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In Numbers: The controversial career of Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj is, arguably, the best female rapper of all time. Born in Trinidad, she was 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’s mother would receive beatings from her father, who was an alcoholic and crack cocaine addict.

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, in 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. However, her career has been smothered in controversy since 2014. With the arrival of other female rappers, such as Iggy Azalea and Remy Ma, following her release from prison, it became an uphill struggle for Nicki Minaj.

With Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, Lil Kim, Mariah Carey, Cardi B, Remy Ma, Safaree Samuels, Wendy Williams and more on the end of Minaj’s frequent online rants before long, people grew tired of her antics, but her talent was undeniable. As her career begins to wind down after over 15 years in the game, we’re going to break down the facts and figures to present you with her controversial career in numbers.

Nicki Minaj’s solo albums:

Across her 15-year career, Minaj has released four studio albums, one compilation album, and three mixtapes. Minaj began releasing albums every two years in 2010. However, after her 2014 album The Pinkprint, she began releasing every four years until 2022.

Minaj’s highest-selling solo album is her 2010 debut album, Pink Friday. This was her first full-length album and spawned an array of Top 40 hits, including ‘Fly’ featuring Rihanna, ‘Moment 4 Life’ featuring Drake and her most-known single ‘Super Bass’ which has been certified Diamond by the RIAA. Pink Friday sold 375,000 copies in its first week and is three times platinum.

Nicki Minaj’s most streamed song:

As a lead artist, over her 15-year career span, Nicki Minaj has released a total of 123 singles. However, her most streamed song of all time on the prevalent music streaming service Spotify is ‘Super Bass’, the third single from her debut album Pink Friday. The single, as of 2022, has been streamed approximately 598.4 million times.

As a featured artist, Minaj’s most streamed song is ‘Tusa’ by Colombian singer KAROL G. The 2019 track from KAROL G’s album KG0516 was a reggaeton hit and has been streamed approximately 1.2 billion times.

Nicki Minaj’s biggest video on YouTube:

Nicki Minaj’s most viewed video on YouTube as a lead artist is the music video for her infamous track ‘Anaconda’, which was released as the second single for her 2014 album The Pinkprint. The track is infamous and was extremely polarising upon its release. Not only is the video highly sexual, but many considered the whole track (which samples ‘Baby got Back’ by Sir Mix-a-Lot) very gimmicky. The video has approximately 1 billion views.

Minaj’s most viewed video as a featured artist is the 2016 Ariana Grande music video for her track ‘Side To Side’. The video has been viewed over 2 billion times.

Nicki Minaj’s net worth:

Minaj has been part of a number of different business deals over the years but hasn’t truly or at openly had any of her own businesses. She was one of the many celebrity stakeholders of TIDAL, she also entered a deal with Apple Radio, resulting in her Queen Radio show. She has had various different fragrances and partnered with beauty brands but not had her own.

Minaj has not founded a record label or clothing line outside of brand partnerships. In 2022 Minaj’s net worth is estimated to be around $130 million.