December 8 In Hip-Hop History: Nicki Minaj Is Born
By Tony M. Centeno
December 8, 2023
Barbz across the world are rejoicing as their queen Nicki Minaj celebrates her latest trip around the sun.
On December 8, 1982, Onika Tanya Maraj-Petty was born in the Saint James district of Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago to parents Robert and Carol Maraj. At the age of five, her mother moved her and her family from the island nation in the Caribbean to Southside Jamaica Queens. Although she initially wanted to pursue a career in medicine, Minaj later gained aspirations to become an actress. While she worked on her acting career, she also discovered her love for music.
Originally known as Nicki Maraj, former label boss Fendi encouraged her to change her name to Nicki Minaj. In 2007, Minaj released her first mixtape, Playtime Is Over, and her second Sucka Free a year later. She truly made waves with her third tape Beam Me Up Scotty in 2009. The tape got plenty of attention and also features songs like "I Get Crazy," which was one of her first major collaborations with Lil Wayne. Following the success of the mixtape, Wayne signed Minaj to his Young Money imprint. The rest is history.
Since releasing her debut album Pink Friday in 2010, Nicki Minaj has released other criticially-acclaimed projects like Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (2012), The Pinkprint (2014) and Queen (2018). In between that time, she's knocked out numerous collaborations with a slew of top-notch acts like Beyonce, Drake, Rihanna, Yo Gotti, Chris Brown, Ariana Grande and more. After teasing her upcoming album for the past few years, Minaj kicked off 2022 by releasing new collaborations with Lil Baby. She also dropped off other tracks like "We Go Up" featuring Fivio Foreign, "Super Freaky Girl" and its "QueenMix" featuring JT of City Girls, BIA, Katie Got Bandz, Akbar V, and Maliibu Miitch. She hasn't revealed a release date for her fifth studio album, but she recently assured fans that it's coming soon.
In addition to her record-breaking music career, Minaj also got her acting career off the ground. She's starred in several films like Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012), The Other Woman (2014), Barbershop: The Next Cut (2016) and The Angry Birds Movie 2 (2019). Recently, she explained that she's in talks for another opportunity that may be the biggest role of her lifetime. Nonetheless, her most important role will always be as a mother to her son with husband Kenneth Petty. Her first-born, who she calls "Papa Bear," was born in 2020 and has already won over fans' hearts.
In 2023, Nicki Minaj celebrated her birthday by releasing her new album Pink Friday 2. The album features previously released songs like "Last Time I Saw You" and "Red Ruby Da Sleeze." She's also planning on going on tour for the first time in years.
Happy birthday Nicki Minaj!