Born Onika Tanya Maraj, the rapper has roots that spread from Trinidad and Tobago to Queens, New York which she both proudly reps in her songs. The Grammy-nominated rapper celebrated a huge accomplishment this year announcing that she’s received her first solo Diamond single with “Anaconda” from her 2014 album The Pinkprint. Though the new mama has put music on the back burner in 2020 and went into “retirement,” she has re-entered the rap scene and continues to prove to be a force to be reckoned with.
Check out her 10 best songs:
The song includes Nicki with her labelmates Lil Wayne and Drake while Chris Brown croons the chorus. Nicki addresses the rumor that she slept with both Drake and Lil Wayne and uses the song to clear her name. The song was produced by Dr. Luke and Cirkut who previously collaborated on her two singles "Va Va Voom" and "Pills N Potions." The track was nominated at the 2015 Grammy's for "Best Rap Performance."
"Moment 4 Life" Nicki explained on her website at the time what the song means: "[The song] is about 2 kids that grew up on the same block. They shared their dreams of making it as rappers," the lyricist writes. "They laughed together, they cried together. One day they realize that their dreams have come to fruition. Though they know all things come to an end, they celebrate. They wish that they could have this moment 4 LIFE." Prior to the release of the Drake-assisted track, the Canadian rapper expressed his interest in Nicki romantically in her song "Miss Me." The rapper takes another shot for her in this song as well with the lyrics, "F--- it, me and Nicki getting married today/ All you b------ hating can catch the bouquet." "Moment 4 Life" was nominated for "Best Rap Performance" at the Grammys in 2011.
In this party anthem the New York native raps about having a one-night stand. "Pound the Alarm" music video is shot in Nicki's hometown in Trinidad and Tobago at the Queens Park Savannah in Port Of Spain. The video was directed by Benny Boom, who previously filmed the singer's "Beez In The Trap" and "Right By My Side" clips. Since the song's debut, it has reached certified platinum status.
"Beez In The Trap" featuring 2 Chainz was the lead single from Nicki Minaj's sophomore album, 'Pink Friday: Roman Unloaded, The Re-Up.' In the video, you see Nicki and 2 Chainz in the strip club where the rapper said it was an ode to her fans that worked the club. She told MTV at the time, "When I was doing my mixtapes, I would perform in strip clubs. I would perform in clubs and it was just like some of my most die-hard fans would be in these places," she said. "I wanted to kinda honor all my girls in the club and just say thank you for the support."
"Starships" is from Nicki's second studio album 'Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, The Re-Up' which was released in 2012. The lyric "starships are meant to fly," is a line about reaching for the stars and a reminder to stop doubting yourself. Nicki explained to The Guardian: "That's what I feel. Just go for it! Stop limiting yourself! And that's a great feeling. It's a great feeling to not box yourself into anyone's limitations or ideas or judgments. That's what it means to me."
The Beyoncé feature on Nicki's "Feeling Myself" was an agreement between the two artists after Nicki lent her skills on Beyonce's "Flawless" remix. When the single was released Nicki became the first female to have four tracks simultaneously in the Top 10 Billboard Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop chart. The other three tracks by Nicki were two other The Pinkprint tracks "Truffle Butter" and "Only" and her collab with Rae Sremmurd on "Throw Sum Mo." This record is now double-certified platinum.
Nicki re-released her 2009 mixtape on May 14, 2021 and added three new songs including a YCM reunion between herself, Drake, and Lil Wayne. With the re-release of the mixtape, social media went into a frenzy after not hearing any new music from the rapper since the birth of her first child in September of 2020. Nicki went to Twitter after the song was released and said that Drake and Lil Wayne "washed" her in the song which fans definitely disagreed with. "They washed me on 'Seeing Green,'" Minaj said. "I'm a woman enough to admit when I've been washed on a track by the Greats. And it's ok, Barbz, I've washed them before. We'll live through this one. I was still a lil rusty."
"Super Bass" from Nicki's 2010 'Pink Friday' album peaked at #3 of the Hot 100 which was the highest-charted song at the time by a female solo rapper since Missy Elliott's "Work It" in 2002. When talking to MTV back in 2010, she explained the meaning of the song: "'Super Bass' is about the boy that you are crushing over," she said. "And you kind of want to get your mack on, but you're taking the playful approach." The hit was the most streamed song in 2011 (84 million times) and the most-watched video of the year. The song has since reached certified Diamond status, Nicki's first.
"Itty Bitty Piggy" is from Nicki's 2009 'Beam Me Up Scotty' mixtape which put the rapper on the map. In this song you hear a confident rapper on the brim of a come up and from there it was only the beginning for the Queens native. Since its 2009 release, "Itty Bitty Piggy" is still in heavy rotation amongst the Barbz.
"Anaconda" was the second single from her 'The Pinkprint' album which album and single are certified platinum by the RIAA. The booty-licious video broke the internet when it was released beating Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood" for the one-day views record when it racked up 20.1 million views in its first 24 hours. For her documentary 'My Time AGAIN,' she explained wanted the song to be fun but also have a message, "It was geared toward being proud of your body," she said. "It empowers women. There are lots of thick girls who told me, 'thank you.'" The hit was later nominated for a Grammy in 2014 for "Best Rap Song."