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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fake Brit: Occasionally uses one, and even narrated the opening track of Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy using it. Additionally, her Martha persona, the mother of Roman (who does not speak with an accent), channels Eliza Doolittle during her chorus. During her 2012 Grammys performance, when not rapping, Roman spoke this way, too. Most people note that it's actually a good accent.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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"
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.
Real Women Never 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."
She Can Really Act : Her cameo on The Other Woman and her recent voice-over on Steven Universe show she works really well in acting and puts her training from her early career days to work. This also comes through in some of her songs when she raps in a different accent or persona.
Shout-Out: Her 2012 Grammys performance of “Roman Holiday” had a brief, The Exorcist-inspired introduction, which ended with this exchange:
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."
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.
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."