Nicki Minaj is the biggest female rap star in the world. Yes, Iggy Azalea might have one of the biggest pop songs of the year with 'Fancy,' but she doesn't have the laundry list of hits that Nicki does. She doesn't have the diehard Barbz at her side. And she just can't rap like the Young Money queen.
With fame comes the complete unveiling of all things private, and Nicki's been in the spotlight long enough to shed light on a past full of pain, sorrow, and triumph despite it all. Those who have been down with her since the mixtape days probably know what kind of toilet paper she wipes with, but there are still those factoids that listeners might not be aware of. What specifically motivated Nicki to take up female empowerment? What was her first big break? And what did she do in high school when she was told her singing wasn't good enough?
As we look forward to 'The Pinkprint' and a hopeful release date, it feels right to dig into her history and uncover some of the things that make Nicki Minaj an icon. Walk with us as we go back in time for 25 Facts About Nicki Minaj You Probably Didn't Know.
Nicki was born in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago.
She was raised by her grandmother before moving to Jamaica in Queens, New York when she was five years old.
She wanted to kill her father.
Nicki's father was an abusive drug addict who would sell family furniture for money. He also once tried to kill Nicki's mother by lighting their house on fire. Minaj wanted him dead.
Nicki has a single tattoo on her body.
It's on her arm, and it says "God is always with you" in Chinese. She got it when she was 16 and she actually regrets it.
She used to call herself Harajaku Barbie because girls on MySpace used to call themselves "something Barbie."
She chose "Harajaku" to be different.
She was featured in a 2007 DVD 'The Come Up: The Carter Edition' that caught Lil' Wayne's eye.
By 2009, she was signed to Cash Money Records.
She regrets copying Lil' Kim's 'Hardcore' squat.
In an interview with King magazine, Nicki said copying Kim's pose was not only "too soon," but "unnecessary."
Nicki Minaj is the first solo female artist to have seven singles simultaneously charting on the Billboard U.S. Hot 100 Chart.
The entries include Ludacris’ 'My Chick Bad,' Lil Wayne’s 'Knockout,' Trey Songz’ 'Bottoms Up,' Usher’s 'Lil Freak,' Sean Kingston’s 'Letting Go (Dutty Love),' and Jay Sean’s '2012 (It Ain’t The End).'
Kanye West almost cut her verse from 'Monster.'
'Ye told Sway her verse was so good, he almost cut it out of pride.
The intro Nicki reads on Kanye's 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy' is an adaptation of Roald Dahl's 'Cinderella.'
Read Dahl's version right here.
Nicki used to be managed by Waka Flocka's mom, Debra Antney.
Antney has also managed artists like Gucci Mane and Lex Luger under Mizay Entertainment in the past.
Nicki is the first and only female rapper to appear on the Forbes Hip-Hop Cash Kings List.
She clocked in at #4, earning $29 million in 2013.
In July 2011, her cousin Nicholas was shot down.
He was killed near his home in Brooklyn, New York.
Her influences include Jadakiss and Cyndi Lauper.
Nicki's broad range of influences help her appeal to a wide range of fans.
She did not have fun recording 'Pink Friday.'
In 2012, Nicki told Vibe she "had something to prove [on 'Pink Friday'] to everyone who said a female rapper could not make an album unless she was talking about her p--sy."
Doing guest features helped get her confidence back up after 'Pink Friday.'
And she's had her fair share of killer guest verses.
She has a longtime boyfriend, Safaree "SB" Samuels.
He doubles as an assistant, hype man, and best friend.
Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez have both sung Nicki's 'Super Bass.'
That song, and the subsequent covers by other superstars, helped Nicki to blow up.
She hates the name "Nicki Minaj."
Regarding the origin of her suggestive stage name she told The Guardian: "Somebody changed my name. One of the first production deals I signed, the guy wanted my name to be Minaj and I fought him tooth and nail. But he convinced me. I've always hated it."
Her first alter ego was "Cookie."
Nicki devised the alter ego to escape from her parents fighting all the time.
She also read lots of books when she was younger.
She told The Guardian in 2012, "In all the books I read, there were big houses and they had all this nice stuff and I always wished that could be my family."
Meryl Streep and Judge Judy are the only celebrities that would leave Nicki speechless.
Streep we get, but Judge Judy? Guess that's where Nicki gets the straightforward attitude from.
She studied acting at La Guardia High School.
She was apparently turned down for singing. Joke's on them.
Nicki is the first female rap artist to perform in Yankee Stadium.
When Jay-Z and Eminem threw their historic "Home And Home" concert in New York, they brought along a star-studded list of guests, such as Kanye West and Nicki Minaj, who both came out to perform 'Monster.'
Nicki helped raise $250 million for AIDS in 2012.
With the help of MAC Cosmetics, Nicki endorsed Viva Glam lipstick and 100% of the profits went to the MAC AIDS Fund.
She's always been focused on women's empowerment because of the things her mother went through.
Nicki told Details magazine, "I've always had this female empowerment thing in the back of my mind because I wanted my mother to be stronger, and she couldn't be. I thought, 'If I'm successful, I can change her life.'"
Nicki Minaj Twerking Supercut