"Pink wig, thick ass, give 'em whiplash."
Influences: Natasha Bedingfield, Foxy Brown, Drake
, Missy Elliott
, Jadakiss, Janet Jackson
, Grace Jones, Cyndi Lauper
, Lauryn Hill
, Lil Kim
, Lil Wayne
, Remy Ma, Madonna
, Britney Spears
, Smokey Robinson, TLC
, Trina, Kanye West
Nicki Minaj is currently the most talked-about female rapper in America. Born Onika Tanya Maraj in Trinidad, she attended and graduated from the drama program at New York
's LaGuardia High School, a performing arts school. During that time period, she started rapping and making mixtapes and thrived on the underground hip-hop scene where she got much accolades and praise and even won Best Female Artist at the Underground Music Awards.
She eventually got the attention of Lil Wayne
, and was signed to his record label/imprint Young Money Entertainment where she leaped into the mainstream scene by guest rapping on just about every popular artist's song. In November 2010, she released her debut album, Pink Friday
- Playtime is Over (2007)
- Sucker Free (2008)
- Beam Me Up Scotty (2009)
- All Pink Everything (2011)
This artist provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: She had an abusive father.
- Alter Ego Acting: Onika Maraj is her real self, Nicki Minaj is her larger-than-life "Harajuku Barbie" identity, Roman Zolanski is the angry, twisted version of herself, and Martha Zolanski as Roman's uptight mother with a faux British accent.
- Barbie Doll Anatomy: In "Turn Me On." Justified as the video tells a story of a doll-maker.
- One of her nicknames is "Black Barbie", even.
- Blatant Lies: "Excuse me, I'm sorry, I'm really such a lady..."
- Boastful Rap: The focus of some of her songs, while others have a verse or two dedicated to it. Usually occurs in the form of calling herself the “baddest bitch” or “queen,” and especially prevalent whenever Roman's the one singing.
- But Not Too Black/But Not Too Foreign: She is of Afro-Trinidadian and Indian descent. The But Not Too Foreign label comes in because her birthplace is disputed between New York and Trinidad.
- On an MTV documentary she confirmed that she was born in Trinidad and moved to New York when she was five.
- Camp: Intro for "Moment 4 Life"
- Camp Gay: Her Alter Ego Roman Zolanski.
- Canon Discontinuity: After the flop of "Massive Attack" as a debut single, it wasn't included on the final version of the Pink Friday album.
- Catch Phrase: Any variation or combination of "Young Money" or "Barbie".
- Celebrity Song: "Marilyn Monroe".
- Chess Motifs: A King's capture will finish a chess, but it's usually the versatile and boundless Queens who determine the outcome of the game. Hence the line,
You could be the king, but watch the queen conquer!
- Cluster F-Bomb: As expected from a rapper.
- Colon Cancer: Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded - The Re-Up is particularly guilty of being this.
- Costume Porn
- Distaff Counterpart: Subverted. There were remarkable similarities between Nicki and Lil Wayne with their free-associative cadences, hard rhyming, and explicitly sexual content back when Nicki put out her mixtapes, but with Nicki's new Lighter and Softer sound and style on Pink Friday, the two have less in common.
- Double Standard: She discusses the phenomena extensively in her MTV special "My Time Now". She says that when Lil' Wayne says that he doesn't want to talk to anybody, and wants everything ready for him, he's being a boss, but when she does the same thing, she's a bitch.
- Downer Ending: The Pinkprint Standard Edition ends with "Bed of Lies" and "Grand Piano". Both discussing being cheated on and used by someone.
- Dream Team: Any collaboration with Lil Wayne.
- The Exorcism of Roman: The theme of her "Roman Holiday" performance at the 2012 Grammy Awards.
- Fairy Tale Motifs:
- The video for "Moment 4 Life" incorporates Cinderella-like elements, especially with one of Nicki's persona, Martha, playing the Fairy God Mother.
- The "Va Va Voom" music video uses many fairy tale and medieval elements in general (Unicorns, Nicki in a dragon costume) but mostly borrows from the tale of Snow White, with a huntsman, Nicki in a glass coffin, and Nicki dressed as the evil queen in a mirror.
- Freestyle Version: Over songs by Jay-Z ("Encore"), The Notorious B.I.G. ("Warning"), and also PTAL's "Boss Ass Bitch".
- Genre Shift: Not necessarily a shift, so much as an expansion of the genres she works with. As time has gone on, she's branched out from fast-paced, hard raps into pop and slower, more quiet rhymes.
- Genki Girl
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: "Super Bass" masks references to drugs, oral sex and condoms using a combination of fast rapping and unconventional pronunciations. Then there's the whole "Superb Ass" argument.
- Inverted with "Starships." The clean radio version censors her Singer Namedrop line, most likely due to Mondegreen reasons (Her birth name Onika sounds almost like the n-word in the song).
- The Hero Dies: In the "Your Love" video.
- I Have Many Names: Nicki Minaj, Onika Tanya Maraj, Roman Zolanski, Martha, Harajuku Barbie, Nicki Lewinsky…
- In Da Club: "Pound the Alarm", and "Beez In the Trap"'s music video.
- Incredibly Long Note: In "Stupid Hoe" and "Dance (A$$)" with Big Sean. Both notes are over-the-top, if not comical.
