Onika Tanya Maraj (born December 8, 1984), better known by her stage name Nicki Minaj, is a Trinidadian-American rapper and R&B singer-songwriter. In August 2009, Minaj signed to Young Money Entertainment with distribution from Universal Motown. In Minaj's early career, she released three mixtapes, Playtime Is Over, Sucka Free, and Beam Me Up Scotty. Minaj was discovered by fellow American rapper, Lil Wayne and after the three mixtapes, Minaj signed a deal with Young Money Entertainment. After signing the deal, Minaj began working on her debut album, titled Pink Friday, which charted at number-two on the US Billboard 200. Minaj became the first artist ever to have seven songs within the Billboard Hot 100 at the same time. Her second single, "Your Love" reached number-one on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs chart, making Minaj became the first female artist to top the chart unaccompanied since 2002. Minaj became the first female artist to be included on MTV's Annual Hottest MC List One month after the release of Pink Friday, Minaj's album gained a Platinum certification in the United States. Minaj is known for collaborating with numerous artists and guest raps on many popular singles. Minaj was born in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago to parents of Indian and Afro Trinidadian descent. She lived in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago with her grandmother until age five, because her parents were looking for a place to live in the Queens borough of New York City at the time. Her mother would occasionally visit, and one day, when Minaj was five, her mother picked her up to move to Queens. According to Minaj, her father drank alcohol, took drugs, and once tried to kill her mother by setting the house on fire. She attended Elizabeth Blackwell Middle School 210, where she played the clarinet. She graduated from LaGuardia High School. At LaGuardia, a school specializing in music and the visual and performing arts, Minaj participated in the drama program. She had initially planned to sing at LaGuardia, but lost her voice on the day of the audition.
"Moment 4 Life" is a song by Trinidadian rapper Nicki Minaj featuring Canadian rapper Drake. It serves as the third single from Minaj's debut album Pink Friday. The song was produced by T-Minus and written by both performing artists. The song is inspired by a story Minaj created, in which two kids grow up together sharing the same dream of becoming famous rappers, and create this song while living out their dreams together. In the UK, the single made Radio 1's C-Playlist. The song features twinkling keyboard notes. Minaj begins her first verse talking about recent success, from before her debut album. Lyrically the song is about a desire to maintain a feeling of accomplishment, as Drake follows behind Minaj and raps the same theme of enjoying the moment. "Straying away from the standard rap song construction of three verses and a hook, Nicki performs a brain-dump of sorts on the track, spitting as if she’s making a speech to both her fans and detractors." During a session from the Pink Friday Diaries Minaj discussed the song in detail, adding a background story to the original song. "Moment 4 Life : is about 2 kids that grew up on the same block. They shared their dreams of making it as rappers. 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." The song garnered mainly mixed from critics. Brad Wete of Entertainment Weekly stated "The triumphant 'Moment 4 Life,' along with the album’s two lead singles, all showcase her knack for melody while boasting lyrics chronicling her struggles–be they professional or intimate ones of love and hurt. All of which are way more poignant than raps about how dope she is." Alexis Petridis of The Guardian gave the song a negative review commenting on Minaj's tone, stating "she sounds bored rigid, which rather makes you wonder where showing off one's musical versatility ends and cravenly softening your sound for the marketplace begins." Scott Plagenhoef of Pitchfork Media commented on the songs status on the album and how Minaj was out-shined by its collaborator, stating "Minaj is upstaged by Drake and Kanye West on "Moment 4 Life" and "Blazin'", respectively, but these tracks-- plus the Rihanna collaboration "Fly" and the solo ballad "Save Me"-- are the best examples of what Pink Friday is rather than what many of us wanted it to be." Jesse Cataldo of Slant Magazine gave the song a negative review on Minaj's part of the song and on the album as a whole, stating "Minaj's deranged wildness could potentially provide a foil for Drake, cutting into his tendency to work slowly and calmly on "Moment 4 Life." Instead, Minaj backs off from an early round of forcefulness, letting Drake dictate the pace of the song. It's this seeming lack of confidence, contradictory to the poise she shows elsewhere, which identifies the problems with Pink Friday, an often wobbly first effort that shows enormous promise."
