Billboard’s “Rising Star of 2011”

Shannon Livewell

Throughout time, music has evolved immensely in the way of its artists, rhythms, and messages. One thing that has not changed, however, is the “rags to riches” idea that talent and perseverance can bring any superstar out of the woodwork.

On November 22, 2011, Nicki Minaj was named Billboard’s “Rising Star of 2011.”  Minaj started out her music career by creating mixtapes in basements and shipping them off to local and national producers. To most this may seem tedious and repetitive, to Minaj it was a chance at being able to achieve her life-long dream.

Since releasing her full-length debut album, Pink Friday, in November 2010, Minaj has broken countless records and released a string of hit singles while touring with some of the most well known Pop performers. Her most recent achievement was winning two American Music Awards, one for favorite rap/hip-hop artist and another for favorite rap/hip-hop album.

Bill Werde, a Billboard’s editorial director recently said, “Nicki Minaj has established herself as a force in hip-hop and pop music, and we’re thrilled to recognize her accomplishments over the past year by honoring her as this year’s Rising Star. Her unique style and powerful sound will undoubtedly lead to a long and lustrous career, and we look forward to seeing where she goes and what she does next.”

Minaj is 28 and achieving more then most could hope to in a lifetime. Her style is indescribable and her presence on-stage is just as unique as her personality. If she has come this far already, it will be amazing to see what her career will evolve to in time.

Like all unique stars such as Lady Gaga, Minaj is an acquired taste. Most listeners either love her music, or hate it. One thing that cannot be argued, however, is that Minaj undoubtedly deserves the title of “Rising Star” because she has come from a world of nothing and turned herself into a pop-culture icon. Her music has made a mark on the industry as she is the first female rapper to go platinum with her music, and it is doubtful that she will stop there.