Nicki Minaj's Most Controversial Moments

Nicki Minaj has gone from a local mixtape rapper to a hip hop icon and has stirred up a lot of dust along the way. One of the first projects that started making noise for the New York rapper was 2007's "Playtime Is Over." That mixtape seemed to get the attention of Lil Wayne, who took Minaj under his wing and eventually signed her to his Young Money record label.

Then by the time Minaj's 2009 mixtape "Beam Me Up Scotty" was released, she was the talk of the rap world, even though she didn't have an album out yet. Her popularity would also get kicked up another notch after she appeared on Kanye West's 2010 song "Monster" and stole the show. And that's despite having legendary rapper Jay-Z and other hip hop heavyweights on the cut. Minaj finally released her debut album, "The Pinkprint" in 2014 and was credited with bringing women back to rap after they'd been missing from the charts for some time. But again, all of that wasn't done without Minaj causing controversy due to her words and actions. But what are some of the most controversial things she's done over the years? We've listed them for you, and here they are.

The vaccine debate

The debate surrounding the COVID-19 vaccines pretty much began ever since the vaccines became widely available in 2021. On one side of the argument, people point to the statistics that show most who've been vaccinated haven't needed to be hospitalized if they get the virus. Then some folks say they don't trust the vaccine, so they refuse to get it. Nicki Minaj joined the debate after revealing on Twitter that she was infected with COVID-19, while saying that she wouldn't be going to the 2021 Met Gala in New York City because people needed to show proof of vaccination to attend.

"They want you to get vaccinated for the Met. If I get vaccinated it won't [be] for the Met. It'll be once I feel I've done enough research," tweeted Minaj on September 13, 2021. "I'm working on that now. In the meantime my loves, be safe. Wear the mask with 2 strings that grips your head & face. Not that loose one🙏♥️." Then in a separate tweet, Minaj claimed that her cousin's friend in Trinidad "became impotent" after he took the vaccine, which a lot of health experts called ridiculous, including Trinidad's Health Minister. And there were plenty of others, Minaj's fans included, who blasted her stance. 

Going toe-to-toe with Cardi B

Before Cardi B broke onto the rap scene with her mixtapes in 2016, Nicki Minaj practically stood alone as a female rapper who dominated the charts. But that changed after Cardi delivered her smash single "Bodak Yellow" in 2017. Immediately, fans started pitting the ladies against each other. At first, Cardi denied having problems with Minaj, and they collaborated on the song "MotorSport" with Migos. But the song led to some tension. 

That's because in an interview with Capital XTRA (via The Blast), Cardi said that Minaj changed her verse on the song after first recording it, which is often considered a faux pas in rap circles. Minaj responded while talking to Zane Lowe on Beats 1 and said she was "hurt" by how annoyed Cardi seemed when she spoke about the "MotorSport" verse.

But the situation came to a head in September of 2018 when Cardi tried to fight Minaj (via YouTube) at a party being held during New York Fashion Week. After the melee, Cardi accused the "Moment 4 Life" rapper of speaking badly of Kulture, her daughter, who was a newborn at the time. Minaj addressed Cardi's claim on her Beats 1's Queen Radio show and said they're "all lies."  "I was wearing a Vauthier gown off the motherf***ing runway and I could not believe how humiliating it all felt, how we made ourselves look," added Minaj, per Variety.

The rapper books a gig in Saudi Arabia

In 2019, it was announced that Nicki Minaj would be headlining Saudi Arabia's Jeddah World Fest. Many people, including human rights activists, came down on her for the country's history on how it's treated women and those in the LGBTQ community. "Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is the individual who authorized and is financing your seven-figure performance at the event," wrote CEO of the Human Rights Foundation Thor Halvorssen in a letter that was published by The Hollywood Reporter. "I am writing to urgently inform you of the human rights crises in Saudi Arabia." Halvorssen also wrote that women weren't allowed to be at the concert without a "male guardian" or else they needed permission to attend from a "male in her household."

