit from the album is so far the third single, "Anaconda". Featuring a sample of Sir Mix-a-Lot's 1992 hit "Baby's Got Back", the ode to booty spawned a twerk-filled music video that eventually became the most-viewed clip on YouTube in 24 hours period. The song itself peaked at No. 2 on Hot 100. "The Pinkprint" album was coming out on December 15.
Laced with 16 songs in total, "The Pinkprint" boasts appearances from the likes of Meek Mill, Drake, Lil Wayne, Jeremih and more. The album, which was co-produced by Birdman, Wayne and Ronald Williams, received generally positive reviews from music critics. It debuted at No. 2 on Billboard 200 chart, while it started at No. 22 on the U.K. Albums Chart. Additionally, the set was nominated for Best Rap Album at the 58th Grammy Awards. In support of the album, Minaj embarked on her international "The Pinkprint Tour", which ran from March 2015 until August 2015. The 49-date trek was supported by Trey Songz, Ester Dean, Rae Sremmurd, Mill, Tinashe and DJ Loaf.
In March 2015, Minaj became the first female artist with three simultaneous tracks in the top 10 of Billboard's Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop chart as a lead act. In May, it was announced that she would play in the third installment of the "Barbershop" film series alongside Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer, Eve and more. Titled "Barbershop: The Next Cut", the film was released on April 15, 2016. Minaj bagged the honor of Best Female Hip-Hop Artist for a sixth consecutive year at the 2015 BET Awards. She became the female rapper with most wins in that category, closely followed by Missy Elliott with five victories. Minaj continued dominating hip-hop music industry as she won Best Hip-Hop Video for her chart-topping single "Anaconda" at the 2015 VMAs.
In February 2016, Minaj released a remix of Yo Gotti's "Down in the DM" that found her addressing her VMA feud with Miley Cyrus, which began after Cyrus commented Minaj's nasty beef with Taylor Swift. Minaj was featured on Ariana Grande's "Side to Side", which was released on August 30. The reggae-pop song, which was featured on Grande's third studio album "Dangerous Woman", peaked at No. 4 on Billboard Hot 100 chart. Its music video premiered on Guess' website on August 28, featuring the singers in a gym. Grande and Minaj performed the track at the 2016 VMAs and AMAs.
In November 2016, Minaj teamed up with Mike WiLL Made It to release a remix of Rae Sremmurd's "Black Beatles". Titled "Black Barbies", the remix was initially released on Minaj's SoundCloud account, before it was remixed and released officially for digital purchase on November 30. The track peaked at No. 20 on Billboard's Hot Rap Songs chart. In December, Minaj and Fetty Wap connected on a new single called "Like a Star". Produced by Yung Lan, the track was expected to be featured on Fetty's much-anticipated album "King Zoo.
In February 2017, Minaj was featured on Jason Derulo's "Swalla". Co-written by Ricky Reed and LunchMoney Lewis, the dancehall-tinged track found Minaj taking a jab at Remy Ma on her third and final verse. In response to Remy Ma's diss tracks "ShETHER" and "Another One", Minaj released "No Frauds" on March 10 featuring fellow Young Money members Drake and Lil Wayne. In addition to "No Frauds", she unleashed two more brand new tracks called "Regret in Your Tears" and "Changed It" featuring Wayne. Produced by Frank Dukes, "Regret in Your Tears" was seemingly about her past relationship with Mill.
With a total of 76 songs on Billboard Hot 100 chart over her career, Minaj established a new record for most Hot 100 hits by a female artist in every genre. Aretha Franklin previously held the record for almost 40 years with 73 entries. Minaj is currently working hard to finish her upcoming fourth album. While details remain sparse, she has apparently been working with some musicians including DJ Mustard.
Throughout the remainder of year, Nicki appeared as a feature guest on several tracks, including Yo Gotti's "Rake It Up", Katy Perry's "Swish Swish" and Migos' "MotorSport". The release of the latter track caused a bit of controversy as it was reported that Nicki didn't know that she would be included in it. However, she immediately cleared up the misunderstanding.
Despite taking a social media hiatus to prepare for her new album, rumors surrounding her personal life kept circulating online. She was reportedly pregnant with Nas' baby and was rumored to be bald due to an accident. Both rumors were never confirmed, though.
