Ten years ago today Onika Tanya Maraj released a mixtape titled Playtime is Over. At the time, the young rapper—who had previously been a member of rap group The Hoodstars—was uploading her first solo recordings onto MySpace, under the name Nicki Maraj. In Early 2007, Dirty Money Entertainment CEO Fendi had started to receive MySpace messages from Maraj, who he soon chose to sign, and who he then suggested change her pseudonym to something more punchy. And so began Nicki Minaj.
Ten years later and Nicki Minaj is the world's most recognisable female rapper, and one of the biggest pop stars on the planet. After Playtime is Over came two more mixtapes—Sucka Free (2008) and Beam Me Up Scotty (2009)—before breaking into the mainstream consciousness with her debut album Pink Friday. Released in November of 2010, Pink Friday was a runaway success with singles "Your Love", "Right Thru Me", and "Superbass", which is said to have really catapulted Nicki into the eye of the storm when Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez released a video of them rapping along to it.
Around that same time saw the release of Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, on which Nicki appeared. Critics and audiences revered her verse on track and third single "Monster," which they agreed was a highlight on the album. Appearing on Drake's debut full-length album Thank Me Later, on standout track "Up All Night" made her burgeoning presence in the world of hip hop unmistakable.
What followed can only be described as sky-rocketing to stardom: Saturday Night Live, duetting with Prince at a Versace x H&M runway show, and performing at that year's Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. Then came Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, Minaj's second studio album, which lead to a Superbowl Halftime performance, a Grammy performance (the first solo female rapper to ever have the honour), and a voice acting role as Steffie in the 2012 film Ice Age: Continental Drift.
Nicki Minaj is now as much of a household name as they come. A rapper, an artist, an actor, a designer, a powerhouse. Two more films under her belt, multiple accolades, and actual icon status. A force to be reckoned with. What a time to be alive. To celebrate Nicki's ten years as an artist, we made a playlist of our favourite tracks of hers from the years. Listen below.