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How Nicki Minaj Achieved a Net Worth of $130 Million

Nicki Minaj

Onika Tanya Maraj-Petty, who professionally goes by the name Nicki Minaj, is a United States-based singer, songwriter, and rapper who calls New York City home. Born in Trinidad and Tobago, Maraj moved with her family to join her mother in New York City at age 5 and has lived in the United States since then.

A product of NYC’s public school system, she graduated in 2001 from Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Arts and Performing Arts and struggled to establish herself as an actress after graduating. She succeeded in getting her first role, in the Off-Broadway play In Case You Forgot, in 2001.

Nicki Minaj’s net worth as of December 2022 is $130 million US Dollars. Her estimated monthly income is approximately $4-5 million, mostly from sales of her music, touring, and endorsements. As an established superstar in music, she is likely to remain a highly influential musician for

Early Career

After graduation, Onika Maraj struggled to establish herself in the cutthroat world of New York City’s arts community. Ambitious to break into acting, she found herself at a disadvantage compared to other actors in NYC. Despite her prestigious origins at one of NYC’s top arts high schools, Maraj struggled as many young artists do in New York during the first years of her career.

She spent her first years trying to establish herself in the theatre scene while being fired from a succession of jobs over that time. During that time, she signed with Brooklyn-based hip-hop group Full Force, getting her start with the Hoodstars, and it was at this time that her ambitions in the artistic world began to shift from acting to music.

During her early career, Maraj changed her stage name to Nicki Minaj, as her peers in the hip-hop community didn’t like her original stage name of Nicki Maraj and compared it to a “mirage.” Once she changed her stage name, she took another important step toward stardom. Like many young stars in the early 2000s, she started a MySpace page and filled it with her albums and recordings. With her presence on MySpace, she built a following that lasted through several mixtapes and accompanied her to her first studio albums.

Nicki Goes Platinum

With her 2010 album Pink Friday, Nicki Minaj finally reached her audience. Her career began trending upward with albums into the mid-2010s with a sound that is heavily influenced by her Trinidadian upbringing. Nicki Minaj said in an interview that early in her career, producers tried to shoehorn her into a typical New York hip-hop sound, while her intention from her very beginning was to honor her Trinidadian roots and bring her more complex flow and rhythms from her origins in Trinidad to the United States rap scene.

This may have had some impact on how long it took in her career to take off in the US music industry, but once she landed, she quickly became one of the most popular and influential women in the industry. Pink Friday was certified Platinum with 2 million copies sold including both physical albums and streaming album equivalents. She followed it up with Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (also just called Roman Reloaded), a concept album mixing hip-hop with dance pop. Roman Reloaded was certified double-platinum in 2016.

Post Roman Reloaded

Since the 2012 release of Roman Reloaded, through her marriage in 2019, she has continued to produce a steady stream of lucrative singles and albums, being one of the most consistent voices in rap and pop history since her debut. She took a break in 2020 and 2021, reducing her work load to concentrate both on motherhood and on working with other artists, but returned to the studio in 2022 to work on her upcoming fifth studio album.

With no end or pause in sight for her albums and collaborations, Nicki Minaj looks like she is a brand to follow in the popular music space for the foreseeable future. Her collaborators include many of the most popular hip-hop artists in modern popular music, as in the 24 months leading up to December 2022, she has released numerous collaborations with Lil Baby, Coi Leray, and Doja Cat. Her recent single, “Super Freaky Girl,” was the first woman-led hip-hop single to debut at #1 since Lauryn Hill’s song “Doo Wop (That Thing).”

Endorsements

Nicki Minaj’s endorsements are a major part of her income. At least as much of her money over the last decade has come from her endorsement deals as one of social media’s original influencers as it has from her music. A long-time endorser of Fendi, she co-designed a limited edition, FENDI Prints On, in 2019. Her collaboration with luxury cosmetics brand Makeup Art Cosmetics (M*A*C) began with a 2012 limited collection and has only grown over the years.

Not all her collaborations have been hits, however. Her participation in Diesel Couture’s anti-bullying themed ads fell flat due to her fanbase’s aggressive behavior toward anyone criticizing their “Queen.” Her fragrance line partnered with Luxe Brands, while popular enough to begin with, entered a market saturated with celebrity fragrances and failed to gain a lasting foothold.

Perhaps Minaj’s most notable misstep came in her “Barbie-Que Honey Truffle” branded snack food line in collaboration with Rap Snacks. This release drew a cease-and-desist order from Barbie trademark holder Mattel. The toy giant rightly saw the name of the snack line as trading on an intellectual property Minaj did not have the rights to.

Salary

All of Nikki Minaj’s ventures bring her a quite respectable salary. Her investments and endorsements are estimated to be earning her roughly $5 million a month, which on top of annual album royalties of roughly $4 million put her in the top tier of earnings for music recording artists. Nicki Minaj will likely continue to earn and draw in the top tier for the foreseeable future.

Charitable Giving and Advocacy

Nicki Minaj made history in 2021 in making a tremendous contribution to education for underserved youth. Launching a $100 million scholarship fund focusing on high-achieving students with mental illness, Minaj has put a lot of emphasis on people who often are not considered one of the more “attractive” or inspirational groups.

This distinction differentiates her from the average celebrity scholarship fund, which targets youth that can make attractive PR output. In late 2022, Nicki Minaj continued the higher education focus of her charitable giving, opening a charity to help with student loans and tuition payments.

In more traditional donation and advocacy areas, Nicki Minaj has been partnering since 2015 with global charities to build wells and provide sewing machines for poverty-stricken areas in Africa and India.

Summary

Nicki Minaj did not take the most traditional route to the top of her art. However, once there she has proven to be a durable and popular artist whose non-traditional life story is appealing to Generation Z. Her net worth of approximately $130 million USD is on the upper tier of modern musicians. She makes even more money now from her endorsements than she does from her music, even with some missteps. And Minaj’s investments in charity speak volumes about her true character.

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Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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