Nicki MInaj is set to debut her new video for the single, “Moment 4 Life” featuring Drake on MTV this Thursday. The video allegedly raises a few questions regarding Minaj and label mate, Drake’s relationship by showing the two embraced in a kiss. Drake gushed about the female MC’s huge success and how she has really changed the game in his eyes. “to think of the girl that I used to ride the bus with — and that’s what she was to me: this girl that I rode the bus with. I was like, ‘Female rap?’ And I’m being dead honest with you. [I thought,] ‘Man, it’s been a while since there’s been a female rapper, and I’m curious to see how this works.’ It’s not that I didn’t believe. And she was probably looking at me like, ‘This Jew from Canada: I don’t know.’ According to MTV.com. Minaj first performed the song at a Thanksgiving Party hosted by Hot 97 with Drake, and later performed their other song "Up All Night". Minaj also performed the song on the Lopez Tonight show as her alter ego Rosa without the assistance of Drake. While performing on VH1 Divas Support the Troops, Minaj performed the song for the men and women of the military without Drake again. During the performance, Minaj wore a fluffy white wig, turquoise tights, elongated heels and a super-snug, orange and blue mini-dress. Minaj performed the song for the holidays on many occasions, including a Christmas concert for Hot 97. During the Christmas special, Minaj wore a leopard-print bodysuit wrapped in a black cloth cage. Minaj additionally performed the song on a Manhattan rooftop during a pre-taped New Year's event on NBC’s New Year’s Eve with Carson Daly. Minaj performed the song with the assistance of Drake at the New Year's celebration "All Pink Everything Belvedere Vodka" she also hosted. During the performance, Minaj wore black and gold piece with multi-colored hair. Minaj most recently performed the song on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, minus Drake, in a black cocktail dress, blonde hair, and signature “Barbie” chain.
In an interview with Vibe Minaj discussed her sexual image stating, "When I grew up I saw females doing certain things, and I thought I had to do that exactly. The female rappers of my day spoke about sex a lot... and I thought that to have the success they got, I would have to represent the same thing. When in fact I didn’t have to represent the same thing." In an interview with Interview, Minaj commented on her sexual image again stating, "I made a conscious decision to try to tone down the sexiness, I want people—especially young girls—to know that in life, nothing is going to be based on sex appeal. You’ve got to have something else to go with that.” While growing up Nicki was surrounded by constant trouble and fighting between her parents. To escape her real life problems she would create characters and live her life through them. In an interview with New York she stated, “To get away from all their fighting, I would imagine being a new person. "Cookie" was my first identity—that stayed with me for a while. I went on to "Harajuku Barbie", then "Nicki Minaj". Fantasy was my reality.” For her debut album, Minaj created another alter-ego named "Roman Zolanski". She stated that in songs like "Bottoms Up" with Trey Songs it is not Nicki rapping, but instead Roman Zolanski, and claims that Roman is her "twin brother". Roman has been compared to Eminem's alter ego Slim Shady, and on the song "Roman's Revenge" from Pink Friday, Minaj and Eminem collaborate, using these alter egos. Roman, also has a "mother" called "Martha Zolanski", who also appeared on the song, with a British accent, Roman's Revenge. Martha wil also make a physical debut at the music video for "Moment 4 Life". In songs such as "All I Do Is Win (Remix)" it is Nicki rapping. Minaj stated that on her debut album, fans will get to "meet" Nicki, Roman and Onika. On November 18, 2010 Nicki Minaj assumed a different alter-ego named "Nicki Teresa". Wearing a colorful scarf around her head, she went around as the "healer to her fans" as she visited them at The Garden of Dreams Foundation at Fuse studios in New York City. Minaj made an appearance on Lopez Tonight on December 6, 2010 and presented a different alter-ego for the Spanish-inspired occasion, named "Rosa". Minaj has stated that artists who have influenced her musical style include Lil Wayne, Lauryn Hill, Jadakiss, Natasha Bedingfield, Foxy Brown, Lil' Kim and Missy Elliott.