Nicki Minaj: The Life Of The Artist

Originally from the Caribbean, Nicki Minaj has managed to conquer the world with songs such as “Starships”, “Super Bass”, and “Anaconda”. While you may know who she is as an artist, there is still much more to be said about her personal life. Let’s discover who Nicki Minaj is and explore how she managed to become one of the world's most famous singers! 

Image Credits: Getty Images / Neilson Barnard | Nicki Minaj.


The name Nicki Minaj is famous across the world, however, the singer was born Onika Tanya Maraj. She is originally from Saint James in Trinidad and Tobago and came into the world on December 8th, 1982. At the age of five, Minaj and her family moved to Queens, in New York.   

Image Credits: Getty Images / Victor Boyko | Nicki Minaj.

Throughout her childhood, Minaj had to deal with the personal issues of her father, which led to severe struggles. For years, she and her family lived in fear of what their father could do, especially when he eventually caused a fire in their family home. These struggles were one of the reasons Minaj wanted to become empowered and successful.    

Image Credits: Getty Images / Jason LaVeris / FilmMagic | Carol Maraj and Nicki Minaj.


Growing up, the young girl would create different personas, which allowed her to become who she truly wanted to be. Living in a world of fantasy, little Onika created the personas “Cookie”, “Harajuku Barbie”, until she finally developed the one that would bring her to where she is now: “Nicki Minaj”. 

Image Credits: Getty Images / Bryan Bedder | Nicki Minaj.


Fantasy and make-believe were some main pass-times of Nicki Minaj while she was growing up and, at the young age of 12, she managed to put all that creativity into writing her first rap song. Nevertheless, she wanted to broaden her horizons in the artistic world. This led her to act at LaGuardia High School of Music and Art.  

Image Credits: Getty Images / Scott Dudelson | Nicki Minaj.

Sadly, her acting career never took off, which led her to get other types of jobs in order to make ends meet. Minaj worked a steady job as a waitress at Red Lobster, however, she would eventually be let go from this position due to the customer’s complaints about her rudeness.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Kevin Winter | Nicki Minaj.


As time went by, Nicki Minaj was increasingly more determined to succeed in the world of music, and she did whatever she had to in order to have access to that industry. She took several backup singing roles for rappers in New York City and at the same time she would write her own lyrics. 

Image Credits: Getty Images / Kevin Winter | Nicki Minaj.

She shared her work on the social network MySpace and was eventually discovered by Fendi, the CEO of Dirty Money. Minaj was signed to his label, however, the connections she would make through it would be the cherry on top of the cake. Her work led her to connect with Lil Wayne, with whom she would work on a series of mixtapes.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Michael Stewart / WireImage | Nicki Minaj.


After collaborating with Lil Wayne in songs such as Sucka Free and Beam Me Up Scotty, Minaj was able to showcase her swagger and power. In August 2009, the singer was signed to Lil Wayne’s label, Young Money. She was the first-ever female artist to do so! 

Image Credits: Getty Images / James Devaney / GC Images | Nicki Minaj.


Some months after joining Young Money, Minaj released her first single “Massive Attack”, which was soon followed by “Your Love”. These two tracks led her to be nominated for the BET Award for Best Hip Hop Female, which she won and dedicated to Lil Wayne.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Taylor Hill | Nicki Minaj.

Shortly after, Nicki released her debut album “Pink Friday” along with eight promotional singles. The album went triple platinum and received hundreds of positive reviews from the industry, quickly demonstrating that she had what it takes to make it in the music scene and that she would not stop there.  

Image Credits: Getty Images / Brad Barket | Nicki Minaj.


In March 2012, Nicki Minaj was one of the guests on the television show “American Idol”. During the episode, she told one of the judges, Jennifer Lopez, to make some room for her at the judge’s table. It seems that Nicki’s words were magic, as she got exactly that before the year ended.

Image Credits: Getty Images / FOX Image Collection | Judges Mariah Carey, Randy Jackson, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban onstage.

Nicki Minaj joined Randy Jackson, Keith Urban, and Mariah Carey as a judge, however, there would be some issues arising in this team. Shortly after joining the show, Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey started clashing with one another, and it was noticeable that neither of the singers liked the other.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Imeh Akpanudosen | Nicki Minaj.


The fans of the show could probably see the sparks flying between the two, especially during the first auditions of season 12. One of the most emblematic moments of the series happened during the auditions in Charlotte, North Carolina, when after an argument between the singers, Minaj left the stage.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Kevin Winter | Mariah Carey, Randy Jackson and Nicki Minaj.

