• Hey, It's That Voice! #23: Nicki Minaj

    Hello and welcome back to the fusion editions of "Hey, It's That Voice!" We are looking at the voices of the various fusions we see throughout Steven Universe, and today we get to look at the voice of Sugilite!

    She's big. She's mean. She's a destructive machine. Sugilite seems to have a one track mind, and that is smashing things up. I do get that with Amethyst and Ruby in the mix, but what about Sapphire? Where does she fit in this monster? Perhaps it's how Ruby and Sapphire don't like splitting up? Maybe cold like Sapphire? Okay, that was a bad joke. But that is something that has made me think for a while. However, let's not too sidetracked from who and what Sugilite is: a headstrong and reckless smasher! But who gets to voice this behemoth? Why, that would be Nicki Minaj!

    Yeah, sucker punch that communication hub, Sugilite.

    Born Onika Tanya Maraj in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago on December 8, 1982, Minaj was raised in Trinidad and Tobago by her grandmother. Her father, Robert Maraj, was a financial executive and a part-time gospel singer of Indian and Afro-Trinidadian descent, and her mother, Carol Maraj, worked in a payroll and accounting departments and was also a gospel singer  Afro-Trinidadian and distant Asian ancestry. Her mother moved The Bronx, New York to attend college and brought the entire family to Queens, including Minaj when she was five years old. For high school, Minaj auditioned for and attended LaGuardia High School. Upon graduating, Minaj had aspirations of becoming an actor and was in the cast of the Off-Broadway play In Case You Forgot. When her acting career failed to take off at the age of 19, she worked as a waitress, where she was fired for discourtesy to a customer, something she claimed cost her "at least fifteen jobs".

    In the start of her career, Minaj briefly sung with Full Force, and the quartet The Hoodstars. While with them, she contributed to WWE Diva Victoria's entrance song "Don't Mess With". She left Full Force and began simply uploading songs to her Myspace page and sending some select songs to people in the music industry. In 2007, Minaj was signed to a 180-day contract by Dirty Money Entertainment and, at the suggestion of her new label, adopted the stage name of "Nicki Minaj". In July of 2007, Minaj released her first of three mixtapes, 'Playtime is Over'. The other mixtapes, 'Sucka Free' in 2008 and 'Beam Me Up Scotty' in 2009, were released and all three were well received by critics, getting the attention of BET, MTV, and various other rappers.

    In 2010, Minaj released her first album, 'Pink Friday'. Debuting at number two on the Billboard 200,  the album was received with positive reviews. Eight singles were released from the album, including "Your Love", "Check It Out" (with will.i.am), "Moment 4 Life" (with Drake), "Did It On'em", "Fly" (with Rihanna), and probably her most well-known song, "Super Bass".

    Minaj pictured at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards.

    Two years later, Minaj released her second album, 'Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded'. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and spawned the international hit single "Starships". And finally, in 2014, Minaj released her most recent album, 'The Pinkprint',

    Nicki Minaj on the cover of her second album, 'Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded'.

    Nicki Minaj has had plenty of collaborations when it comes to music. In fact, she has worked with Hell Rell, Red CafĂ©, Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane, Lil' Kim, Busta Rhymes, Bobby V, Shanell, Ron Browz, Eminem, Rihanna, Drake, will.i.am, Cam'ron, Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, Nas, Young Jeezy, Jessie Ware, Ariana Grande, BeyoncĂ©, Mariah Carey, Ludacris, Usher, Christina Aguilera, Bon Iver, The Lonely Island, Birdman, Madonna, Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, B.o.B., Justin Bieber, Nelly, Robin Thicke, Kanye West, and so many more. In fact, her verse in Kanye West's song "Monster" (featuring  Jay-Z, Rick Ross, and singer Justin Vernon of indie folk group Bon Iver) was the inspiration for Sugilite according to Rebecca Sugar.

    As for appearing on television, Minaj has starred as herself for many different shows. These include My Super Sweet 16, New Year's Eve with Carson Daly, Fashion Police, Saturday Night Live, America's Next Top Model, America's Best Dance Crew, The Cleveland Show, and acted as a judge on the 12th season of American Idol.

    On the silver screen, Minaj has started in three films. The first was voice acting in Ice Age: Continental Drift, where she voiced the mammoth Steffie. She has also appeared in the film The Other Woman and Barbership: The Next Cut.

    And that will do it for this edition of "Hey, It's That Voice!" Join me next time when we look at the fusion that just loves to put on a show!