Onika Maraj, publicly known as Nicki Minaj, is a native of Jamaica Queens, New York. Although she initially aspired to be a singer and actress, Minaj began writing rap lyrics over seven years ago and is now currently signed with Young Money Record label founded by Lil Wayne. She has released three mixtapes: Playtime is Over, Sucka Free, and Beam Me Up Scotty.
Her mixtape, Beam Me Up Scotty, received one of the most publicities. In addition, being featured on records, such as “Five Star Chick Remix,” “Bedrock,” “Shakin it for Daddy,” to name a few, has placed her on the same plateau as main stream artists. Moreover, she has been able to sustain as a strong rap artist among label mates such as Drake, Mack Maine, and Jae Millz as well as founder, Lil Wayne.
History of Female Rap
Female emcees have been around almost as long as their male counterparts. Beginning with rappers like the Mercedes Ladies, Lady B, MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, Yo-Yo and Salt-N-Pepa, the rap industry was flooded by women demanding respect and equality. Later in the 1990s, the image of female rap began to change. Rappers like Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown, and Eve made female rap edgy, trendy, raw and often times controversial.
Other rappers like Missy Elliot and Lauryn Hill portrayed more positive images. As for the millennium, rappers like Trina, Remy Ma and Lil’ Mama have had success in the industry. While the list of female rappers is plentiful, the stability of their careers is not. Currently, Nicki Minaj has the biggest buzz, while fans are awaiting her debut album set to be released this year.
What Sets Nicki Minaj Apart
Although Nicki Minaj receives much attention from the media, she is still classified as an underground artist. She gains attention due to her multiple characters and intricate lyrics. She has deliberately not signed with any major record labels as of yet. Minaj wants to build her fan base before she signs with a major label.
Current State of Female Rap
While few female rappers like Trina are successfully maintaining a rap career, many female rap artists are no longer publicized. Nicki Minaj states on her record “Can Anybody Hear Me” off the Beam Me Up Scotty mixtape that she came to save female rap. Her out-of-the-box style and lyrics combined with her strategic plan to receive a lucrative major label record deal shows through her media hype that she is transforming the female rap industry.