According to the “Starships” singer, Mariah Carey threatened her, which led to Nicki hiring more security guards. She eventually left the show, however, she has been openly critical of it. She also tweeted several times about her dislike regarding the competition and their selection methods. 

Image Credits: Getty Images / Frederick M. Brown | Mariah Carey, Keith Urban and Nicki Minaj.


In 2012, Nicki Minaj joined Madonna at the halftime show of the Super Bowl, which allowed her to become even more popular nationally. She took advantage of her new-found popularity and released a second album shortly after, titled “Roman Reloaded”, which reached the top of the charts in pop, R&B, and rap. 

Image Credits: Getty Images / Christopher Polk | Nicki Minaj.

Songs such as “Starships”, “Pound the Alarm”, and “Va Va Voom” became international favorites, and allowed Minaj to be invited to perform at the Grammy Awards during that same year, where she performed “Roman Holiday”. Around that same time, the artist released eight more singles from her new album “The Pinkprint”.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Will Heath / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal | Nicki Minaj.


Released at the end of 2014, “The Pinkprint” featured collaborations with some of the most influential contemporary singers, such as Beyoncé, Chris Brown, Ariana Grande, and her label-mate Drake. The album became double platinum and led Minaj to win, for the seventh consecutive time, the Best Female Hip Hop Artist at the BET Awards.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Larry Busacca | Nicki Minaj.


Although she is quite impressive as a music artist, Nicki Minaj has also taken her skills and ability to other fields of work within the entertainment industry. She was the voice behind Steffie from the movie “Ice Age: Continental Drift”, and played alongside Cameron Diaz in the movie “The Other Woman”.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Gilbert Carrasquillo / GC Images | Nicki Minaj.

Her role in “Barbershop: The Next Cut” also landed her a Teen Choice Awards nomination in 2016. Alongside her acting work, Minaj also paired with several brands for advertising campaigns, such as MAC Cosmetics, Adidas Originals, and Pepsi. Currently, she is also a shareholder of the global music streaming service Tidal.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Lester Cohen | Nicki Minaj.


Throughout the years, and although she diversified her career, Nicki Minaj always had music as her main focus. In 2017, she released the tracks “No Frauds”, “Regret in Your Tears”, and “Changed It”, which won her the record for most entries by a female artist on the Hot 100 chart from Billboard.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Michael Stewart / WireImage | Nicki Minaj.

One year later, she released several songs, such as “Chun-Li” and “Barbie Tingz”, as well as the collaboration tracks she did with Lil Wayne, Ariana Grande, and Tekashi 6ix9ine. Alongside her music work, she also launched a radio show on Beats 1 station from Apple Music. Before the end of the year, she released her fourth album “Queen”.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Gilbert Carrasquillo / GC Images | Nicki Minaj.


In September 2019, Nicki Minaj announced via Twitter that she would take a break from her music career in order to build a family. While she promised her fans that there would be more music being released, she wanted to focus her time and energy on her personal life for the time being. 

One month after her announcement, Nicki Minaj got married to her boyfriend Kenneth Petty and less than one year after that, she announced that they were expecting a baby. Their first child was born on September 30th, 2020 in Los Angeles, however, she as yet to reveal what his name is.  


Kenneth Petty is originally from Queens, in New York, the same city young Onika relocated to with her family when she was a child. Petty, who is now 42 years old, works in the music industry and has been in a public relationship with Minaj since December 2018.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Dimitrios Kambouris | Nicki Minaj and Kenneth Petty.

While there was some speculation going on for weeks before Minaj and Petty finally announced that they were a couple, Petty has been seen in two of Nicki’s music videos: “Megatron” and “Hot Girl Summer”. Hopefully, we will be able to learn more about their relationship as parents in the near future. 


At the time of the writing of this article, Nicki Minaj has amounted to a net worth of $80 million and, while she has received income from different ventures, the biggest part of this sum is a result of her successful career as a music artist. Now that is truly impressive! 

Image Credits: Getty Images / Dimitrios Kambouris | Nicki Minaj.

To this day, Minaj has won over one hundred renowned awards, including 6 American Music Awards, 10 BET Awards, 4 Billboard Music Awards, 3 MTV Video Music Awards, and 2 People’s Choice Awards. Not only that, but she has also been nominated for 10 Grammy Awards. What will she take on next? Only time will tell! 

Image Credits: Getty Images / Frazer Harrison | Nicki Minaj.

It is incredible to see how far Nicki Minaj has come in her career and personal life, however, we are certain that she will keep on surprising us with new accomplishments. Which is your favorite song by Nicki Minaj? Let us know in the comments below and make sure to share this story with your friends!

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