Nicki Minaj (real name Onika Maraj) has always been very open and honest regarding her relationships. Still, before she found her husband in Kenneth Petty, she had a lot of messy public relationships, the first of which was with Safaree Samuels.
Born and raised in Brooklyn to Jamaican parents, Safaree Samuels was a member of the Hood$tars, Minaj’s first crew comprised Loustar, Seven Up, herself and Safaree. The group did release one song officially entitled ‘Don’t Mess With’. However, it went nowhere. Minaj eventually chose to leave Hood$stars, but while she was part of the group, she and Samuels had grown much closer and had begun dating.
With so much love for Minaj and wanting to continue his musical journey alongside her, Samuels accompanied the Queens rapper when she left Hood$stars. He then moved with her to the southern city of Atlanta. He slept on the floor and struggled with Minaj between 2004 and 2006 while Deb Antney of Mizay Entertainment, an Atlanta-based management company, was managing Minaj.
During this period, Minaj provided club performances and underground DVD and mixtape appearances and began gathering a following. Although he was a rapper himself, Samuels would end up supporting Minaj on stage at her performances and continued to do so while she was breaking into the mainstream.
By 2007 when Nicki signed to Young Money with Lil Wayne, Samuels had become second to Minaj and acted as her hypeman. This is how Nicki Minaj first arrived in the mainstream, and between 2007 and 2014, Samuels was the Queens rapper’s hypeman on stage. However, the couple’s relationship began to sour.
In October 2014, Safaree and Nicki were seen publicly attending an event. However, the man who proudly wore a tattoo of Minaj’s name on his arm had (for the first time) been photographed looking unhappy, with his tattoos fully covered. This sparked rumours of a breakup. Within a few days, the hip-hop media outlet TMZ reported that Minaj had dumped Samuels as he was getting frustrated with her getting the limelight.
TMZ reported that “Safaree was getting sick of being in the background and had become increasingly hostile … an emotion she reciprocated.” This was followed by an Instagram post by Samuels in which he showed a before and after of his tattoos. In one photo, Samuels had Nicki’s hair and name tattooed on his chest. In another, they were replaced by new designs.
Nicki’s 2014 album The Pinkprint, which boasted the smash hit ‘Feelin Myself’ featuring Beyoncé, also featured a track called ‘Bed Of Lies’. It was widely assumed to be a breakup letter directed at Samuels directly. In December of that year, following an interview with Angie Martinez on HOT97, Nicki went on a Twitter rampage in which she accused him of “blackmail” and claimed he was “selling [pornographic] vids.”
However, Safaree took to Twitter and explained to fans that Nicki doesn’t pen her raps and that he helped her write her verses, which Minaj vehemently denies. Taking to social media, Samuels wrote, “Every time it came to writing raps and doing music, it was her, me, and the beat…She doesn’t do it by herself. It’s me and her!” But Nicki quickly hit him below the belt and (in an interview with Funkmaster Flex) accused Safaree of using her credit cards to pay for prostitutes while they were in Atlanta.
The two have undoubtedly had a messy relationship and breakup, but now that Minaj has married and settled down, it seems as if the two have finally matured and are no longer in communication.