Ten years ago, Nicki Minaj dropped her first mixtape, Playtime is Over. That means one decade ago, on this very day, the most successful female rapper on the planet made her musical debut, though she remained remained relatively unknown for over two more years.
After moving to The Bronx from Trinidad to live with her mother, Minaj grew up and attended school in the city with dreams of one day becomming famous. Instead, reality intervened and she worked at a Red Lobster until she was fired. She’d later be fired from “at least 15” additional jobs that she’d held around that time.
After leaving an uncessful and short-lived rap quartet known as “The Hood$tars”, Minaj decided to take destiny into her own hands. She uploaded her solo music onto Myspace and sent her music to different labels and representatives in the music industry. Then she crossed her fingers.
In 2007, Minaj signed to Dirty Money Entertainment. That year, the Trinidadian-born rapper released her first mixtape, Playtime is Over, on July 5. Her second, Sucka Free, came out that following April.
Almost one year to the day, Minaj released her third mixtape, Beam Me Up Scotty, where the rapper finally received some rotation on mainstream networks like BET and MTV. Still, Minaj was far from a superstar.
In August 2009, that would all change; Minaj would soon be plucked from (relative) obscurity. That year, the rapper was discovered by rap icon Lil Wayne and was quickly snatched by his label, Young Money Entertainment. After some noteworthy features on tracks with the likes of Mariah Carey, Gucci Mane and Robin Thicke, as well as some early releases of her own, Minaj became the first solo artist–male or female–to have seven songs on the Billboard Hot 100 list at one time.
On November 19, Minaj released her debut album, Pink Friday (“Your Love”, “Check It Out”, “Moment 4 Life”, etc.) selling 2.1 million copies in the U.S. alone.
After performing as one of Britney Spears’s opening acts on the Femme Fatale tour, Minaj followed up her debut album with Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (“Starships”, “Beez in the Trap”, “Pound the Alarm”, etc.) in April 2012. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and sold 905,000 albums in the U.S..
That following May, Minaj headlined her Pink Friday Tour. This was soon followed by the Pink Friday: Reloaded tour, which began October 14. On December 15, 2014, Minaj released her third studio album, The Pinkprint (“Anaconda”, Pills N Potions”, “The Night Is Still Young”, etc.) which sold 682,0000 copies.
During this time, Minaj made on-screen appearances in Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012), The Other Woman (2014) and Barbershop: The Next Cut (2016). She was also one of the four judges on American Idol season 12, alongside Mariah Carey, Keith Urban and Randy Jackson. In addition, developed her own mobile game, Nicki Minaj: The Empire, and was signed to Wilhelmina Models.
We’ve yet to mention all of the awards she’s collected along the way. These include: 10 BET Awards, seven BET Hip Hop Awards, six American Music Awards, four Teen Choice Awards, four Billboard Music Awards, three MTV Video Music Awards, three MTV Europe Music Awards, two People’s Choice Awards and one Soul Train Music Award.
Word is still out on when Minaj’s fourth studio album will be announced, but she’s already released three singles–“No Frauds”, “Changed It” and “Regret In Your Tears”–which means new music is definitely on the way. Not to mention, in her summer anthem “Run Up” with Major Lazer, Minaj spits, “Bout to drop an album, this is my fourth.” So we’d like to think the album should be here before 2018. Well, we hope.
In the meantime, let’s celebrate Nicki Minaj’s 10 years in the music industry with some of her sexiest Instagram posts. Scroll down and celebrate with us.