Nicki Minaj is now one of the most recognizable names in music, but she endured a lot from her humble beginnings in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago to get to that point. She moved to Queens, New York with her family at age 5. Her childhood was difficult to say the least. Her father was a very serious drug addict, and Minaj and her family endured years of abuse and tragedy as a result. At one point, her father even set the family’s home on fire in an attempt to kill her mother.
Minaj credits her early experiences with fueling her drive to succeed. She wanted to be able to give her mom a better life. One of the ways Minaj dealt with her painful childhood was by developing different personas that would allow her to be a “new person.” Before settling on Nicki Minaj, she used the personas “Cookie” and “Harajuku Barbie.” Aside from creating these personas, she wrote her first rap at age 12, and once she was in high school, she became involved in acting.
Minaj was discovered by Fendi, the CEO of Dirty Money, who signed her to his label after hearing some of her material on her MySpace page. After meeting Lil Wayne through Fendi, she produced a series of mix tapes with him. The recordings helped build up anticipation about the release of her debut album in 2010. That same year, she won Best Hip-Hop Female at the BET Awards, which she dedicated to Lil Wayne.
In 2012, Minaj’s performance at the Super Bowl helped her reach a wider audience, and she released the album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded not long after. The album reached the top of pop, R&B, and rap charts and helped cement her as one of rap and dance music’s new stars. Check out the following mini-biography to learn more about Minaj’s life and career.