She set a record on the Billboard Hot 100 by appearing on the most singles on the chart at one time, with seven entries including her song "Your Love," Ludacris' "My Chick Bad," Lil Wayne's "Knockout," Trey Songz' "Bottoms Up," Usher's "Lil Freak," Sean Kingston's "Letting Go (Dutty Love)," and Jay Sean's "2012 (It Ain't The End)." She is also the first female rapper to top the Billboard Rap Chart with her single "Your Love" since Lil' Kim's cameo on 50 Cent's "Magic Stick" in 2003 and Missy Elliot's "Work It" in 2002.
She cites Lauryn Hill, Bob Marley, Foxy Brown, Jay-Z, Lil' Wayne, Leona Lewis and Natasha Bedingfield as her musical influences.
Her style is characterized by the presence of different personalities. The reason behind this has to do with her troublesome family. Minaj, whose real name is Onika Tanya Maraj, formed alter egos growing up to cope with her childhood, as she recalls with New York Magazine, "To get away from all their fighting, I would imagine being a new person. 'Cookie' was my first identity—that stayed with me for a while. I went on to Harajuku Barbie, then Nicki Minaj. Fantasy was my reality."
She studied drama at the Manhattan performing-arts high school LaGuardia and she admits that acting helps her develop her "alter-ego" style, "I do lots of weird voices and I kind of act out my raps," Minaj told Slate magazine. "Acting allowed me to be playful and crazy, and it helps me tell stories." She also shared with Details, "I look at rap as an opportunity to act. My head is full of different characters—in each song I'm auditioning a character."
Her most popular alter-egos include "Roman Zolanski," who is an angry, homosexual male, "Martha Zolanski," who is Roman's mother and has a distinct British accent, "Barbie," who is supposed to be a very feminine and innocent girl, "Rosa," who she made up on The George Lopez Show and "Nicki," who is the regular accent girl. She says her alter-egos have their own individual styles and you have to listen for the accent to know who you're dealing with.
In her collaboration with Eminem, a song called "Roman's Revenge
," Minaj raps as Roman Zolanski and Eminem raps as his well-known alter-ego Slim Shady.
Despite Nicki Minaj's bad girl image, there was a time when she studied hard to get good grades. "Junior high school I was down with the A-[grade] students!" she confessed to Australian radio show hosts Kyle and Jackie O. "But then in high school I studied acting, so between my acting classes and getting a boyfriend I just started paying less attention to my academics. I would pass everything when I went but I didn't do as well as I could have done if I went every day."
Nicki Minaj just has a single tattoo, which is on her arm. She got it when she was 16 and it says "God is always with you" in Chinese. The rapper said during a 2010 video interview that she regrets the inking.
Onika Maraj admitted to The Guardian in 2012 that she regrets being turned into Nicki Minaj. "Somebody changed my name," she said. "One of the first production deals I signed, the guy wanted my name to be Minaj and I fought him tooth and nail. But he convinced me. I've always hated it."
Nicki Minaj became the female singer with the most Hot 100 hits when "No Frauds
," "Regret in Your Tears
" and "Changed It," all debuted on the chart dated April 1, 2017. Aretha Franklin had held the mark for the most Hot 100 visits among women for 40 years, until Minaj overtook the Queen of Soul's total of 73 entries on the chart.
Though Nicki Minaj is known for her raunchy rapping, her own musical tastes are different. She wrote on her Instagram page: "I listen to old dancehall and gospel more than all other genres on my personal time. Lol. Go figure."
According to a dataset pulled from Spotify between January to October of 2015, any track featuring Nicki Minaj as a guest artist was streamed 172 percent more often, on average, than other tracks on the artist's album.
Speaking to Paper Magazine, Nicki Minaj revealed she doesn't take her haters too seriously, because she's ultimately able to turn to God for support. She explained:
"You can usually bet your bottom dollar that anytime you see something on the Internet going on with me, no matter how it looks, I'm usually behind the scenes laughing.
Because I have a strong relationship with God. I've watched Him work miracle after miracle in my life. I've watched Him shut down every person who's ever come up against me, and so it's comical at this point 'cause I sometimes feel like, 'Wow. Don't they know how this movie's gonna play out? Cause I definitely know how this movie's gonna play out.'"
When "Dip (Remix)
" debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 dated November 10, 2018 Nicki Minaj became the first female artist to clock up 100 career appearances on the chart. She joined four other acts with triple-digit totals, Elvis Presley, The Glee Cast, Drake and Lil Wayne.