Is Nicki Minaj really retiring from music?

The 36-year-old rapper says she wants to focus on starting a family

(Image credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Nicki Minaj has announced that she is to retire from the music industry in order to become a mother.

The 36-year-old rapper tweeted: “I’ve decided to retire and have my family. I know you guys are happy now.”

See more

It isn’t clear if the Super Bass and Anaconda hitmaker is quitting music forever or just taking a temporary break.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Last year, Trinidadian-born Minaj, who grew up in New York, told Wonderland magazine that motherhood was around the corner for her. “I’ve got to get married first then I’ll have a child. I might be closer than people think, actually,” she said.

“I love children. I’m not going to put that off for much longer.”

The star “is dating a man called Kenneth Petty and has hinted that they’re planning to get married”, says the BBC.

But the broadcaster adds that “for a star who’s known for bold, sometimes conflicting, statements, it’s far from a given that she’s being genuine with this latest announcement”.

That suggestion is echoed by The Guardian, which notes that Minaj is known for her “bizarre alter egos”, leaving some wondering whether her alleged retirement simply marks another reinvention or a joke at her fans’ expense.

Rolling Stone says she wouldn’t be the first rapper to feint retirement. “Historically, a premature retirement announcement is a classic late stage career move for many hip-hop artists,” says the music magazine, which rates the odds of Minaj permanently retiring from music as “dubious”.

If she really is quitting the entertainment business, Minaj - born Onika Tanya Maraj - will be bowing out on a high. Earlier this year, the Recording Industry Association of America announced that she had become the first female rapper to sell 100 million albums and singles.

As well as releasing multiple No. 1 albums, Minaj has been nominated for ten Grammys, won five MTV Music Video Awards, and received a Guinness World Record in 2017 for most Billboard Hot 100 entries by a solo female artist.

The New York Times has called Minaj “a sparkling rapper with a gift for comic accents and unexpected turns of phrase”.

“She’s a walking exaggeration, outsize in sound, personality and look. And she’s a rapid evolver, discarding old modes as easily as adopting new ones,” says the newspaper.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.