If looks could kill, then 'Nicki Minaj' would be hard to live around, but, in fact....she's extremely difficult not to look at, having captured the sharp notice of rap enthusiasts, and music fans throughout America!
Still shy of releasing her first album, this Afro and Indo-Trinidadian beauty has still managed to liven up 'My Space' and 'You Tube' with sexy photos of her voluptuous body, and samples of a unique singing talent that has quickly vaulted Minaj to the top of the rap world.
Born 25 years ago in Jamaica Queens, New York, Onika Tanya Maraj grew up with an abusive, drug addict father who once tried to kill her mother by setting the house on fire. After that, Nicki vowed to give her mom strength by proclaiming, "If I'm successful, I can change her life!" By studying singing and acting, and then graduating from La Guardia High School in Manhattan, Minaj changed her own life as well....forever.
First working as an administrative assistant, Minaj dedicated all her free time to music, and in 2004 she began singing background vocals and hooks for local rappers. However, she wanted to "stand out" more than the average dime-a dozen female singer, so Minaj began writing and performing her own raps.
Upon branching out on 'My Space', "Dirty Money" CEO 'Fendi' noticed and signed her to appear on his label, and his new DVD "The Come Up'. Soon afterward, rapper 'Lil Wayne' called 'Fendi' and negotiated a meeting with Nicki, who won him over with a fresh style and her independent writing ability.
As the new face of his "Young Money" label, Lil Wayne and Minaj cut mix tape style remakes of tracks such as "Sunshine", "Big Spender", and "Higher Than a Kite".
In 2007, Nicki released her own mixtape called "Playtime is Over' where she posed as a 'Barbie' doll on the cover. Then, in 2008, she put out a controversial mixed CD called "Sucka Free" which paid tribute to fellow rapper 'Lil Kim'....with Nicki pictured spreading her legs on promotional posters.
She also appeared in that year's July issue of 'XXL' magazine, and won 'Female Artist of The Year' at the "Underground Music Awards'. She would eventually receiver six 'BET Award' nominations in 2010.
Meanwhile, two other mixtapes "Beam Me Up Scotty", and "Barbie" followed before Minaj finally released her first single called "Massive Attack" this past April. This exotically performed song is produced by 'Sean Garrett' and 'Alex Da Kid', and includes a cameo appearance by 'Amber Rose'.
Its music video was shot in the desert near Lancaster, California, and has already premiered on BET.
"Massive Attack" will head up Minaj's much anticipated debut album, set for release this summer. The album was scheduled for release three months ago, but Minaj didn't want to rush it, for quality's sake.
"I'm a perfectionist, and I want this buzz to surpass everyone's expectations, especially those who support me. I don't want to disappoint them", she says.
Minaj's musical style is heavily influenced by 'Lauryn Hill', and 'Natasha Bedingfield', as well as the unpredictable rhymes of 'Missy Elliott'....and, the sexually charged attitudes of 'Lil Kim' and 'Foxy Brown'. She's also cited 'Jada Pinkett Smith' as a motivator for her desire to eventually become an actress.
As far as image goes, the Nicki Minaj of today seems to want to tone things down a bit, as opposed to the earlier "look at me" style of grabbing everyone's attention. "I think it's important for people to get accustomed to seeing the female rapper again. I'm not sure where I fit into that spectrum yet, as I'm still trying to prove myself", she says.
"Before, people thought of me as a sex symbol or a wanna be sex symbol, but I don't want people thinking I'm up here trying to be cute; I'm here to entertain, and entertaining is a lot more than exuding sex appeal. I think watching someone try to be sexy is "wack", Minaj explains.
"I'm trying to just show my true personality. When I was in elementary school, I had a teacher who would stand up on a desk and just whisper, as we all turned around wondering what this lunatic was doing. But, she achieved what she wanted! She wanted us to stop talking and listen!"
"That is why I need to mellow things down, so people can really listen what I have to say", explains Minaj.
Somehow I don't think it will matter whether she's sitting down, standing on a table, dancing on stage, singing in a dessert, sitting by a pool, or basking on a beach, Rap audiences and audiences everywhere will all take time to watch, and listen...to NICKI MINAJ!
Thanks, and listen up for Nicki Minaj on Streetwise Radio's "Big Hop"