"When I am assertive, I’m a bitch. When a man is assertive, he’s a boss. He bossed up. No negative connotation behind ‘bossed up.’ But lots of negative connotation behind being a bitch. Donald Trump can say, ‘You’re fired.’ Let Martha Stewart run her company the same way and be the same way." -Nicki Minaj
Onika Tanya Maraj was born December 8th, 1984 in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago. Her heritage is of Indian and Afro-Trinidadian ancestry. Onika would grow up with her grandmother in Saint James with occasional visits from her mother as her parents tried to find a home in Queens borough, New York.
When Onika was five, her mother came to get her and bring her to her new home. Life was hard for the young family, Onika's father was an abusive alcoholic and drug addict. At one point, he tried to kill Onika's mother by setting their house on fire.
She would grow up surrounded by the fighting and arguments from her parents. To escape, she would play make-believe and escape. Onika's first character was 'Cookie'. She would stay 'Cookie' for quite some time, but 'Cookie' would fade and a new identity would take its place.
"To get away from all their fighting, I would imagine being a new person. 'Cookie' was my first identity—that stayed with me for a while. I went on to 'Harajuku Barbie', then 'Nicki Minaj'. Fantasy was my reality." -Nicki Minaj
Not to be forgotten is her darkest identity, which has been referred to as her 'twin brother' - Roman Zolanski. A character she created for her first album who she embodies when getting into her rage. She describes him as a 'demon inside of her.' For the remainder of the piece, I shall use 'Nicki'. Please note other identities: 'Nicki Teresa' a healer alter ego and 'Rosa' - pronouced 'Rrrrrrrrrrosa' - which was a Spanish alter-ego presumably for her appearance on Lopez tonight.
"When you’re a girl, you have to be everything. You have to be dope at what you do but you have to be super sweet and you have to be sexy and you have to be this, you have to be that, and you have to be nice. It’s like, ‘I can’t be all those things at once. I’m a human being." -Nicki Minaj
Nicki went to Elizabeth Blackwell Middle School 210. There she would learn to play the clarinet. She would go on to studying at LaGuardia High School - a school that had a special focus on music and the visual and performing arts. It was Nicki's ambition to take part in the musical programs but lost her voice during her audition day. She went on to focus on performing arts in the drama program. This study and her own unique creativity added to the phenomenal performance ability fans would notice in the years to come. There really is no cookie-cutter category Miss Minaj can be placed in and that's very fucking refreshing.
"I just kinda do what I feel. I never knew what lane I would fill, [or that] I would fill a lane at all. I didn’t even really contemplate that far down the road. I just started having fun, and a lot of that came from me seeing Wayne dare to be different, and I started feeling like I can be a multifaceted rapper. I don’t have to be a one-dimensional female rapper. Once I put that in perspective, it was like everything just got easier for me, because I no longer wanted to fit in anybody’s box… I just wanted to be Nicki." -Nicki Minaj
Critics have decided that this artist's work and honesty in interviews is not enough and have decided to pry into her private life. Suddenly her non-judgmental, accepting views had people gossiping into about her sexual orientation. Funny that in a genre like rap and hip hop where there is an open debate in hateful lyrics regarding homosexuality, we find this bright artist advocating understanding. Hopes of even seeing an openly gay rapper take center stage. Openly gay? Meaning maybe some of our favorite bad boys and bad girls might be privately? Cool.
"I just embrace all people of all lifestyles and I don’t tell them they are bad people. And I say girls are beautiful and girls are sexy and they need to be told that, and if they don’t have anyone to tell them that and mean it, I’m gonna tell them that. But I feel like people always wanna define me and I don’t wanna be defined." -Nicki Minaj
If you're cooler than me - chances are pretty good that you are - you might have heard of Nicki as she was making her way and paying her dues to be where she is today. I'm just not that cool. I thought I 'discovered' Russell Brand once when he was doing the Craig Ferguson show - well, he was promoting movie that he was starring in and, yeah, someone probably noticed how cool he is a lot sooner than it got around to me. I was first introduced to the vocal stylings of miss Nicki Minaj on her guest verse on Kayne West's epic single - Monster. Holy shit, boys and girls. She blew me away - like I am sure she did millions of other folks. I mean, that was so tight and her annunciation and fun with dialect made me swoon.
"I put quality in what I do. I spend time and I spend energy and I spend effort and I spend everything I have, every fiber of my being, to give people quality. So if I turn up to a photo shoot and you got a $50 clothes budget and some sliced pickles on a motherfuckin’ board, you know what? No. I am gonna leave. Is that wrong? Wanting more for myself? Wanting people to treat me with respect? You know what? Next time, they know better. But had I accepted the pickle juice, I would be drinking pickle juice right now." -Nicki Minaj
What was Nicki doing before she appeared on that track? In 2007, she released her first mix-tape. She did that after releasing Playtime Is Over with Dirty Money Records. Nicki would release her next mix-tape on July 7th, 2008, entitled Sucka free under the label - Be. It wouldn't be till April 18th, 2009, that she would release her third mix-tape - and the coverage and critical acclaim would climb up from this point. A massive bidding war would ensue with Young Money Entertainment signing the uncanny performer to their label.
Multi-talented, strong, and driven. What will Nicki Minaj do next? After seeing her impressive stint on SNL, I have a feeling with talent (and balls) like that she can do anything she pretty much wants to. And that's exactly what she'll do.