Indian Afro-Trinidadian Goddess
Although the world may know her as Nicki Minaj – an artist the New York Times refers to as “the most influential female rapper of all time,” what most people don’t know, is how Minaj came to be such a shining star.
Onika Tanya Maraj was born in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago on December 8, 1982 to Carol and Robert Maraj. Nicki, as we know her today, is a blend of Indian and Afro-Trinidadian ancestry. Her father suffered from a severe drug and alcohol addiction in her formative years, forcing Minaj and her mother to immigrate to Queens, New York when she was only five. Minaj graduated from LaGuardia High School, one that specialized in music and the visual and performing arts- in which she aspired to be an actress. After being cast to a Broadway play, “In Case You Forget,” her acting career failed to take off, and Minaj worked at a plethora of service and administrative jobs that didn’t seem to fit her personality.
Finally after joining a rap group called “Hoodstars,” her music career began. Shortly after, Minaj began creating mixtapes like Beam Me Up Scotty, and achieved serious notoriety. In August 2009, she signed a record deal with Young Money Entertainment, after being discovered by major rap artist Lil’ Wayne. After signing with YME, she performed cameo songs with fellow rappers and performers in famous songs like “BedRock,” “Roger That,” and “Letting Go.”
Today, Minaj is the first and only female rapper to be featured on Forbes’ Hip Hop Cash Kings list, coming in fourth in 2013 behind Diddy, Jay-Z, and Dr. Dre. Her total earnings consisted of approximately $15.5 million in 2013, a number that continues to rise alongside Minaj’s fame. She’s been featured in seven songs on Billboard’s Hot 100, even before the release of her debut album. There’s no denying this Third Culture Kid is a multicultural, multiracial, hip-hop/rap artist who shows no signs of slowing down, and is sure to leave a lasting impact on the world of music.