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Onika Tanya Maraj (born December 8, 1982), known by her stage name Nicki Minaj (/mɪˈnɑːʒ/), is an American rapper, songwriter and actress. Born in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago and raised in Jamaica, Queens, New York, Minaj received public notice after releasing the mixtapes Playtime is Over (2007), Sucka Free (2008) and Beam Me Up Scotty (2009). She signed a recording contract with Young Money Entertainment in 2009.