Nicki Minaj Gets Personal On Childhood Abuse

The new queen of hip-hop opens up about growing up in an abusive home, and the example she's trying to set for younger fans.

By Jorge Rivas Jan 28, 2011

It’s only a matter of time before Nicki Minaj becomes a household name that grandmothers and aunties ask their young grandkids and nephews about. The young rapper is one of the fastest rising Google searches, just after teen sensation Justin Bieber. She also has her own MTV documentary and a lipstick for MAC cosmetics. And she’s sold enough records that some think name can easily be included alongside  female hip hop royalty like like Missy Elliot and Lauryn Hill.

In an interview with The Sun, the 26-year-old Trinidadian-born rapper who grew up in Queens, New York says she spent most of her childhood living in fear of her father who had issues with substance abuse. She opens up to a much greater extent than she has in past interviews.

"All of my young and teenage early years we lived in fear that my mother would be killed by my father. It was ridiculous," Minaj told The Sun. "My father was violent – physically and verbally. Once my older brother grew up he became the man of the house and started standing up to my father," she went on to say.

"When I first came to America," she says, "I would go in my room and and kneel down at the foot of my bed and pray that God would make me rich so that I could take care of my mother."

And she has.

Minaj recently joked with Details Magazine, saying she gets a "handsome amount" for appearances. "I could definitely buy a car off one of my guest appearances. And I’m not talking about a Hyundai."

Despite her success Minaj has no qualms about sharing stories of her abuse, even though her parents still live together and her father would prefer that she not share their history. "It’s the price you pay when you abuse drugs and alcohol," she told Rolling Stone in November. "Maybe one day your daughter will be famous and talk to every magazine about it, so think about that, dad’s out there who want to be crazy."

She told Rolling Stones she’s proud of what she’s become, proving that rappers can come from any background. "At one point you had to sell a few kilos to be considered a credible rapper," she says. "But now it’s like Drake and I are embracing the fact that we went to school, we love acting, we love theater, and that’s ok — and it’s especially good for the black community to know that’s ok, that’s embraced."