Whether you love or hate her, Nicki Minaj has been in the fame game for quite some time, gaining the well-deserved title, ‘Queen of Rap’. From bust-ups with stars to crazy outfits and alter egos, the costumed princess has grown into a household hip-hop name. Her Barbie ways, flawless flow and crazy personality is why we love her, and keeps us wanting more!
But the popular celebrity hasn’t had it easy; to find out more about her tough upbringing and struggle to fame, here are 20 Nicki Minaj facts you probably didn’t know about the baddest female rapper around…
1. She Has a Mix-Cultured Nationality
Although you might think that the rap star is American, she is actually of African, Trinidadian, and Indo-Asian descent. She was born in Trinidad and Tobago and then moved to the Bronx in New York City when she was five years-old.
2. Nicki Minaj’s Parents are Gospel Singers
Music runs in the family! Nicki’s father, Robert Maraj, is a financial executive and part-time gospel singer, while her mother, Carol is also a gospel singer but also worked in payroll and accounting departments! It looks like the Bang Bang singer grew up around music, although she decided to follow suit with a different genre.
3. Her Tough Childhood Has Shaped her Personality
Many think that the American Idol judge is ice-cold. It’s hard not to see why after the rough upbringing she’s had. Her drug-addict father sold all their furniture when she was a youngster and even set fire to their home in an attempt to kill her mother. Her tough early life gave Minaj the fire to make something of herself and empower other women that are in a weak situation like her mom.
4. She has a Controversial Brother
This Nicki Minaj fact might blow your mind. In 2017, Nicki’s, 38-year-old brother Jelani Maraj (photo: far right) was found guilty of predatory sexual assault on his 11 year-old step-daughter. Although Nicki reportedly visited her brother with her mother after the guilty verdict, she hasn’t spoken about the matter, publicly.
5. She Was Fired from Her Waitressing Gig
Before Minaj made it on the hip-hop scene, she had a regular job like the rest of us. But this job didn’t last long, as she was fired as a waitress at Red Lobster for being rude to a customer. In this particular incident, Minaj chased the customer out of the restaurant to give her the finger and demand for her pen back. As a matter of fact, Nicki has admitted to being fired from 15 jobs for the same reason. Yikes!
6. She was a Broadway Star!
It might be hard to imagine, but Nicki Minaj was a Broadway star long before her career as a rapper. Before becoming a mega musician, Nicki went to a performing arts school in Manhattan, and after graduation, she focused on acting, eventually landing a role in the off-Broadway play, In Case You Forget in 2001.
7. Nicki Wrote Her First Rap When She Was 12
It comes as no surprise that this talented star found her niche at the age of 12. She’s always loved performing and was part of her church-choir until she set her sights on acting. This is when she discovered that she was lyrically talented, too!
8. Nicki was in a Band before Signing to Young Money Entertainment
Swapping theatre for music, Nicki joined the band, The Hoodstars in 2004, whose track, Don’t Mess With was featured as the opening song for WWE Diva Victoria. Believe it or not, the band also included her ex-boyfriend, Safaree Samuels! Nicki was signed by Dirty Money Records in 2007 where she adopted her stage name and a few mixtapes later, she was discovered by none other than Lil Wayne who signed her to Young Money Entertainment in 2009.
9. She Claims She’s Had No Surgery on Her Face
With her perfect chiselled features and cute nose, fans have speculated for years that Minaj has been under the knife a few, fair times. And although a nose job or a facelift may seem obvious, the rapper did fight back to rumors claiming, “I never had surgery on my face. When people see my makeup they think all types of crazy things that I’m doing to my skin, but it’s makeup.”
10. She’s Never Denied Butt Implants
Nicki has one of the most-talked about hourglass figures in showbiz. Many have accused the star of sculpting her derriere, and having breast implants, but she’s neither admitted or denied having any surgery. In fact, Nicki doesn’t mind people commenting on her behind – “I don’t mind it. You know, people are sitting in the barbershop talking about my butt, it’s conversational. That’s what people are gonna do. As long as they’re talking about Nicki Minaj, I’m good.”
11. Nicki Had an Abortion at a Young Age
This fact about Nicki might shock a few. In her track, All Things Go, the rapper revealed that she lost an unborn child. Since then, Nicki has spoken about her abortion that she had when she was 15, saying that it’s the hardest thing she’s ever done. She strongly believes that she had nothing to give to the baby and ultimately made the right decision.
12. “Nicki Minaj” isn’t her Real Name
Yep, you read that right. Indeed, you’ve been lied to all of these years. The rapper’s real name is actually “Onika Tanya Maraj”. Although at the start of her music career, the Barbie Dreams star used the stage name, “Nicki Maraj”, she later changed it to “Nicki Minaj”. Apparently, Fendi (CEO of Dirty Money Entertainment) inspired her to change her name when she met him because, “I had such a nasty flow! I eat bi***es!”
Ever wondered what it means? The definition of “Minaj” actually has sexual connotation!
