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Nicki Minaj (born December 8, 1982) is the stage name of Onika Tanya Maraj, an American rapper and hip hop singer/songwriter from Queens, New York, U.S.
Born in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago, Minaj moved to Queens, New York with her mother and attended the music and performing arts inclined LaGuardia High School. After an unsuccessful stint at acting rapper Minaj signed with Brooklyn group Full Force and rapped in a quartet alongside Lou$tar, Scaff Beezy and 7even Up. Disappointed with the lack of success Minaj departed from the group and uploaded several songs to Myspace through which she appealed to Fendi, the CEO of Dirty Money Entertainment, who ultimately signed Minaj.
After appearing on the music DVD “The Come Up Volume 11”, Minaj released her debut mixtape “Playtime is Over” in 2007 on Dirty Money Records. Following the release of her subsequent mixtape “Sucka Free” in 2008 the rapper was named the Female Artist of the Year at the 2008 Underground Music Awards. Minaj’s third mixtape “Beam Me Up Scotty” arrived in 2009 with considerable airplay from BET and MTV and featured the single “I Get Crazy”.
2009 marked the breakthrough year for Minaj, signing with Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment, the rapper featured on a number of high profile mixtapes and singles. Ahead of her debut album “Pink Friday” in 2010 Minaj released the singles “Your Love” and “Check It Out”. The album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 helped by the single “Moment 4 Life” featuring Drake and an appearance on Saturday Night Live.
In 2012 Nicki Minaj joined singers M.I.A. and Madonna to perform their single “Give Me All Your Luvin’” at the 2012 Super Bowl XLVI half-time show, and the same year she became the first female rapper to perform at the Grammy Awards. Ahead of her sophomore album Minaj released the lead single “Starships” and subsequently the singles “Beez in the Trap” featuring 2 Chainz and “Right by My Side” with Chris Brown. Minaj’s album “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded” was released in April 2012 debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and was followed by a headlining Pink Friday Tour.
In 2014 the rapper released her third studio album “The Pinkprint” led by the single “Pills N Potions”. Minaj has won the BET Award for Best Hip-Hop Artist five consecutive years on the trot, and received two 2015 Grammy nominations for Best Rap Song for single "Anaconda" and Best Pop Duo/Pop Performance for "Bang Bang" featuring Jesse J and Ariana Grande.