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Onika Tanya Maraj (born December 8, 1982), known by her stage name Nicki Minaj ( //), is a Trinidadian-born American rapper, singer, songwriter and voice actress. She was born in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago and when she was 5 years of age she moved to the New York City borough of Queens, where she grew up.
After releasing three mixtapes between 2007 and 2009 and being signed to Young Money Entertainment in August 2009, Minaj released her debut album, Pink Friday, in November 2010. It quickly became a commercial success, peaking at number one on the U.S.Billboard 200 and being certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) a month after its release. She became the first female solo artist to have seven singles on the Billboard Hot 100 at the same time. Her second single, "Your Love", reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs chart, making Minaj the first female artist to top the chart unaccompanied since 2002. "Super Bass" was Minaj's seventh single and has since been certified quadruple-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and has sold more than four million digital copies as of May 2012, becoming one of the best-selling singles in the United States. Her second studio album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded was released on April 3, 2012. Since then the album has become one of the top selling albums of 2012 according to the Nielsen SoundScan selling 1,000,000 copies worldwide. Roman Reloaded was certified platinum by the RIAA for shipments of 1,000,000 copies.
Minaj has been known for her unique artistry. Her rapping style has been recognized for the use of alter-egos, accents (notably, British) and fast-pace. Minaj has also been noted for her frequent use of outlandish and colorful costume, clothing and wigs in both public appearance and music videos and has been considered a fashion icon. Minaj has set precedents for female rap artists, becoming the first female artist to be included onMTV's Annual Hottest MC List. and was named Rising Star by Billboard in 2011.Brent Staples of The New York Times suggests that some consider her "the most influential female rapper of all time."