- Intercourse with You: "Whip It" and "Sex In The Lounge"
- Large Ham: She can be quite dramatic when rapping.
- Lighter and Softer: The Pink Friday album, which was deliberate. Nicki wanted to go in a different direction than most female rappers and avoid much of the sex and hard rhymes.
- The new tracks added on Roman Reloaded seem to subvert this, however.
- Long Title: Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded -The Re-Up
- Loony Character, Nice Actor: On stage, Nicki (or whichever persona she's under at the time) seems like a complete nutbar. Offstage, she seems like a well-mannered and sweet, if slightly quirky, girl.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Her Harajuku Barbie persona, with the colored wigs, vocal shifts, and... interesting facial expressions.
- Metaphorgotten: We can only hope so anyway in "Did it On 'Em": "All these bitches is my sons, and I'mma go and get some bibs for 'em / A couple formulas, little pretty lids on 'em / if I had a dick, I would pull it out and piss on 'em"
- Mind Screw: Her scene in the video for Kanye West's "Monster".
- Mood Whiplash: For the most part, the mainstream only knew her as the (ostensibly) Lighter and Softer Harajuku Barbie, with all the bright colors the love of pink. This left her performance of "Roman Holiday" at the Grammys (which started with her in a confessional and ended with faking an exorcism on stage) as something that came completely out of left field.
- Motor Mouth: Very much capable of this.
- Ms. Fanservice
- Precision F-Strike: In "Starships":
We're higher than a motherfucker.
- Put on a Bus: Roman Zolanski in the "Moment 4 Life" video intro: "He's off to boarding school, him and Slim Shady, they were wreaking havoc over the industry darling..."
- Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: Pink Friday is not overtly sexual and written from a feminine point of view. This had to led a lot of criticism decrying her as "soft" and not going as hard as the guys.
- Sampling: Your Love uses the Annie Lennox song "No More I Love You's" and pretty much just added more bass.
- Check It Out with will.i.am samples from "Video Killed the Radio Star" by the Buggles.
- Blazin with Kanye West very faintly samples "Don't You (Forget About Me)" by Simple Minds.
- ''Girls Fall Like Dominoes" samples "Dominoes" by The Big Pink.
- "Right Thru Me" samples the opening of Joe Satriani's "Always With Me, Always With You."
- And then there's "Anaconda". It takes guts to sample a song as iconic as "Baby Got Back", but Nicki went and did it.
- Shout-Out: Her 2012 Grammys performance of “Roman Holiday” had a brief, The Exorcist-inspired introduction, which ended with this exchange:
Priest: “What's your name, child?”
- Singer Namedrop: Nicki sometimes namedrops her regular stage name ("Super Bass"), her Barbie persona ("Massive Attack", "Monster"), her Roman persona (most songs featuring Roman, "Gimme All Your Luvin'") and even her real name ("Starships").
"My name is Onika
you can call me Nicki."
- Stuffy Old Songs About the Buttocks: "Anaconda." Unusually for this sort of song, it's from the perspective of the woman with the buttocks, but nevertheless any song with "Oh my gosh. Look at her butt" in the chorus and samples "Baby Got Back" qualifies.
- Surprisingly Gentle Song: Several. If not outright peaceful, quite a few songs lack the distinctly harsh, sharp edge in vocals and instrumentation that many people have come to expect from her.
- Take That: "Roman's Revenge", which takes some pretty blatant shots at Lil Kim.
- Not to mention how she received one from Keys, an underground rapper from Baltimore.
- There's also her verse on the "All I Do Is Win" remix.
- Along with her song Stupid Hoe
- Three Minutes of Writhing: The music video for "Beez In the Trap".
- Taken to higher levels with the infamous video to "Anaconda".
- Title Drop: Take a shot every time the word "moment" comes up in the "Moment 4 Life" video.
- True Companions: Her team/crew, Young Money.
- Verbal Tic: The words "uh" and "yo" right before many of her verses.
- Waif-Fu: In the video for 'Fly'.
- Wardrobe Malfunction: During a Good Morning America performance one of her breasts was exposed.
- A Wild Rapper Appears: During “Turn Me On,” she sings everything, except for one, short section, which she raps.
- The case in a lot of her songs, especially "Bottoms Up" with Trey Songz, and "Make Me Proud" with Drake.
- Wolverine Publicity: To the point where she's worked with will.i.am, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Trey Songz, Chris Brown, Diddy-Dirty Money, Rick Ross, T.I., M.I.A., Willow Smith, Sean Kingston, Gucci Maine, Natasha Bedingfield, Rihanna, Eminem, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, The Lonely Island, Mariah Carey, Usher, Ludacris, Sean Garrett, Jeffree Star, Yo Gotti, FloRida, David Guetta, Jay Sean, DJ Khaled, Trina, all of Young Money, and Gudda Gudda.
- Ironically Lil' Kim too in Diddy-Dirty Money's umpteenth remix of "Hello Good Morning".
- For Nicki, his trope is probably most evident during her twelve second guest rap on Madonna's "Give Me All Your Luvin'". She does appear throughout on the L-U-V Madonna! Y-O-U You wanna? chant, but other than that...
- X Meets Y: In-universe example, on "Roman's Revenge," Eminem states the two of them together are "high class meets white trash."
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Or pink hair, or platinum blonde hair or Multicolored Hair or whatever the hell she feels like in the moment. Downplayed more recently.