Genre: Hip Hop, Pop
Birthplace: Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago
Albums: Pink Friday (2010); Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (2012)
Awards: 4 Grammy Nominations; 2 American Music Awards; 2 MTV Video Music Awards
Hits: "Your Love," "Moment 4 Life," "Super Bass," "Starships"
Other: Often raps as one of a number of alter egos.
While Onika Tanya Maraj was born on the island of Trinidad, her mother moved to the NYC borough of Queens when she five years old. She attended a performing arts high school, graduating with aspirations to become an actress. Her acting ambitions did not work out, and eventually she found limited success as part of the hip hop group "Hoodstars."
Limited success wasn't her goal, and Minaj left the group to concentrate on a solo career. Through her MySpace profile, she was noticed and signed by a Brooklyn label. She released three mixtapes, the last of which was called "Beam Me Up Scotty." By this time Minaj earned the notice of Lil Wayne, who mentored her during the recording of "Beam Me Up Scotty." She credits the mixtape with focusing her musical efforts.
After a few backing vocals on a number of high profile tracks, Minaj would complete her first solo album in 2010. Titled Pink Friday, it became Platinum certified within a month, and marked her big mainstream breakthrough. The album peaked at #1 on the Billboard 200, as well as the US Top Hip Hop and Top R&B charts. Pink Friday earned Minaj the discinction of being the first female artist to have seven singles on the Hot 100 chart simultaneously. Four singles from Pink Friday went Platinum, the biggest, "Super Bass," six times.
Now a household name, Minaj toured as the opener for Brittany Spears Femme Fatale Tour and collaborated with Spears on a remix of her track "Till the World Ends" with Rihanna. She returned to the studio in 2011 for the follow-up to her debut album: Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded. "Roman" is one of the numerous alter-egos Minaj uses in her raps. With the success of her first album, she was able to enlist a whos-who of top producers and guests for the album.
Roman Reloaded avoided the sophomore jinx, landing at the top of all the same charts as its predecessor, and adding the top of the UK Albums Chart to the list for good measure. Minaj's signature blends of hip hop and pop continue on this album, with chart topping pop singles like "Starships" alongside more traditional hip hop tracks.
No longer just an opening act, Minaj embarked on the Pink Friday Tour in May of 2012, headlining shows around the world and brining her signature styles to the stage for thousands of fans. Blurring the lines a bit, the Pink Friday Tour ended in August of 2012, but that break was temporary at best. The Pink Friday: Reloaded Tour kicked off only a couple months later.
Minaj combines her very visible fashion style and music into a feast for both eyes and ears. Her shows feature theatrical elements across multiple acts, showcasing the genres she's famous for mixing: pop, dance, hip-hip, and R&B. Fans shouldn't miss her show when she visits an arena near them.