Nicki Minaj’s domination of the Hip Hop arena has established her as a living legend.
Last night proved to be a rock star night for The Source’s 2012 Woman of the Year, Nicki Minaj and her barbz as she took home the Billboard Awards for Best Rap Album (Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded), Best Rap Artist and Top Streaming Artist. Minaj also had a wild performance of her new single “High School” with mentor Lil Wayne, which included a steamy lap dance (yes fellas, a Nicki Minaj lap dance). Nicki has left an undeniable footprint in the new era of Rap and while some may argue that it’s for the best and others for the worst, one thing is for certain: she isn’t going anywhere.
What’s most admirable about the platinum selling rapper is where she came from. Onika Tanya Maraj was born on December 8th 1982 in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago; however she was raised in Southside, Jamaica, Queens. Dealing with the turmoil of a drug addicted father and the reality of poverty, Nicki turned to music and fantasy as a way of escape. This method eventually birthed her alter egos who you may know as Roman Zolanski, the Harajuku Barbie or Nicki Lewinski. She studied at the prestigious LaGuardia High School of Music and Art but decided to set herself apart from being a generic aspiring singer by getting into the rap game.
The hustle of young Nicki is certainly what set her apart from the alienated art of female rap. From 2007 to 2009 she released three mix tapes, going so far as to sell them out of her car. Her incredible grind was eventually picked up by Fendi of Dirty Money, who signed her. Although you may not believe it from her star studded arena shows today, back in 07 you may have found Nicki rapping on the streets of Jamaica, Queens. As Lil Wayne began building his Young Money Empire, he tapped Nicki Minaj as the 1st lady of the budding label. World domination was now Minaj’s sight.
After being co-signed by nearly every relevant rapper in the game (Lil Wayne, Drake, Diddy, DJ Khaled, Jay Z, Kanye West, Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, Tyga, etc) Nicki Minaj has certified her spot among the boys club of Hip Hop.
Taking a look at Nicki Minaj’s set of accomplishments; it’s hard to deny the rapper the title of Rap Queen. Let’s recap.
– 2 Platinum Selling Albums (Pink Friday, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded)
– Endorsement deals with Pepsi, MAC Cosmetics, and Adidas
– 4 American Music Awards (Favorite Rap Artist, Favorite Rap Album)
– 6 BET Awards (Best New Artist, Best Female Hip-Hop Artist, Best Group,
– 5 BET Hip Hop Awards (Rookie of the Year, Made You Look, People’s Champ, Hustler of the Year, MVP of the Year)
– 5 Billboard Music Awards (Top Streaming Song, Top Streaming Artist, Top Rap Artist, Top Rap Album)
– 2 MTV Video Music Awards (Best Hip Hop Video, Best Female Video)
– 1 People’s Choice Award ( Favorite Hip-Hop Artist)
– 1 Soul Train Award (Best Hip-Hop Song of the Year)
– 2 Teen Choice Awards (Choice R&B/Hip Hop Song, Best R&B/Hip Hop Artist)
– Upcoming Clothing Line with K-Mart
– Pink Friday Fragrance with Macy’s
– Judge on American Idol, Season 12
– Beats by Dre, Pink Pill
– Launch of her own alcoholic beverage “Myx”
– Star in a “Fame” – a biographical comic book on the rapper
– Star in upcoming film “The Other Woman” with Cameron Diaz
– Performances at the Super Bowl and Grammys
Nicki Minaj came under some criticism following the release of her album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded for her alienation of Hip Hop music and increased “pop” sound. In response, she released an extended version of the album titled “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (The Re-Up)”. The new album focused back on Minaj’s mix tape sound and silenced critics who questioned her Hip Hop capabilities.
Criticism and fame come to any artist hand in hand. Comments on Nicki Minaj’s career have been filled with both praise and hatred but she continues to dominate as the lead female in the Hip Hop arena. Her blueprint (or pink print as she calls it) has been a constant point of reference for nearly every female rapper to emerge after her. Somewhere within the confines of Nicki’s career lays a formula for uncontested success, for both male and female rappers alike. Although we at The Source look forward to the emergence of new lyrical and talented females in Hip Hop, we salute you, Nicki Minaj for re-opening doors and lighting a candle in the once dark room that was female rap.
~ Salvatore DiBenedetto (@SaysSal)