SUNDAY TIMES - 6 awesome facts to know before Nicki Minaj hits the stage in SA
Sunday Times Entertainment By Pearl Boshomane, 2016-03-13 00:02:00.0

6 awesome facts to know before Nicki Minaj hits the stage in SA

Recording artist Nicki Minaj arrives at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles, California, August 30, 2015.
Image: Danny Moloshok/Reuters

She's feisty, she's famous, she's a femme fatale on speed, and this week Nicki Minaj is going to be on tour in South Africa. Here are some interesting things to know about this curvalicious rapper

1. Her real name isn't Nicki

The 33-year-old rapper is actually called Onika Maraj. She'll be performing in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town between March 17 and 22, to the excitement of her Barbz (as her fans are called).

2. There's more to her than outrageous outfits

In the early days Minaj's talent was nearly overshadowed by her eccentric looks, crazy hair pieces and the various alter egos who popped up in her songs, but she's a really good rapper. She's in the league of Twista and Busta Rhymes when it comes to speed (she can rap really fast) and has punch lines for days - and a sense of humour to boot.

Here's a sample verse from one of her songs, Did It On 'Em: "All these bitches is my sons/ And I'mma go and get some bibs for 'em/ A couple formulas, little pretty lids on 'em."

The first line has become one of her most famous, because she not only calls her male rivals "bitches", but goes as far as to say she's their mother and compares them to babies who cannot even clean up after or feed themselves. Burn!

3. She's a fierce feminist

Powerful women like Minaj, Beyoncé and Rihanna are among the leaders of 21st-century pop culture feminism. Minaj's entire existence is a feminist statement: she's a curvaceous, attractive woman who resembles those used as props in the often misogynistic world of rap videos. But instead of using her sexuality to accompany some man's rhymes, Minaj is always in charge in her videos.

Her infamous Anaconda clip (watch it below) took a song that's all about objectifying the female body and turned it into an anthem of ownership. Both in her rhymes and videos, Minaj is in a position of power and loves to assert it over her male counterparts (even referring to them as "bitches" - see point 2 - a term almost exclusively reserved for women).

To become one of the biggest names in the male-dominated rap world while dissing men is quite a feat. And whether Minaj will admit it or not, her rival Lil' Kim (as well as Foxy Brown and Salt N Pepa) paved the way for female rappers to be able to show off their assets while spitting fierce rhymes and kicking male butt.



4. She's big into collaborations

Minaj is a popular featured artist. She's contributed verses to tracks by Rihanna, Beyoncé, Justin Bieber, David Guetta, Madonna, Big Sean, Drake and Britney Spears, to name a few.

She stole the spotlight on Kanye West's Monster - watch the video below - overshadowing not only West, but Jay Z and Rick Ross (who also appeared on the track). The verse has become one of Minaj's most famous, with Adele even rapping it during an episode of Carpool Karaoke with British talk show host James Corden.

The following music video contains language and imagery some may find offensive.


5. She's huge on social media

She has 50 million followers on Instagram and 20 million on Twitter.

6. Her music tops the charts

• Two of her three albums have hit No1 on the Billboard 200 chart, although all three reached No1 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.

• Ten of her songs have reached the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart - four of them hit No1.

• In 2014, her Anaconda music video broke Vevo's 24-hour streaming record, being viewed a total of 19.6 million times. The record was broken again by Taylor Swift's Bad Blood in 2015.

• Her latest album, last year's The Pinkprint, has been certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America as of last month. That means it's sold two million copies in the US alone. Her previous album, 2012's Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, sold one million copies in the US.