Nicki Minaj, is a Trinidadian-born rapper, singer, and songwriter. She is known for her animated flow in her rapping and versatility as an artist.
Born in the Saint James district of Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago and raised in Queens of New York City, she gained public recognition after releasing three mixtapes between 2007 and 2009. Early in her career, Minaj became known for her colorful costumes and wigs, her distinct flow, and the use of alter egos and accents, primarily British cockney. In 2010, Minaj released her debut studio album, Pink Friday (2010), which was certified triple-platinum by RIAA, and reached number-one on the Billboard 200 chart. Minaj’s first top-five single “Super Bass” reached number three on the Hot 100. At the time, it was the highest-charting solo song by a female rapper since 2002, and it became the second female rap song to be diamond-certified in 2021. Her second album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (2012), saw Minaj move towards a dance-pop and pop rap sound. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, with its lead single, “Starships”, reached number five on the Hot 100. Minaj’s third and fourth studio albums, The Pinkprint (2014) and Queen (2018), marked a departure from her previous style and a return to her hip hop roots. The former’s second single “Anaconda” reached number two on the Hot 100 and became the first solo female rap video to reach one billion views on YouTube.
Her feature on the remix of Doja Cat’s “Say So” and her collaboration with 6ix9ine, “Trollz”, both released in 2020, marked her first and second number-one singles on the Hot 100, respectively, with the latter making her the second female rapper to debut at number one, following Lauryn Hill in 1998. Including features, Minaj is the female artist with the second-most entries on the Hot 100, behind singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, with each accumulating over 100. She has nineteen top 10 singles on the chart, the most for any female rapper so far, with four of those being solo songs. Her collaboration with Karol G, “Tusa”, became the longest-running number-one single in Argentina, with a total of over five months. Her 2021 rerelease of Beam Me Up Scotty (2009) debuted at number two on the Billboard 200, becoming the highest debut for a female rap mixtape on the chart.
Often cited as the “Queen of Rap” and the “Queen of Hip-Hop” by several media outlets such as Billboard and Time, Minaj is one of the best selling artists of all time with 100 million records sold worldwide. Her accolades include eight American Music Awards, five MTV Video Music Awards, six MTV Europe Music Awards, twelve BET Awards, four Billboard Music Awards, a Brit Award, and three Guinness World Records. Billboard ranked her as the top female rapper of the 2010s, as well as seventh among the top female artists of the decade. In 2016, Time included Minaj on their annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Outside of music, Minaj’s film career has included voice roles in the animated films Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012) and The Angry Birds Movie 2 (2019) as well as supporting roles in the comedy films The Other Woman (2014) and Barbershop: The Next Cut (2016). She also appeared as a judge on the twelfth season of American Idol in 2013.
Various media outlets, such as Billboard, Time, NME, NBC News, and GQ have referred to Minaj as the “Queen of Rap” and The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, and LA Times have referred to her as the “Queen of Hip Hop”.
In 2012, Jon Caramanica of The New York Times called Minaj “the most influential female rapper of all time”, and in 2015 Vanessa Grigoriadis from its magazine called her “the world’s biggest female rap superstar”. In Evening Standard, Jochan Embley called her one of the most influential rap artists of all time, saying that “Everything she does is bold, fearless and distinct – whether that be her eye-popping stage attire or her expertly delivered lyrics, which stare gender and race dead in the eye.” Zoe Johnson from XXL called her “one of the most versatile MCs” and that she has “made millions off upbeat pop hits and traditional hip-hop sounds that cater to both her femininity and her assertive side”.
In XXL, Madeline Roth commented that Minaj “has helped birth a new generation of rappers that mimic her style”. She has influenced several artists, including Tinashe, Cher Lloyd, Cupcakke, Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X, Ms Banks, Asian Doll, Doja Cat, Megan Thee Stallion, Latto, BIA, Lakeyah, Luísa Sonza, Coi Leray, Maliibu Miitch, Young Thug, City Girls, Yung Baby Tate, Rico Nasty, Cuban Doll, Erica Banks, Flo Milli, Ivorian Doll, Angel Haze and Saweetie.
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