13. She’s Feuded with Miley Cyrus, Mariah Carey and More Celebs!
You’ve probably already heard about Nicki’s feuds, from her disagreement with Miley Cyrus, which resulted in a very public call-out, to her beef with Mariah Carey that almost tore American Idol apart. Or even her lash out at Travis Scott and Kylie Jenner, claiming that the rapper cheated by getting his baby mamma to promote his new album. But her public bust-up with Cardi B took celebrity feuds to a whole other level when the Bodak Yellow rapper threw her shoe in Nicki’s direction, causing her public removal from the NYFW event. It’s since been reported that Cardi B was aiming at her former Love and Hip Hop co-star, Rah Ali.
14. Her Raunchy Anaconda Video Broke YouTube Records
If you thought Miley’s Wrecking Ball video was an eyesore, you definitely didn’t see the slithering Anaconda coming. The sexy single broke YouTube records with over 19.6 million clicks on the first day of release, turning this chart banger into a major milestone for the queen of rap.
15. She’s Gal Pals With the Hottest Pop Stars
The Chung-Li rapper doesn’t just hang out with anyone! Although she’s very selective with her circle, Minaj has been open about her adoration for pop princess, Ariana Grande, having collaborated together on a number of tracks, including Side to Side and The Light is Coming. She also hangs out with Queen B and was even included in the backdrop on Beyonce and Jay Z’s On The Run 2 tour.
16. Her Fashion Inspiration is Betsey Johnson
Although Nicki Minaj has a very unique style, she claims that she gets a lot of inspiration from American fashion designer, Betsey Johnson. The two became gal pals in 2011 when the Queen Barbz sat front row at her SS12 show. It’s safe to say that the admiration is mutual! Betsey told MTV that she thinks the rapper is “amazing”.
17. Nicki’s Been Crowned the Twerk Queen
Every time the Young Money rapper twerks, it makes headlines. It is after all what gave Nicki the title of “Twerk Queen”. Her booty-popping skills have impressed the nation, with young girls trying to imitate her style. Although, we’re not sure that’s the best skill to be copying!
18. She May Have Dated Fellow Rapper, Drake
Nicki is a huge part of Drake’s dating history (and we think she always will be)! When she was linked to the Canadian rapper, fans went wild! I mean, who doesn’t love it when their favorite celebs hook-up?! And although Drake publicly confessed his love for her (which is a running theme in his book), neither of them actually confirmed if they had dated or not.
19. Minaj Was the First Female Rapper to Perform at Yankee Stadium
In 2010, Nicki made history when she performed Monster at the Yankee Stadium with fellow rappers, Kanye West and Jay-Z. The night wasn’t only historic for Nicki but for hip-hop in general, marking the first time that so many hip-hop artists got together to perform on the big stage at the stadium.
20. She Has a Fetish For Stuffed Animals
Celebrities have the strangest habits, but Nicki takes it to a whole other level with her love for her furry friends. In 2010, she had a serious stuffed animal collection and offered a $50,000 reward when her pink monkey, Oscar (yep, they even have names) went missing!
21. She’s a Chicken-Wing Lover
Here’s some random Nicki Minaj trivia! If you thought that this diva would be into Caviar and Champagne now she’s made it, you better think again! The female rapper only has one love when it comes to food – and that love is none-other than a spicy, fried chicken-wing – she even has a necklace dedicated to the delicious food!
22. She’s Obsessed with Meryl Streep
While most people were a fan of Andy Sachs in the Devil Wears Prada, Nicki much preferred Miranda Priestly. As she was attending the La Guardia High School of Music and Art at the time, Minaj used Streep as her inspiration when performing.
23. She Was One of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World
You know you’ve made it when you rank as one of the TIME’s most influential people in the world. In 2016, Nicki Minaj was the first female rapper to ever feature on the list. This was thanks to her work ethic, her female-empowerment and her duty as a role model to so many other young women in the world.
24. She Co-Owns Tidal
Having Jay-Z as a close friend is key in the rap game, and Nicki has not only become super good mates with the Carters, but she also holds a stake in Jay’s music-streaming service, Tidal.
25. She’s Collaborated with MAC Makeup, Twice!
If most artists are lucky to collaborate with a large beauty brand, it usually only happens once. But when Nicki got creative, she managed to get a return gig and create a second line of products, proving that she’s more than just a rapper, but a smart businesswoman, too!
26. She Has One Chinese Tattoo
If you’ve been dying to know what Nicki’s arm tattoo means, you’ve come to the right place! Her ink translates to “God will be with you”, a hidden message for the artist to remember when wanting to achieve whatever she sets her mind to!
27. She has a Net Worth of Millions!
Nicki is made of money and rightly so! The superstar rapper has a whooping net worth of $85 million (2019)! She also made it to 2019’s list of richest rappers in the world! Minaj’s wealth isn’t just a a result of her successful music, she also earns money from other projects such as being a judge on American Idol and having several endorsement deals with big names like Pepsi and MAC Cosmetics.
Despite her struggles, Nicki has proven that she’s a female to watch, from her generosity to her business ventures and record-breaking albums, Queen Barbz is certainly ranked as one of the most successful female rappers of all time (alongside the recently famed rapstress, Cardi B).
Let us know what your favourite fact about Nicki Minaj is and what you love about the rapper in the comment section below…