There was a time when celebrities were being discovered on MySpace, but that was a very short window as now it’s Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram. Luckily for Nicki Minaj, she was able to be discovered in the time of MySpace, back when she was still Onika Maraj, a Trinidad and Tobago born singer that signed with a group called Full Force in 2007.
After leaving the group and gaining some traction on the internet, Minaj was signed to Dirty Money Entertainment on a six month deal where she adopted her new name. Over the next two years, Minaj would release a couple of mixtapes that were popular on the underground scene, but that can only make you so much money.
Minaj’s net worth was next to nothing less than a decade ago, and now she is worth a whopping $70 million thanks to her rise into stardom. It was in 2009 that Minaj got her big break when she was signed by Lil’ Wayne to his newly formed Young Money Entertainment label and was featured on multiple hit singles, netting herself $50,000 for each song she was in the background of.
In 2010, Minaj released her first full studio album, and by the end of the year she became the first female to have seven songs that were on the Billboard Hot 100 at the same time. The hit album had more than two million sales around the world, and it brought in a profit of nearly $2 million for Minaj. Minaj really cashed in on the album when she went on the “Pink Friday Tour” in 2012 with 43 shows.
The tour was such a success that 18 new shows were added on at the end of 2012 in the “Pink Friday: Reloaded Tour”. Each performance for Minaj paid her $150,000 per night and a special edition called “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded” brought in another $900,000 for Minaj in sales. Minaj then released her third album (and second full one), “The Pinkprint” in 2014 and “The Pinkprint Tour” to go along with.
Three albums and three tours have all pulled in millions, but Minaj is making the bulk of her money from other business ventures. In 2012, Minaj was selected to be one of the judges on the hit reality singing competition “American Idol”. The one year that she was there got her a check for $12 million.
In terms of endorsement deals, Minaj got her first big one in 2010 with MAC Cosmetics when she released a new lipstick every Friday for an entire month. The next year, Minaj was the spokesperson for the Casio TRYX digital camera, as well as a nail polish collection and even a Barbie doll that portrayed a Minaj-like character.
2012 saw even more endorsements with Nokia (launching their Lumia 900 phone), a clothing line with Adidas and multiple advertisements with enormous sponsor Pepsi. Minaj has multiple fragrance lines in her name that include Pink Friday, Minajesty and Onika. Minaj is partnered up with Myx Fusions, and is the spokesperson as well as a co-owner, and the company makes a moscato drink.
There are even more companies that Minaj has been endorsed by or has a part ownership in, but there are simply too many to list. The biggest one that she has been involved in recently is Tidal, a streaming service that was started by Jay-Z, and Minaj has a three percent stake in the company.
Minaj has appeared on the highest earners list in music ever since her emergence in 2010. By 2012, she was eighth in the list for Hip Hop artists, pulling in $29 million, and then $15 million the next year. Don’t expect Minaj to go away anytime soon, as she is still pulling in massive endorsements and her latest album was nominated for several 2016 Grammy Awards that include Best Rap Album, Best Rap Performance and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.
So far, there isn’t an album in the works that would be released in 2016, but with multiple appearances on stage likely that cost $150,000 each, she’s bound to pad her net worth in the coming year. Minaj has also branched out into acting, with appearances in “Ice Age: Continental Drift”, “The Other Woman” and the upcoming “Barbershop 3”. Whether you love her or hate her, she’s here to stay on the richest list for quite some time.