Rapper, singer, and songwriter Nicki Minaj was born Onika Tanya Maraj-Petty on December 8, 1982, in Trinidad and Tobago. She has a large fan base thanks to her many aliases and distinct musical styles. Minaj first garnered attention after releasing three mixtapes between 2007 and 2009. Her debut album, Pink Friday (2010), topped the U.S. Billboard 200 list with the album’s fifth song, “Super Bass”, reaching number three on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. After further inspection, the RIAA deemed it to be diamond-quality.
Minaj’s follow-up album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (2012), explored dance-pop and hit number one in various countries globally. Introspective themes and a return to her hip-hop beginnings permeate her third studio album The Pinkprint (2014) and her fourth studio album Queen (2018). The latter has the first solo female rap music video to receive one billion views on YouTube, and its second song, “Anaconda,” peaked at number two in the United States.
Nicki Minaj’s Early Life
Minaj is one of the best-selling music artists, with more than 100 million records sold throughout the world, and is frequently referred to as the “Queen of Rap” and the “Queen of Hip Hop” by various media publications. Billboard magazine named her the decade’s best female rapper and placed her at number seven overall among the most successful female artists.
She is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions, including eight Grammys, five MTV Video Music Awards (including the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award in 2022), six MTV Europe Music Awards, twelve BET Awards, four Billboard Music Awards, a Brit Award, and three Guinness World Records. When Time magazine compiled its 2016 list of the 100 most important people in the world, she was one of them.
Besides her musical career, she has also acted on screen. She has provided her voice for the animated films Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012) and The Angry Birds Movie 2 (2019), and she has had supporting roles in The Other Woman (2014) and Barbershop: The Next Cut (2019).
Nicki Minaj’s Career
Saint James is a neighborhood in Port of Spain, Trinidad, and Tobago, where Onika Tanya Maraj was born on December 8, 1982. Her father was the financial executive and occasional gospel musician Robert Maraj (1956-2021), who was of Douglas (Afro-Trinidadian mother and Indo-Trinidadian father) heritage. Her mother, Carol Maraj, shares her daughter’s Afro-Trinidadian heritage and is also a gospel singer. Minaj’s mom, Carol, was an accountant back when Minaj was little.
Because of his fury and substance abuse, Minaj’s father burned down the family home in December 1987. Jelani, the oldest, Micaiah, the middle, and Ming, the youngest, are her siblings. Minaj and her brother Jelani were raised with 11 relatives by their grandma in Saint James. Carol Maraj, the mother of Minaj, had a slew of jobs in Saint James before receiving her green card at age 24. She left Minaj and Jelani in Trinidad with their grandma while she went to Monroe College in the Bronx of New York City.
Time, when Minaj was five years old, Carol bought a home on 147th Street in South Jamaica, Queens, and moved Minaj and her brother Jelani in with her and their father. As Minaj reflected, “My upbringing was not particularly disciplined, if any at all. Even though my mom was always encouraging me, our home was never overly strict. The idea of a rigid family was appealing to me.” Minaj was accepted into the music and art-focused Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts after an audition.
After deciding to pursue a career in acting, Minaj made her debut in the 2001 Off-Broadway production of In Case You Forget. Both “All Things Go” and “Autobiography” has Minaj discussing her abortion when she was a teenager. She insists that she is still confident in her choice despite the fact that it has “haunted” her.
She worked as a waiter at a Red Lobster in the Bronx when she was 19 and tried to make it as an actress, but was dismissed for being rude to patrons. At least fifteen different employers had to let her go, she claimed. On Wall Street, I also worked as a customer service rep and in office management. Minaj says she used waitressing tips to put down a down payment on a BMW when she was 19 years old.