Onika Tanya Maraj, professionally known as Nicki Minaj, was born in the Saint James section of Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, on Dec. 8, 1982.
Her father, Robert Omar Maraj, and mother, Carol, were both gospel singers, perhaps an omen of the good things to come to Onika as a singer. She had an older brother and a younger brother and sister. She lived with her grandmother until her mother, at age 24, got her green card and came to America in 1983.
Both parents worked hard and put enough money together for an 896-square-foot house at 128-20 147 St. in Jamaica. Onika’s father, who abused cocaine and alcohol, set the house on fire during a rage in 1987.
After graduating from LaGuardia High School of Music and Art, she went for a career in acting. She worked very hard as a waitress and bought a BMW at age 19.
In 2004 she switched from actress to rapper, signing with the performers and producers Full Force. In 2007 she changed her name to Nicki Minaj when signing with Dirty Money Entertainment and was on her way. With many accolades and over 100 million records sold, Minaj is one of the worlds’ most successful musical artists. Public records show the 147th Street house last sold in 1994 for $79,000. Today it is appraised at $475,000. But with the celebrity status attached to the home, it could be worth a lot more.