There were also rumors that she was feuding with fellow musicians Demi Lovato. Their feud was reportedly ignited when they attended the 2016 Met Gala, where Nicki allegedly made the former Disney darling live a nightmare that night. Again, the rumors were never confirmed.
Nicki was also rumored to be feuding with fellow female emcee Cardi B due to their collaborative track "MotorSport". This time, Nicki confirmed the rumors in an interview by saying that Cardi had acted ungrateful towards her. "I had never seen her show me genuine love," she said at the time.
Thanks to her social media hiatus, the numerous rumors didn't affect her music career as she released two new songs, "Barbie Tingz" and "Chun-Li", in April 2018. Both tracks will be included in her forthcoming studio album, which still doesn't have a release date or a title. A music video for "Chun-Li" was released on Saturday, April 14.
Even though Nicki released a couple of singles to promote "Queen", she was forced to push back its release date as she continued to polish the record. Despite that, fans were still able to enjoy her new music as she recorded a collaboration with Tekashi 6ix9ine titled "Fefe" that was unleashed on July 22, 2018. She also appeared as the musical guest in an episode of "Saturday Night Live" season 43 with Tina Fey taking the hosting duties.
"Queen" ultimately hit the stores on August 10 to favorable reviews. The album debuted at No. 2 on Billboard 200, just behind Travis Scott (II)'s "Astroworld". This fact was not received well by Nicki, who then criticized her fellow rapper over the methods he used to promote the album. She specifically mentioned the fact that his then-girlfriend Kylie Jenner hyping up "Astroworld" tour bundles helped him rule the chart. She also called out Spotify for allegedly treating her unfairly and accused the streaming service of punishing her for debuting her record on Apple Music first.
The controversy aside, one song off the album helped her win an award at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards. Her song, "Chun-Li", won Best Hip-Hop during the ceremony. She also continued working on her music, teaming up with BTS (Bangtan Boys) for their single "IDOL" and co-headlining Made in America Festival in September.
In that same month, Nicki got caught in another controversy. During a Harper's Bazaar party at New York Fashion Week, she and Cardi B nearly got physical when the latter threw one of her shoes at Nicki. Cardi later explained that it was because she caught Nicki liking comments mocking her abilities to take care of her daughter, Kulture, but Nicki denied the accusation in an episode of her "Queen Radio" show and called the altercation "humiliating."
In addition to her beef with Cardi, Nicki landed in hot water for dating registered sex offender Kenneth Petty. Despite the backlash, she defended their relationship and continued going out with him. Following the criticism, Nicki decided to step out a bit from the spotlight and only made an appearance at the 2019 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. She was brought by headliner Ariana Grande at the time, performing several of their hit collaborations that included "Bang Bang" and "Side to Side".
Later in June, Nicki released her first solo song of the year "Megatron" before teaming up with Megan Thee Stallion on "Hot Girl Summer" in August. She also collaborated with Ariana Grande and Normani Kordei on "Bad to You" for "Charlie's Angels" soundtrack, as well as joining forces with Karol G for "Tusa".
Besides collaborating with several artists, Nicki made headlines for announcing her marriage to Kenneth after a year of dating. She then broke the Internet for revealing that she would be retiring from music, before clarifying that she would only take a break to focus on her family. She kept pretty much a low profile after that and did not make any recorded public appearances aside from her attendance at the Billboard Women in Music in December.
Nicki returned to social media on January 30, 2020, announcing her appearance as a guest judge at the premiere episode of "RuPaul's Drag Race" season 12. The next day, her collaboration with Meghan Trainor entitled "Nice to Meet Ya" was unleashed alongside its music video.
She later found herself trending on social media when she and her ex-boyfriend Meek got caught in an online back-and-forth that stemmed from her accusing Meek of mocking her husband. He then called him out over his brother's rape case, while Nicki accused him of abusing her throughout their relationship. After the Twitter war, Nicki admitted that she regretted her action and made a note to herself not to do it ever again. Later on, she released her first solo song of the year, "Yikes". The song debuted at No. 23 on Billboard's Hot 100 and became her second-highest new entry.