Onika Tanya Maraj-Petty (born December 8, 1982), known professionally as Nicki Minaj, is a Trinidadian-American rapper, singer, and songwriter. Born in the Saint James district of Port of Spain and raised in the Queens borough of New York City, she gained public recognition after releasing the mixtapes Playtime Is Over (2007), Sucka Free (2008), and Beam Me Up Scotty (2009).
Early in her career, Minaj was known for her colorful costumes and wigs. Her rapping is distinctive for its flow and the use of alter egos and accents, primarily British cockney. After signing with Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment in 2009, Minaj released her first studio album, Pink Friday (2010), which peaked at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart and was certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Her second album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, was released in 2012 and debuted atop the charts in several countries. Minaj made her film debut in the 2012 animated film Ice Age: Continental Drift. In 2013, she was a judge on the twelfth season of American Idol. Minaj’s third studio album, The Pinkprint, was released in 2014. She subsequently played supporting roles in the films The Other Woman (2014) and Barbershop: The Next Cut (2016). Her fourth studio album, Queen, was released in 2018.
Minaj has topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart twice in 2020; as a featured artist on the remix of Doja Cat’s “Say So” and as a lead artist for her collaboration with 6ix9ine, “Trollz”, in which Minaj became the second female rapper to debut atop the Hot 100 chart, after Lauryn Hill with “Doo Wop (That Thing)” in 1998. She has additionally earned multiple top-five entries on the Hot 100 as a lead artist: “Super Bass” in 2011, “Starships” in 2012, and “Bang Bang” and “Anaconda”, both in 2014. Minaj was ranked 15th on Billboard‘s list of the top artists of the 2010s, being the highest female rap artist on the list.
Cited as one of the most influential female rap artists of all time, Minaj has sold an estimated 100 million records worldwide, making her one of the world’s best-selling music artists. Throughout her career, Minaj has received numerous accolades, including six American Music Awards, twelve BET Awards, four MTV Video Music Awards, four Billboard Music Awards, and two Billboard Women in Music Awards. She has also been nominated for 10 Grammy Awards. In 2016, Minaj was included on the annual Time list of the 100 most influential people in the world.