Her full name is Onika Tanya Maraj and she is a mix of Indian and Afro-Trinidadian ancestry. Growing up, Nicki had an abusive, drug-addicted father and in order to get away from all the chaos, she would create alter egos. “Fantasy was my reality.” She would later add that after her father found church, he changed his life around.
Nicki Minaj said, “I’ve always had this female-empowerment thing in the back of my mind, because I wanted my mother to be stronger, and she couldn’t be. I thought, ‘If I’m successful, I can change her life.’”
When she was five, Nicki Minaj and her mother moved to Queens, where Nicki attended LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and played the clarinet. She wrote her first rap when she was 12. In high school, Nicki said she was distracted by “acting and boys.” Though she wanted to be an actress her career never took off and she was fired from a series of jobs due to discourteousness.
Nicki Minaj later joined a rapping group “Hoodstars,” which led to her being signed to Dirty Money Entertainment. Her underground mix-tape presence attracted the attention of Lil Wayne and she has since risen to prominence. She has released the albums, “Pink Friday,” “Roman Reloaded” and “Sucka Free.” Regarding her style, she said, “no disrespect to New York rappers, but I don’t want people to hear me and know exactly where I’m from.” She cites Jay-Z and Foxy Brown as major influences.
Nicki Minaj joined the twelfth season of “American Idol” as a judge, and she is known for her “feud” with fellow judge Mariah Carey. Minaj has criticized the show saying it “is not a singing competition.”
In 2012, she appeared alongside Madonna during the SuperBowl halftime show.
Nicki Minaj resides in Malibu, CA.
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