Perhaps the most successful female emcee ever with 65 Billboard Hot 100 entries and 11 Top 10 Billboard hits, Nicki Minaj has proven she can play rough with the boys as well as show her feminist, sexy & crazy sides.
After the end of the long-term careers of such female legends as Lil' Kim and Missy Elliott and the on-off popularities of Lil Mama and MIA, Nicki Minaj is the only woman to ascend to rap’s elite circle in a post-“hip hop is dead” world. With an outrageous, method actor delivery, a cast of personas (similar to Redman, Slick Rick, etc.), plethora of nimble flows and an ability to turn out massive pop hits with platinum-name collaborators as much as she can turn a phrase in her own music, Minaj pushes a new edge to popular music. She never hesitates to push into lyrical and thematic frontiers, out of her comfort zone.
Breaking into the mainstream as an artist signed with Young Money Entertainment after discovery by Lil Wayne via her “Sucka Free (Mixtape)” and “BMUS (mixtape)”, Minaj first launched into stardom with her 2011 hit “Super Bass”, featured on her 2010 chart-topping debut album “Pink Friday”, with her first set of unofficial hits such as “Massive Attack”, “Your Love”, “Blazin'”, “Roman’s Revenge” and “Fly”. After setting a couple of records, Minaj continued her success in 2012 with album “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded”. The record contained singles “Starships”, “Va Va Voom”, which would help develop Minaj’s pop/rap style.
She would later feature as a judge on American Idol, later releasing the Re-Up in November of 2012, promoting all throughout next year. Back to dropping the versatile top notch emceeing she was known for around 2009-2010, with tracks like “Up In Flames”, “Freedom”, “Hell Yeah”, and “I’m Legit”. In 2014, she would release her third studio album “The Pinkprint”, which featured singles “Pills N Potions”, “Anaconda” and “Truffle Butter”. On this 4th project, Minaj abandons the “Pop facade” and expands not only on her everchanging flows, thickened, denser delivery, but also her subject matter and lyrical content. She delves into new depths on the album with vulnerability, relationship distress/abuse, betrayal, near death experiences, motherhood, suicide attempts, drug addiction, abortion and murder, responsibility, female empowerment, sexual allegations and entitlement.
Minaj’s collaborations are also numerous and notable, particularly “Bang Bang” with Jessie J and Ariana Grande, “Feeling Myself” with Beyoncé, and several others high-profile collabs. Overall, her relevance and presence in the music industry continue to expand as she proves herself a genuine artist and hitmaker with every hit that she releases.