Onika Tanya Maraj (born December 8, 1982), known by her stage name Nicki Minaj (pron.: /m???n?????/), is a Trinidadian-born American rapper, singer, songwriter, actress, and television personality. Born in Saint James, Port of Spain and raised in Jamaica, Queens, New York City, she enrolled in performing art schools as a child. After success with three mixtapes released between 2007 and 2009, Minaj signed to Young Money Entertainment. Her debut studio album Pink Friday (2010) peaked atop the U.S. Billboard 200 and was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) the month after its release. Its most successful single "Super Bass" has been certified quadruple-platinum and has sold more than four million copies, becoming one of the best-selling singles in the United States. She became the first female solo artist to have seven singles on the Billboard Hot 100 at the same time.
Minaj's second album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (2012) topped charts internationally; it became one of the best-selling albums of that year and sold one million copies worldwide. Its lead single "Starships" became her highest-peaking single on the Billboard Hot 100 and one of the best-selling singles of 2012. She embarked on the Pink Friday Tour and the Pink Friday: Reloaded Tour and reissued the album as Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded - The Re-Up. As of 2013, Minaj has sold over 5 Million albums worldwide. Beginning January 2013, Minaj has served as a judge on the twelfth season of American Idol. She has tentatively announced plans for a third album to be released later that year.
Minaj's artistry features fast-paced rapping, alter egos and accents, notably British cockney. Her outlandish and colorful costumes, wigs and clothing have given her recognition as a fashion icon. She featured as a voice actress in Ice Age: Continental Drift. She has endorsed Adidas, MAC Cosmetics, and Pepsi. Minaj's work has earned her six BET Awards, four American Music Awards, two MTV Music Awards, an EMA and Billboard's 2011 Rising Star. She is the first female artist included on MTV's Annual Hottest MC List, with The New York Times suggesting that some consider her "the most influential female rapper of all time."The Source named Minaj the Woman of the Year for 2012. In April 2013, Minaj became the most-charted female rapper in the history of the Billboard Hot 100, with forty-four appearances.