ARTIST

Nicki Minaj

Influenced by the unpredictable rhymes of Missy Elliot along with the sexually charged attitudes of Lil' Kim and Foxy Brown, rapper, television reality show judge, and household name Nicki Minaj was discovered thanks to her MySpace page. It was there that Dirty Money Entertainment CEO Fendi first heard her ability to freestyle and first laid eyes on her steamy set of promo shots. With killer curves she was obviously proud to flaunt, plus a background in the performing arts thanks to the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art (the school that had inspired the movie Fame), Minaj was a perfect fit for Fendi's urban DVD magazine The Come Up. She appeared in numerous volumes, including number 11, which spotlighted her future label boss, superstar rapper Lil Wayne. Through Fendi, Wayne contacted Minaj and signed her to his Young Money label. They began to build her career through mixtapes like Lil Wayne's Dedication 3 and Minaj's own Sucka Free. Meanwhile, appearances on various remixes -- everything from T.I.'s "No Matter What" to Jeffree Star's club track "Cupcakes Taste Like Violence" -- helped spread the word. The big breakthrough for Minaj came when Wayne added his rhymes to her "High as a Kite" single, a mixtape favorite in 2008. The year 2009 would see more guest appearances and mixtapes, including the Beam Me Up Scotty mixtape, featuring the street single "I Get Crazy." In 2010, the singles "Your Love" and "Check It Out" preceded the release of her official debut album, Pink Friday, which debuted that November at number two on the Billboard 200 and went platinum. She earned a handful of 2011 Grammy nominations, including Best New Artist, Best Rap Album, and Best Rap Performance. An all-out media blitz followed between albums with extravagant performances at award shows across the globe, an appearance as a musical guest on Saturday Night Live, and joining Madonna -- alongside M.I.A. -- for her Super Bowl XLVI halftime show. In early 2012, the Eurodance-influenced single "Starships" signaled the coming of her official sophomore effort, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, an album built around her devil-may-care alter ego "Roman Zolanski." Guest artists included Nas, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Chris Brown, and Beenie Man, while production came from the likes of RedOne, Dr. Luke, and Ke'Noe. The album hit number one on the U.S. album charts, driven by a Top Ten showing for "Starships." "Pound the Alarm" and "Va Va Voom" also reached the Top 40. By the end of 2012, Minaj had been announced as a judge for the 12th season of American Idol, although she left at the end of the season. It hardly affected her success, as she set two career records during 2013: most-charted female rapper in the history of Billboard's singles chart, and the first person to win Best Female Hip-Hop Artist at the BET Awards four times in a row. She then announced her third studio album, The Pinkprint, which appeared at the end of 2014. First single "Lookin Ass" was also featured on the Young Money compilation Rise of an Empire, released in March of that year, while follow-up "Anaconda" was nominated for Best Rap Song at the 2015 Grammy Awards. Filled with songs about guilt and failed relationships, the album was well-received by critics and debuted at number two on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart.

Onika Tanya Maraj (born December 8, 1982), known professionally as Nicki Minaj, is a Trinidadian-born American rapper, singer and songwriter. Born in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago and raised in South Jamaica, Queens, New York, Minaj earned public attention after releasing three mixtapes between 200709. She has been signed to Young Money Entertainment since 2009.nMinaj's first and second studio albums, Pink Friday (2010) and Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (2012), both peaked at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 and produced the successful singles "Super Bass" and "Starships", respectively. In 2010, Minaj became the first female solo artist to have seven singles simultaneously charting on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. Her third studio album, The Pinkprint (2014), was preceded by its second single, "Anaconda", which peaked at number two on the Hot 100 and is her highest-charting single in the U.S. to date. Minaj made her film debut in the 2012 animated film Ice Age: Continental Drift, and also had a supporting role in the 2014 film The Other Woman. In 2013, she was a judge on the twelfth season of American Idol.nMinaj was the first female artist included on MTV's Annual Hottest MC List, with editor Brent Staples from The New York Times saying that some consider her "the most influential female rapper of all time". Her rapping is distinctive for its fast flow and the use of alter egos and accents, primarily British cockney. Early in her career, Minaj was known for her colorful costumes and wigs. In April 2013, she became the most-charted female rapper in the history of the Billboard Hot 100. Minaj has endorsed Adidas, MAC Cosmetics and Pepsi. She has received ten Grammy-nominations throughout her career, and has won six American Music Awards, ten BET Awards, three MTV Video Music Awards, four Billboard Music Awards, and was the recipient of Billboard's Women in Music 2011 Rising Star award.

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