Trinidadian-American rapper Nicki Minaj has left a strong imprint on the genre of female rap, so it is only natural to wonder where it all began.
Nicki Minaj’s first single was a hip hop, synthetic fusion song Massive Attack, and her debut album shortly after this was Pink Friday. Before this, she had released three mixtapes on the Internet through which she gained popularity in underground rap, allowing her to launch her successful career.
How did the hip hop superstar follow her path to achieve stardom? Read more below.
Leading up to Massive Attack
Prior to this, she had released 5 songs with the short-lived hip hop group The Hood$tars before leaving to pursue a solo career.
Playtime is Over, her debut mixtape, samples several other beats. Like in her other mixtapes, she used various motifs that would become a recurring theme in her music.
For her first mixtapes, Minaj received the Female Artist of the Year Award from Urban Music Awards in 2008.
The Launch Of The Song
After garnering significant social media attention online, Minaj released her first official song Massive Attack, in which the hip-hop dance fusion drops both futuristic disco-synth beats and heavy drum-and-bass, with Nicki also rapping in a Carribean accent.
Massive Attack was released in 2010 and features R&B singer Sean Garrett. The song was significantly different to her previous style of music.
Some critics appreciated the change, while others did not like the song as it did not adhere to the persona she had created for herself.
After receiving these mixed reviews, she elected to drop it from her debut album Pink Friday before releasing it, since it performed underwhelmingly. She had originally intended for it to be the lead single.
The song peaked at number 65 on the US Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs, and did not place on the Billboard Top 100 Charts.
Minaj elected Garrett as her featured artist, because she said Garrett was “great with getting that other-level creativity that other people don’t get” and would best “illustrate Nicki Minaj.”
In an interview with Mixtape Daily in 2010, Garrett expressed his excitement for the song to be released, stating that Nicki Minaj was a “dreamer, just like [himself].” He called the record “explosive” in its sound.
He foreshadowed her success with taking “her image to a whole other level with the whole Barbie thing.” Nicki would later come to adopt the nickname Barbie with the signature color pink after the release of her debut album Pink Friday.
Nicki reminisced in an interview with MTV news, in which she said “It’s a very rare. … You’re not gonna get the song the first time you hear it. After the second or third time, you’re gonna be like, ‘Whoa, what is this?’ It sounds nothing like anything that’s out right now”
Nicki’s Climb To Fame
It features many hip hop and rap superstars including Kanye West, Drake, Rihanna and Eminem.
The album debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200, and eventually peaked at number one. It sold over 375,000 copies in its first week and has since sold over 2 million copies. Pink Friday landed in the Top 20 of the charts in several countries, including the UK and Australia.
Minaj was on an upward spiral of success after Pink Friday. The rapper experimented considerably to find her sound after Massive Attack, but her now perfect blend of hip hop beats with her original flow is captivating.