Nicki Minaj is, arguably, the best female rapper of all time. Born in Trinidad and raised by her grandmother on the Caribbean island until the age of six, in 1989, Minaj left Trinidad and was flung into the cold and uncomfortable poverty of New York City public housing. Raised in South Jamaica, Queens, Minaj was exposed to all sorts of negative things growing up.
Minaj’s father fell victim to crack upon his move to the US from Trinidad in the mid-1980s, and his substance abuse led to physical abuse and domestic violence in the household. Minaj has recalled how sorry she felt for her mother, who would receive beatings from her father, who abused alcohol and crack cocaine.
Desperate to make something of herself, Minaj began rapping full-time in 2003 alongside her friends Loustar, Seven Up, and Safaree Samuels as part of the Hood$tars. But that was short-lived. After featuring on various mixtapes in New York, Minaj was asked by black entrepreneur Fendi if she wanted to appear on what was a popular underground hip hop DVD known as ‘The Come Up DVD’.
The rapper appeared on ‘The Come Up DVD’ several times between 2003 and 2006, and under Mizzay Entertainment, an Atlanta-based management company in 2007, Minaj’s segment appeared after Lil Wayne’s cameo. Noticing Minaj, Lil Wayne contacted Minaj’s management, and in 2007 Nicki signed a record deal with Young Money.
Releasing several mixtapes between 2007 and 2009, such as Scotty Beam Me Up and Playtime Is Over, 2009 Minaj featured on the smash-hit Young Money record ‘Bedrock’ alongside Lil Wayne, Lloyd, Drake, Tyga and Gudda. This exposed Minaj to the world, and the rest is history.
When she entered the mainstream circa 2009 alongside Lil Wayne and Drake, Minaj went straight to the top and was one of the most in-demand rappers at the time. Everybody from Rihanna to Katy Perry wanted her for a feature, and she rose so fast in 2010 even Kanye West was asking her for a feature.
While Kanye was crafting his My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album, he called upon Minaj for his song ‘Monster’ which also features Jay-Z and Rick Ross. However, West has admitted that he was considering taking Minaj’s verse off the track because she was so much better than the rest of them, including himself, and he didn’t want the guys to feel overshadowed.
However, West ended up keeping Minaj as he knew it would be a great career accelerator for her and that it was. M9inaj completely outdid Kanye, Jay-Z and Rick Ross on the track and cemented herself as a force to be reckoned with in hip hop. Below you can watch the video for ‘Monster’ as well as Nicki Minaj’s behind-the-scenes footage, which also features Blac Chyna.