Onika Tanya Maraj (born December 8, 1982), known by her stage name Nicki Minaj, is a Trinidadian-born American musician. She was born in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago, and moved to the New York borough of Queens when she was five.
After releasing three mixtapes between 2007 and 2009 and being signed to Young Money Entertainment in August 2009, Minaj released her debut album, Pink Friday, in November 2010. It quickly became a commercial success, peaking at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 and being certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) a month after its release. She became the first female solo artist to have seven singles on the Billboard Hot 100 at the same time. Her second single, 'Your Love', reached #1 on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs chart, making Minaj the first female artist to top the chart unaccompanied since 2002. She also became the first female artist to be included on MTV's Annual Hottest MC List. Minaj was named the 2011 Rising Star by Billboard.
Minaj released her first mixtape in 2007 after releasing Playtime Is Over with Dirty Money Records. She released another mixtape on July 7, 2008, titled Sucka Free, under the label Be. On April 18, 2009, Minaj released a third mixtape and appeared in XXL magazine. She won the Female Artist of the Year award at the 2008 Underground Music Awards. Minaj released Beam Me Up Scotty, another mixtape, in April 2009 under the label of Trapaholics Records; it received positive coverage on both BET and MTV.
In August 2009, Minaj signed a record deal with Young Money Entertainment, with distribution from Universal Motown Records, after fellow American rapper Lil Wayne discovered her and secured the record deal. She then had a solo rap verse in their single 'BedRock', which became a commercial success, reaching #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Minaj also appeared on 'Roger That', which charted at #56. The song, and in particular Minaj, received positive reviews from critics. Both songs were included in Young Money Entertainment's debut collaborative studio album We Are Young Money, which was released in December 2009. The album charted in the top ten on the Billboard 200, reaching #9 and later receiving a Gold Certification by the RIAA. She was then chosen by Mariah Carey to be featured on her single and music video for 'Up Out My Face'. Critics praised her collaboration for helping to maintain Carey's feminine image and providing a polite track for the female R&B singer.
After a major record label bidding war, Young Money Entertainment announced on August 31, 2009 that Minaj had been released a 360 deal with the label in which she retains and owns all of her 360 rights – including merchandising, sponsorships, endorsements, touring and publishing. In an interview with 95.8 Capital FM, Rihanna stated that after the two collaborated on 'Raining Men' from her album Loud that the duo would be teaming up together for a possible second collaboration on Minaj's Pink Friday. Hip-hop rap artist and producer Kanye West was also confirmed for the album. On August 3, 2010 Minaj revealed on a Ustream.tv channel that the album's name would be Pink Friday, in reference to Black Friday.
Pink Friday was released on November 19, 2010 in both standard and deluxe versions. A buzz single, 'Massive Attack', was released in April. In August, Minaj released 'Your Love' as the first official single from her debut album. The single peaked at 14 on the Billboard Hot 100, 7 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and topped the Rap Songs chart. Minaj became the first female artist to be included on MTV's Annual Hottest MC List and the first female artist to top the chart unaccompanied since 2002. In October 2010, Minaj became the first artist to have seven songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart simultaneously. Minaj released a joint single with The Black Eyed Peas front man, will.i.am titled, 'Check It Out', which is Minaj's most successful single to date in Europe. 'Right Thru Me' was released September 24, 2010; the music video was released in late October. 'Moment 4 Life' was released as the fourth single. The track featured Canadian rapper Drake and was released on December 7, 2010, becoming a success on the Billboard Hot 100. The single peaked at number 5 on the Hot Rap Songs. The album gained a Platinum certification in the United States a month after the release.
On January 29, 2011, Minaj appeared on Saturday Night Live as the musical guest, performing 'Right Thru Me' and 'Moment 4 Life'. On February 9, 2011, it was announced that Pink Friday had reached number one on the Billboard 200 in its eleventh week on the chart. It was hinted by Simon Cowell that Minaj would join the judging panel of the American version of the The X Factor. Starting in June 2011, Minaj will be supporting Pink Friday by serving as an opening act along with Jessie and the Toy Boys and Nervo on Britney Spears' sixth concert tour, the Femme Fatale Tour, in support of her seventh studio album, Femme Fatale. She also was featured on the official remix of Spears' track 'Til the World Ends' along with Spears and singer Kesha, which charted at number 3 in the US in April 2011. 'Super Bass' was released from Pink Friday in May 2011, the single charted within the top 10 in many countries including; United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Canada and more. The song gained positive reviews from critics.
Minaj's second studio album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, was announced through Twitter in November 2011, to be released on April 3, 2012. The album's first single, "Starships", was released on February 14. On February 12, 2012, Minaj debuted her song "Roman Holiday" at the 54th Grammy Awards.
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