It catapulted the New York-born rapper into the chart-topping award-winning sensation she is today in 2009, when Nicki Minaj launched her freestyle Itty Bitty Piggy. There’s no doubt that Minaj joined the industry when female rap was arguably stagnant, amid a controversial run and public conflicts over the last few years.
But Minaj was shaping a generation that longed for a female artist in the beginning, her advanced and innovative style choices left critics puzzled. Most notably, a black artist who appeals to the masses. Minaj’s style was erratic and praised by her fans-notoriously known as the Barbz, from her colored wigs to her cosplay-inspired fashion moments.
ESSENCE is rounding up her most influential style moments today as the’ Chun Li’ rapper turns 38. Nicki Minaj has proved that she can pull off just about anything, from Grammy red carpets to award show shows.
1. MTV Movie Awards 2009
Nicki Minaj poses in the press room at the 2011 MTV Movie Awards in Universal City, California at the Gibson Amphitheatre on June 5, 2011. (Jon Kopaloff photo/FilmMagic)
2. Today Show (Season 61)
Nicki Minaj on NBC News’ “Today” show — (Photo: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC Newswire/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)
3. Billboard Music Awards 2013
Nicki Minaj performs at Billboard Music Awards, 2013
4. MTV Video Music Awards 2018
Nicky Minaj receives MTV Music Video Award and performs too.
5. Met Gala 2017
Nicki Minaj attends the 2017 Met Gala in New York City, May 1, 2017. (Photo: Mike Coppola / Getty Images)
6. Grammy Award—57th
LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 08: Recording artist Nicki Minaj attends The 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards at the STAPLES Center on February 8, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: (Christopher Polk/WireImage/Getty Images)
7. The Met Museum
Nicki Minaj posing for cameras at The Met Museum (Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
8. Nicki Minaj at “30 days in LA”
Nicki Minaj performing at “30 Days in LA” (Photo: Social Media)
9. MTV Video Music Award 2017
Nicki Minaj at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards held at The Forum in Inglewood, CA on Sunday, August 27, 2017. (Photo by PRPP / PictureLux)
10. The FADER Photoshoot
Nicki Minaj posing for The FADER Cover Photo. (Photo: FADER)
That’s all we have right now. Oh wait! I almost forgot. There is something you have to judge before you leave. Slide the following image and check yourself.