Now, it's unclear how much the letter contributed to Minaj changing her mind about Jeddah World Fest, but that's exactly what she did. She revealed her decision in a statement to NBC News, saying after "educating" herself, she wanted to make it clear that she supports women's rights, the LGBTQ community, and "freedom of expression." Halvorssen thanked Minaj for her decision in another letter, calling it "inspiring" and "thoughtful."

Nicki Minaj's troublesome man

By the time Nicki Minaj achieved fame, she was romantically linked to rapper turned reality star Safaree Samuels. At the time, it didn't seem like a huge surprise, since Samuels was seen in her early videos and performed with her. Minaj was then in a serious relationship with Philly rapper Meek Mill, and that also didn't seem shocking since they were seen hanging out on social media before dating. But when "The Pinkprint" rhymer introduced a man named Kenneth Petty as her new beau in 2019, people had questions. After finding out about his past, many were outraged.

Petty and Minaj used to date when they were youngsters in their Queens, New York neighborhood, per TMZ. In 1995, Petty was convicted of attempted rape, as Billboard reported. And in 2002, he was charged in the shooting death of a man named Lamont Robinson, pled guilty to manslaughter, and spent seven years in prison. Eventually, the rapper responded to the backlash on Instagram for dating Petty and wrote,  "Y'all can't run my life. Y'all can't even run y'all own life," which was captured by The Shade Room. Then on October 22, 2019, to more groans from her fans, Minaj revealed that she and Petty got married the day before. They had their first child together on September 30, 2020, a boy, but as of September 2021, they haven't shared his name.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Jessie J annoyed her

In 2014, there's a good chance that you were bopping around to "Bang Bang," a song by Jessie J, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj. The song was a huge hit, peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Plus, as of September 2021, the video has over 1 billion views. So with all of the success behind the song, why was Minaj upset about it in 2021? That has to do with an interview that Jessie did with Glamour about how the rapper got on the single.

"'Bang Bang' was a song that already existed," Jessie explained. "Ariana stayed on the second verse, I recorded the first verse, and then Nicki was played it in the studio and was like, 'I've got to jump on this.' We didn't go to her and ask; she wanted to do it." In now-deleted tweets shared by Page Six, Minaj denied asking to be on the song and said her label asked her to do it and "paid" her. She then told Jessie to stop with the misinformation.

"But the worst part about this is no1EVER asked me2get on 'like a dude,'" added the "Anaconda" creator. Jessie apologized to Minaj shortly after in a now-deleted Instagram message captured by Entertainment Weekly, writing that she "got the story wrong all these years." Wisely, Grande stayed out of the disagreement entirely.

The MTV moment with Miley Cyrus

Hosting an awards show doesn't seem easy since the job entails keeping the ceremony moving, being funny off the cuff, and dashing backstage to change outfits. But Miley Cyrus, who hosted the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, had to deal with another difficulty: being called out by Nicki Minaj. Days before the ceremony, Cyrus was asked about a tiff between Minaj and Taylor Swift. At the time, in a tweet, Minaj criticized MTV for not giving her "Anaconda" video a nod for Video of the Year. She also said the network only "celebrates women with very slim" bodies, words that Swift took personally and responded to.

But Minaj quickly said she wasn't referring to Swift, and all was okay between those two. However, what Cyrus told The New York Times about Minaj came back to bite her when she was hosting the VMAs. "What I read sounded very Nicki Minaj, which, if you know Nicki Minaj is not too kind," said Cyrus in her interview. Minaj responded to the "Wrecking Ball" singer when she won the award for Best Hip Hop Video. "And now back to this b***h that had a lot to say about me the other day in the press. Miley, what's good?" asked Minaj. Cyrus answered by saying her interview was manipulated, but that didn't seem to fix things since Minaj was still seen yelling on stage.

