April 9, 2012— -- intro: After bursting onto the music scene just two years ago, Nicki Minaj has become a show stopper.
The 29-year-old candy-coated rapper, who was signed in 2009 after appearing on a DVD called "The Come Up," had the opportunity to perform with Madonna at the Super Bowl XLV Halftime Show and on "American Idol." She also made jaws drop with her controversial performance of "The Exorcism of Roman" at the Grammys. And that's just what she's done so far this year.
Fresh off the release of her second album, "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded," Minaj sat down for an interview with ABC's Juju Chang to talk about her tumultuous childhood, the wardrobe malfunctions, dealing with her new found fame -- and what she really thinks of Lady Gaga.
Here's a taste of some of the most revealing moments with Minaj.
quicklist: 2category: title: Minaj Hates Being Compared to Lady Gagaurl: media:16097595text: Both Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga (pictured right) are momentous female artists whose powerful lyrics, over-the-top performances and wild outfits have revolutionized music for a new generation.
But simply being referred to as the "black Lady Gaga," Minaj said, "irks" her because she believes she and Gaga are each different, influential singers in their own right.
"We're in completely different lanes," Minaj said of Lady Gaga. "I'm a rapper ... Gaga's a fantastic artist, you know, she paved her way. She's opened her own lane. But I think that I have my own lane. And we never cross. Ever. So, you know, I really don't get the comparison anymore. Our music doesn't sound the same. Our stage presence is not the same. I just can't see the similarities."
Born in Trinidad, Minaj has made a name for herself in rap music with her raging lyrics, which she said she draws from a rough childhood growing up in Queens, N.Y. She now has nearly 11 million Twitter followers, more than Eminem.
quicklist: 3category: title: Minaj Says Nipple Slip Was 'Devastating'url: media:16097606text: As an up-and-coming artist, Nicki Minaj got more exposure than she meant to during two separate public appearances.
During a taping of the "Today Show" last week, Minaj was dressed in a mesh shirt with a wide-cut bra-like top that caused one of her nipples to slip for a second or two. The rapper admitted to the recent slip while talking with ABC's Juju Chang for "Nightline."
Minaj suffered a similar incident during a performance for the "Good Morning America" concert series last July. While singing "Where Dem Girls At," the rapper kept adjusting the loose-fitting halter top she was wearing, which caused a slip that made one of her nipples visible for a few seconds. The slip set the Internet aflame with comments, and rumors circulated that it was a stunt.
"That was devastating," Minaj told "Nightline." "I feel bad ... I always put myself in the parents shoes when stuff like that happens. But I know that I would never, ever, ever, swear to God, do something like that on purpose."
quicklist: 4category: title: Minaj Says 'Boys Don't Talk to Me'url: media:16097892text: Having a young, mostly female, fan base, Nicki Minaj said her message is often that women can be "successful outside of a man." Even though the singer was rumored to be dating her hype man Safaree Samuel, Minaj said she doesn't have any men in her life.
"I don't have any dates," she said. "Boys don't talk to me."
However, Minaj said that she does see marriage and children in her future -- one day.
"I think a child may be the only thing that could give me true happiness," she said. "When I saw Madonna I realized it can be done, because I saw her children were coming to the rehearsals and that really moved me. But no children anytime soon."
quicklist: 5category: title: Tokyo Street Fashion, '90s Rap Inspire Her Lookurl: media: 16097651text: Aside from her outrageous performances, Nicki Minaj is known for her provocative outfits, some of which are so tight they look painted onto her body. Others look like exaggerations of her natural figure.
The rapper said she looks to powerful female performers of the past for her style inspiration, especially Marilyn Monroe, but also Janet Jackson and the ladies of Salt-n-Pepa from the days when they sported bamboo hoop earrings and cut-up jeans.
After sitting front row at Fashion Week with Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of American Vogue, last week, Minaj said she also feels inspired by Japanese fashion.
"I love Tokyo street fashion, and I thought it was more amazing than runway fashion for me," she said. "That was more impressive to me, that it was people doing something that was, you know, not the norm... it doesn't always look like it matches and it doesn't always look like it fits, but I think it looks right."
But underneath it all, Onika Tanya Maraj -- Minaj's real name -- would much rather be dressed down.
"I hate formal stuff," she said. "I love looking like a doll and all that stuff and playing dress up, but when I'm home, sweat pants, t-shirt. When I'm in the studio, sweat pants, t-shirt."
quicklist: 6category: title: Minaj's Real Hair Color Is Actually...url: media:16098464text: Peacock blue and green strands, fuzzy pink bee hive up-dos, platinum blonde curls, a new day, a new photo shoot, means a new hair color for Nicki Minaj.
The singer is never without a voluptuous wig. She was recently snapped rolling around in the sand in a hot pink bikini and bright green wig on the set of her music video "Starships."
So what is Minaj's real hair color?
"I mean obviously it's black," she said. "It's not that I don't want to show my real hair. It's that the maintenance of real hair is too much ... to have to curl my hair or flat iron my hair. It's so annoying."
quicklist: 7category: title: Minaj Is Really a 'Shy' Homebodyurl: media:16097680text: As a female rapper who believes using the "f-bomb" has a lot of "power," Nicki Minaj admitted there was a downside to being caught up in the fame bubble.
"I'm already a shy person," she told ABC's Juju Chang. "I don't really like crowds, really."
The worst part about becoming so famous, Minaj said, is that the attention has made her more of a "recluse."
"Sometimes I want to just pull the off switch, but you can't because if you go outside, you have to give people your all. You can't say, 'Oh, you know what? I'm not feeling good today.' No. No one's trying to hear that. When a woman comes up to you and says, 'Hey, my daughter's your biggest fan. Can we have a picture?' You can't say no," she said.
But it's clear her fans mean the world to Minaj. At a recent record signing in New York City, the rapper stayed until each of the 500 some people who showed up had a moment with the singer. Minaj said her ambition, her drive to keep going, comes from within and from her humble beginnings.
"It comes on me thinking that there was a possibility that I would be poor for my whole life, and I didn't -- and I refused," she said. "I refused to lose."