Music / Nicki Minaj
i'm not difficult, i'm just bout my business.

"Pink wig, thick ass, give 'em whiplash."

Influences: Natasha Bedingfield, Foxy Brown, Drake, Missy Elliott, Jadakiss, Janet Jackson, Jay-Z, Grace Jones, Cyndi Lauper, Lauryn Hill, Lil Kim, Lil Wayne, Remy Ma, Madonna, M.I.A., Britney Spears, Smokey Robinson, TLC, Trina, Kanye West

Nicki Minaj (born Onika Tanya Maraj, December 8, 1982) is a rapper, singer, songwriter, actress, and former American Idol judge (for season 12). Born in Trinidad, she attended and graduated from the drama program at New York City'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 to generally positive reception, garnering her three Grammy Award nominations. She followed this album up with several more albums, the most recent being The Pinkprint, which came out at the end of December 2014, receiving a Grammy Award nomination for the (in)famous "Anaconda".


  • 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.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: "Feeling Myself"
  • 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.
  • Don't Explain the Joke:
    • Played with in "Only": "I don't duck nobody but tape/yeah, that was a setup for a punchline on duct tape." This was also a subtle reference to Iggy Azalea's leaked sex tape.
    • From "Black Barbies": "These bitches pussy and they don't ever do shitnote  / Haha, get it? Douche!..."
    • From "Light My Body Up": "Yes, bitch, I'm me, pretty N-I-Cnote  / You get it? Icy, but my name is spelled N-I-C"
  • 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.
    • Any collaboration with Drake.
    • Her, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Rick Ross and Bon Iver on "Monster"; as well as with just her and Kanye on "Blazin'"
    • Her and Eminem on "Roman's Revenge".
    • Her, Ariana Grande and Jessie J with the song "Bang Bang".
    • She and Beyoncé for "Feelin' Myself" and Beyonce's own "***Flawless" remix.
    • She adds an extended verse to The Weeknd's "The Hills".
  • 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"), Soulja Boy ("Itty Bitty Piggy"), 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.
  • 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).
    • Usher's "She Came To Give It To You", which is played in commercials for children's cereal, includes a recited verse by Nicki about "clipping those bitches" (murdering other women who presumably are after the hero of the song).
  • The Hero Dies: In the "Your Love" video.
  • Hime Cut: Her favorite hair style.
  • Iconic Item: Her Iced Out Barbie Chain.
  • 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: She's known for showing off her body, particularly her eye catching behind.
  • Ode to Youth: "Young Forever", and lesser "The Night is Still Young"
  • Precision F-Strike: In "Starships":
    We're higher than a motherfucker.
  • Product Placement: A shameless example in her rap in "Bang Bang": "It's Myx Moscato/It's friends in a bottle..." Myx is a fruit-infused wine drink, Nicki Minaj is co-owner of the manufacturer and, as we can see, fully endorses it.note 
  • 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.
  • Refrain from Assuming: "Truffle Butter" is not called "Thinking Out Loud". note 
  • Rhyming with Itself: In "Only", she rhyme "duct tape" with "duct tape" for the sake of anti-humor.
    • From "Come on a Cone":
      When I'm sittin' with Annanote , I'm really sittin' with Anna
      Not a metaphor or punchline, I'm really sittin' with Anna"
  • 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 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.
  • She's Got Legs: Though she's known for having a great butt, she's also been shown to have fantastic legs too.
  • 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?"
    Roman, in a corner on the ceiling: "ROMAAAAAAAN!!"
  • 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."
  • Singing Voice Dissonance: Outside of rapping and singing, Nicki's normal voice sounds like a less nasally Fran Drescher.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Uncanny Valley Makeup: Wears a lot of bright garish lipstick colors in "Stupid Hoe".
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Drake makes it obvious he has some towards Nicki in "Only": "I never fucked Nicki, cause she got a man/but when that's over, then I'm first in line". He also talks about an encounter where he came close to having sex with her while admiring her assets and almost is begging Nicki ("It doesn't take much for us to do this shit quietly") to give him a chance.
  • 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, 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, Flo Rid, David Guetta, Ariana Grande, Jessie J, 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...
    • In 2017 she broke Aretha Franklin's record for most entries by a female artist on the US Hot 100, with 78 entries; of these, 49 are from features on other artists' songs. And that's not counting all the songs she was featured on that didn't chart.
  • 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.