The Life of Nicki Minaj

Barbie. Chun-Li. Onika. Whatever her persona, she's a rap superstar. This is the story of Nicki Minaj.

One-of-a-kind pop star

She was born Onika Tanya Maraj in 1982. Her parents were both gospel singers. At 5, she moved from Trinidad and Tobago to New York City. She attended the LaGuardia High School of Music & Art where she originally planned to become an actor. She started rapping as a teenager and used MySpace to promote her early music. In 2009, she was discovered by rapper Lil’ Wayne and signed to his record label Young Money Entertainment. She performed featured verses on tracks by Gucci Mane, Trina, and Robin Thicke, but it was her verse on Kanye West’s song “Monster” that catapulted her into the mainstream.

Her first studio album presented a mix of pop and hip hop, and featured some of music’s biggest names. My first album I had Eminem, Kanye West, Rhianna, Little Wayne, Will.I.Am, who does that on their first album? No one. People now are expecting me to get like… Jesus. Her second album doubled down on her eclectic style with a mix of rap and dance-pop. She’s also known for her expressive fashion which led to a collaboration with Kmart on a fashion line. Her third album, The Pinkprint, was nominated for Best Rap Album at the 2016 Grammys. In 2019, she abruptly announced her retirement based on this tweet from her official Twitter account: @NICKIMINAJ: I've decided to retire & have my family. I know you guys are happy now. To my fans, keep reppin me, do it til da death of me, ❌ in the box- cuz ain't nobody checkin me. ✅ Love you for LIFE 😘♥️🦄. Many of Minaj's fans and fellow musician peers seemed shocked by the decision. While Minaj hasn't released an album since 2018, she teased an upcoming fifth album on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon." She was also featured on Megan Thee Stallion's song "Hot Girl Summer," which was released in August 2019.

She’s a genre-bending music and style icon and a one-of-a-kind pop star…She is Nicki Minaj.