Nicki Minaj vs. Remy Ma

Before their beef with each other peaked in 2017, there were rumors that Bronx rapper Remy Ma threw subtle jabs at Nicki Minaj in songs — like on Brooklyn rapper Phresher's 2016 cut "Wait A Minute."  Minaj was accused of throwing shots at Remy as well, like on her Gucci Mane-assisted song "Make Love." But questions about whether there were really problems between the two women were answered after Remy released her Minaj diss track "Shether" in 2017. In the cut, Remy makes fun of Minaj's past outfits, accuses her of starting the famous feud between Drake and Meek Mill, and claims that she uses ghostwriters.

It didn't happen right away, but Minaj responded to Remy in a song called "No Frauds," featuring Drake and Lil Wayne, where she brought up Remy being accused of shooting a woman named Makeda Barnes-Joseph in 2007. She also questions her fellow rapper's parenting skills and accuses her of signing a bad record deal. After "No Frauds" hit the internet, an online debate broke out about who won the battle. Some said Remy did because "Shether" was more scathing; others said "No Frauds" because it seemed to be a bigger song, thanks to Drake and Lil Wayne.

The feud with Farrah Abraham

At the time, it was rapper against reality star. The participants of the beef? Nicki Minaj and Farrah Abraham, formerly of "16 and Pregnant," then "Teen Mom OG." In 2016, an online back-and-forth began after Minaj was watching Abraham's show. Those who've watched "Teen Mom OG" have probably seen Abraham and her mother, Debra Danielsen, go at it. Or more specifically, they might've seen the reality star disrespect her mother on several occasions, which ended up being too much for Minaj to watch. So what did the Queen of The Barbz do? She took to Twitter and called Abraham something pretty nasty, which MTV wrote about. She also tweeted that the TV star was horrible to Danielsen and she ought to be grateful that she's helping out with her daughter Sophia.

Abraham eventually shot back and suggested that Minaj had no right to criticize the relationship between herself, her mom, and Sophia since the rapper wasn't a parent herself at the time. The former MTV star then dissed Minaj's music videos, calling them lewd. The rapper responded after that and played English teacher by criticizing Abraham's spelling. "Instead of dragging your mother, learn the difference between 'you're' & 'your,'" tweeted Minaj.

Beef with Mariah Carey

When "American Idol" began in 2002, sure, Paula Abdul was considered a celebrity judge, but the stars of the show still seemed to be the singers. It could be said that changed over time because no longer was it just Abdul, Randy Jackson, and Simon Cowell on the judging panel — performers like Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith's Steven Tyler joined. But later, they were replaced by Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban, and Mariah Carey, who joined Jackson in the twelfth season. The new star judges quickly made headlines when they were hired but mostly because Minaj and Carey were constantly fighting.

As MTV reported then, Carey denied there were issues between herself and Minaj at a New York City press conference. But a video that was released by TMZ ended up contradicting the "Vision of Love" singer because it showed Minaj yelling onset. "I told them, I'm not f***ing putting up with her f***ing highness over there," Minaj can be heard saying. The rapper later spoke about why she and Carey had tensions, and she said the legendary singer wanted to be the sole woman judge. "She's admitted that she did not want another female doing the show, thinking somebody's coming to steal her shine," Minaj explained on her E! News special "My Truth" (via MTV). And the funny thing is, the two collaborated in 2010 on Carey's single "Up Out My Face" — but they probably won't be doing that again.

Insulting Lil' Kim

When Nicki Minaj broke onto the scene, there were many comparisons to Lil' Kim for the sometimes raunchy lyrics that Minaj recites. Plus, when Minaj released a photo of herself around 2007 that looked almost identical to the promo shots that Kim took for her debut album "Hardcore," the comparisons became even stronger. So one could have easily thought that Kim would've taken Minaj under her wing or at least befriended her in some way. But instead, they feuded and were accused of taking shots at each other in songs. Like on the remix to Diddy's cut "Hello Good Morning," where Minaj raps "Did I kill a queen?" Some thought that was a jab at Kim, considering she's called The Queen Bee. 

