Onika “Nicki Minaj” Maraj is a Grammy-nominated, Platinum selling artist and actress, and the highest selling female hip-hop artist of all time.
Born in Trinidad, Minaj’s family moved to New York when she was young, and she grew up in the South Jamaica section of Queens. Upon graduating famed arts school LaGuardia High, Minaj was cast in a few small roles, but she eventually turned her interests to music. Starting out in a group called The Hoodstars with then-boyfriend Safaree “Scaff Beezy” Samuels and two others, Minaj decided to turn solo when the group failed to gain traction after a couple of years.
Minaj’s rapping soon caught the attention of Fendi, the owner of a popular street DVD series. He signed her to a management contract and featured Minaj on the next installment of his DVD, which caught the attention of Lil Wayne. Wayne reached out to Fendi to begin working with Minaj, and she made her debut on his 2007 mixtape, The Drought 3.
Minaj would release three mixtapes: 2007’s Playtime Is Over, 2008’s Sucka Free and 2009’s Beam Me Up Scotty, before officially signing with Young Money/Universal in 2010 and releasing her debut album, Pink Friday. By then, she’d parted ways with Fendi. After being managed by Debra Antney and living in Atlanta for the Beam Me Up Scotty period, Minaj relocated back to NY with new management. To date, Nicki Minaj has released three studio albums.
Aside from music, Minaj has made a successful lipstick release with MAC Cosmetics, a nail polish line with OPI, a clothing line with K-Mart and a popular line of fragrances. She has also had roles in the films Ice Age: Continental Drift, The Other Woman and Barbershop: The Next Cut.