Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj

“You know what, I’m a female entertainer... but I don’t let it offend me when people call me a female MC or female rapper, because I just look at it as a challenge.” ~Nicki Minaj, XXL magazine

Like many other artists in her generation, Onika "Nicki" Maraj explicitly used music as a means to achieve broader stardom. So were there any surprises in her career path? Maraj began as a singer and rapper who appeared on hooks and choruses of hip-hop songs. She came to the attention of the Dirty Money brand in the late '00s and, soon after, rapper Lil' Wayne. She earned the distinction of being the sole female member of Lil' Wayne's Young Money Entertainment, a clique of up-and-coming male rappers.

Minaj released three mixtapes between 2007 and 2009 -- Playtime Is Over, Sucka Free, and Beam Me Up, Scotty -- two of which portrayed her as different pop sex icons: possibly Barbie (or Bratz) and Wonder Woman (by way of Star Trek). She also appeared on a number of singles for other mainstream artists, like Ludacris, Mariah Carey and Yo Gotti. In 2010 she released her first solo single, "Massive Attack."

And, for those who cared, she described herself as bisexual. Gossip blogs then discussed amongst themselves. ~Dan Nishimoto

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