Onika Tanya Maraj emerged from southside Jamaica, Queens and the critics immediately flocked. The massive criticism was initially understandable being that almost every hip-hop fan was waiting on the second coming of Lauryn Hill. Onika, better known as her stage name Nicki Minaj, was the only female rapper whose voice was heard on every radio station, but she was nothing close to the cocoa-complected emcee and songstress that hailed from South Orange, New Jersey. Nicki, a caramel-colored provocative and quirky rhyme-spitter who initially coined herself as Lil Wayne’s mistress, often rocked colored wigs and weaves. Spitting bars like, “I just had an epiphany. I need to go to Tiffany’s. Fendi on my slippers and my cookie’s always slippery,” she was a far cry from the natural loc-wearing, intuitive Hill.
When the self-proclaimed Barbie first copped a mainstream look, people were outraged by her animated voice and ability to switch personas on wax. Confused, many pegged the Young Money signee bipolar. Wearing a straight jacket while rhyming,”Chef cooking for me. They say my shoe game crazy. The mental asylum looking for me” in Ludacris’ “My Chick Bad” vid immediately validated people’s thoughts. But what speculators failed to acknowledge is that Nicki came from a theater background. The showy rapper-turned-singer graduated from LaGuardia High School with a concentration in drama, making her animation far from far-fetched.
Not too long after the speculation about her schizoid personality, many honed in on her questionable bisexuality. Homophobes were outraged and the LGBT community was too, mainly lesbians. Many queer women felt that the Trinidadian rapper only used her alleged bisexuality to woo men. That was until she shut down all accusations during an interview with Black Men magazine, where she clearly stated that she does not have sex with women.