Kim also was accused of going at Minaj over the instrumental to Beyoncé and Minaj's "Flawless" remix, rapping that she'd demolish the younger rapper with her "old" material. Afterward, there were more accusations of subtle insults, and it seemed the ladies wouldn't even stand in the same room with each other. But in June of 2021, at the BET Awards, Kim shocked many by saying she'd be willing to face Minaj in a Verzuz battle, the online series that shows two famous artists playing their hits. Minaj never responded to the Verzuz talk, but the mere fact that Kim and Nicki could be working together on some level caused plenty of commotion online.

Nicki worked with Tekashi 6ix9ine

After Brooklyn rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine was booked by the feds in New York City in 2018 on charges that included weapons violations, racketeering conspiracy, and drug trafficking, he eventually got a reduced sentence for testifying against the members of his former gang. Now in certain circles, hip hop being one of them, testifying against your friends or associates, or snitching as it's called, can get you ostracized. And that was definitely the case with Tekashi, as he quickly became hip hop's arch-enemy. So when it was revealed that Nicki Minaj would collaborate with him on the 2020 song "Trollz," many came down on her. Minaj and Tekashi also collaborated on the 2018 song "FEFE."

"You don't have to defend me. I'm not afraid of internet trolls, blogs, artists," Minaj tweeted after someone stuck up for her. "I don't jump on bandwagons. Many will never know what it feels like to have a mind of their own." Tekashi, who's known for antagonizing people online, bragged after the "Trollz" video racked up 46 million YouTube views in under 24 hours. But YouTube later changed that number to 32.5 million.

The star refused to perform

When a radio station books one of the world's biggest rappers for their annual concert, it's probably not a good idea for one of the hosts to insult her. But that's exactly what Hot 97's Peter Rosenberg did to Nick Minaj in 2012. While on one of the stages at Summer Jam, the New York station's yearly concert, Rosenberg spoke badly about Minaj's song "Starships." The cut is more pop than hip hop, which some rap purists like Rosenberg were turned off by. "I know there's some chicks here waiting to sing 'Starships' later, I'm not talking to y'all right now," he said from the stage. "I'm here to talk about real hip hop s*** ... That's that s*** I represent."

Afterward, Lil Wayne, who signed Minaj to his Young Money Entertainment record label, tweeted that none of his artists would perform at Summer Jam because of the insult, which Minaj confirmed in her own tweet. So in the end, she never took the stage and was celebrated by some and blasted by others. Then in May of 2013, Minaj and Rosenberg met face to face when the rapper stopped by the Hot 97 studios. During the sit-down, Minaj said she regretted not doing Summer Jam and shouldn't have let Rosenberg keep her from entertaining her fans. "I apologize for not coming out and doing the show because they had nothing to do with that," she explained.

Did she diss a civil rights legend?

When Nicki Minaj previewed her song "Yikes" in 2020 on Instagram, she probably just wanted to excite her fans and get some feedback. But what she got instead was a whole lot of backlash for using late civil rights activist Rosa Parks' name in a line. Parks, of course, was the woman who refused to give her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955 after the driver told her to do so. In "Yikes," Minaj raps, "All you b***ches Rosa Parks, get your a** up." The fact that Minaj shared the song snippet during Black History month didn't help, either.

Many called the rapper out on social media and said the line was a slap in the face to Parks, The Montgomery Bus Boycott (which Parks helped spark), and the civil rights movement. Plus, Anita Peek, who worked with Parks and is the Executive Director of the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development, told TMZ the civil rights legend would be "extremely hurt" by the line. Then after a news outlet noted that Minaj called her Parks lyric "bad timing," she shared the headline and fully denied it. "Never said this," wrote Minaj. "Had no clue anyone was mad. Don't care. #Yikes."