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Nicki Minaj Biography and Origins

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Born on December 8th, 1982 in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago, Nicki Minaj first sang with local rappers in New York until she was discovered by Lil Wayne. The release of several mixtapes and appearances on the tracks of several rap and hip-hop artists paved the way for the release of her debut album, "Pink Friday". Now, she's being called the one to watch in the world of hip hop. In this video, we take a look at the musical origins of hip hop recording artist, Nicki Minaj.

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Musical Beginnings

Onika Tanya Maraj, better known as Nicki Minaj, was born on December 8th, 1984 in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago. At the age of five, she moved to Queens, New York with her mother. It was here she attended high school, where she specialized in the arts, causing her to fall in love with music.

Lil Wayne and Young Money

After singing with local rappers, she soon caught the attention of Lil Wayne and he signed her to his label, Young Money. She released several mixtapes, including 2007's Playtime is Over, 2008's Sucka Free and 2009's Beam Me Up Scotty.

Freestyle and Rap

She also performed on several remixes, including T.I.’s “No Matter What.” As the underground music scene started to take notice of Minaj, she continued to refine the freestyling techniques that would set her apart from her fellow rappers.

Guest Appearances and Solo Single

Minaj would land on the music charts on several occasions during 2010. In the first half of the year, she was featured as a guest on songs such as Ludacris’ “My Chick Bad,” Trey Songz’ “Bottoms Up” and Jay Sean’s “2012 (It Ain’t the End).” The release of her solo single, “Your Love,” brought her to the top of the Rap Songs chart and made her the first unaccompanied female artist to reach that position in eight years.

"Pink Friday"

In October, Minaj had another chart record. She became the first artist to have seven songs on the Billboard Hot 100 at the same time. This was thanks to collaborations with artists such as Kanye West and Sean Kingston, and the release of more singles, including "Roman's Revenge" with Eminem, ahead of her debut album. A month later, her first solo effort, Pink Friday, debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200.

"The Queen of Hip-Hop"

From the looks of it, things are just beginning for Nicki Minaj. The rapper burst onto the hip hop scene and quickly became an artist to watch as she teamed up with other musicians. Now, having already been declared the Queen of Hip-Hop, Minaj is giving her fellow female singers a run for their money as her solo career takes off.

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