few artists can compete in today’s image driven industry, which often pits true talent against good marketing. one of those artists that has been able to master actual talent & impressive marketing is onika maraj. under the surname, nicki minaj, onika has dominated the underground rap scene since 2007, which resulted in a record deal with lil’ wayne’s young money records. like wildfire, the name ‘minaj’ rapidly spread across america, as listeners on the east coast & west coast alike began to thirst for the rapper called, “harajuku barbie”. with slight hesitation at first, minaj took a liking to setting herself apart rather than allowing her own sound, image & lyrical content to mirror other female MC’s before her. this move of individualized artistry is what allowed her to transcend unto the next level, even before her debut album dropped. with hit record after hit record filling the airwaves; minaj garnered noted success among industry elite & an urban audience simultaneously, for her fearless approach to lyrical assassination & wildly colorful attraction to image & style. holding her own on tracks with everyone from gucci mane to diddy, jay-z to kanye- nothing in this industry can extinguish the musical fire & image expolosion known as nicki minaj. records with usher, trey songz & mariah carey allowed nicki to tap into audiences beyond the rap scene & her star began to rise with her 50k per verse price tag gaining momentum & value with each month leading to the release of her debut album “pink friday”. with an established fan base thanks to her mixtape releases, minaj showcased a softer side on her first major record label debut. the album’s first single, “your love” was never intended for release & actually leaked to radio, accidentally becoming a number one hit in the process; solidifying minaj as a star & taking her, herself by surprise at how in demand she was in the main stream. credited by some of rap’s elite as a game changer & a favorite among teen pop stars & socialites, selena gomez, taylor swift & kim kardashian- “super bass” is the third single off of the platinum “pink friday” & minaj again sets out to raise the bar. draped in color from head to toe- minaj takes us by storm with an array of multi-colored wigs, rainbow dr. marten dipped dancers & versace heels, as her sonic breakthrough of a record brings her & her image to a whole new arena on an international stage. from the opening sequence with the animal printed jumpsuit to the green wig bathing suit scene- minaj showcases her love for color, larger than life fantasy & girly fun being seen in denim cut offs with a gang of dancer “barbz” that enforce the presence & inspiration of barbie. a visual winner in my book, i love the nicki is not at all afraid to be a little quirky or playful as a rapper, an artist & as a dominating female act in entertainment. when nicki’s on the screen- you’re watching her & here she proves to be a bigger force than ever imaginable. from the mixtapes to the mainstream- nicki minaj has changed the face of female hip-hop with each lyric & each wig spit & dyed. between the choreographed dancing & nicki’s recent popularity on the fashion scene, a new frontier for female hip-hop is definitely on the rise. hailed as the new queen of hip-hop, nicki will be touring the united states with britney spears this summer; register at mypinkfriday.com to see when nicki is coming to your city. it’s barbie bitch.