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Need to Know: Nicki Minaj

I heard the name Nicki Minaj in passing the other day when someone referred to her as the "Lady Gaga of hip hop." Well, obviously, I wasn't about to hear that and not do my research. Within the hour I was completely up-to-date on this little package of fabulousness. And I think it's safe to say that I'm falling head-over-heels in love.

Discovered on Myspace, Nicki Minaj started out in the underground rap scene in 2004. Her daring fashion and fiercely defiant attitude quickly got her noticed by a score of big names in music. She's been featured on tracks with artists from Lil Wayne to Mariah Carey to Jeffree Star. Most recently, her hugely expressive face can be seen in the video for Ludacris' new single, "My Chick Bad."

In August of last year, Nicki was signed to Young Money Entertainment, and she will release her debut album later this year. In the video for her lead single (above) Minaj can be seen dancing in a jungle with monkeys and driving in a pink limo with model Amber Rose. She certainly has the uniqueness to merit her comparison to Gaga, but she doesn't seem to take herself as seriously as the blonde goddess. She embraces her silliness, trying to avoid falling into the mold of self-objectifying female rappers.

Similar to Gaga, Minaj is a definite supporter of the gay community. In the tradition of gay icons, she's here to entertain, not just to be hot. Yet she certainly accomplishes the latter with flying colors, shaking her huge (and rumored surgically enhanced) bootay wherever she goes. She herself is openly bisexual, yet she seems to lean more gay than straight.

Keep your eyes on this one, as she seems here to stay. If you're impatient for more Minaj, look for her appearance on our June/July cover girl's next single, "Woohoo," which was officially released today.


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