Before her explosion into the mainstream in 2009, Nicki Minaj had various managers and signed multiple contracts. However, her former manager, Big Fendi, once claimed that the founder of Mizay Entertainment, Deb Antney, brainwashed the Queens emcee.
After featuring on various mixtapes in New York, Minaj was asked by Fendi if she wanted to appear on what was a popular underground hip-hop DVD known as The Come Up DVD. Elaborating on his start with the lyricist, Fendi explained, “Nicki started with me in ’06, ’07. I met her on MySpace…Her name was Nicki Maraj when I met her. I changed her name to Nicki Minaj.”
In 2006, Minaj signed with Fendi’s production company, Dirty Money; the executive went into detail, disclosing, “She’s actually still signed to my production company, which is Dirty Money…It took me 70 days to get the Young Money deal. It was the Young Money/Dirty Money deal.”
However, according to Fendi (real name Floyd Bentley), it was after this signing that things started to go wrong. Speaking about Deb Antney, Bentley continued, “Debbie called me up two weeks later like, ‘Oh, I like your artist!’ We need to set up a meeting’…Nicki went out there, and then Debbie brainwashed her. Debbie got out there—Debbie got her little tactics. Debbie hit her with the ‘Nicki Minaj, I don’t know about that name. He’s trying to take you in the wrong direction.'”
Bentley added, “So, I was like ‘Hold on, Debbie. You my homegirl. How you poisoning my artist after I put you on to her’… Meanwhile, my contract with Wayne/Young Money is still moving. So, basically, she tried to wait til my contract expired before she signed with Young Money… I still got that contract to this day!”
Debra Antney played a significant role in Nicki Minaj’s career and, as a fellow female, helped her navigate the male-dominated world of hip-hop. However, during an interview on the Matthew Hoffa podcast My Expert Opinion, Antney expressed how she feels Minaj “disacknowledged Georgia” once she achieved fame.
Minaj and Fendi recently got back on speaking terms. However, for the majority of her reign as the queen of rap, Minaj was not in contact with the Brooklyn executive who effectively began her career. You can hear Debra Antney speak on her struggles with Big Fendi in the video below.