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XXcLusive: Nicki Minaj Signs With Young Money/Universal

Nicki Minaj is officially the first lady of Young Money.

The Queens rapper—who attracted the attention of fans and industry heads alike with her third mixtape, Beam Me Up Scotty—signed to Lil Wayne’s Young Money imprint just two months after Drake inked the dotted line.

“There’s so many people that kind of shut you down as a female before you even get your foot in the door,” Nicki Minaj told “So when you get moments like this it’s like ‘yes, finally’.”

According to a press release [see below], Minaj will retain and own all of her 360 rights, including merchandising, sponsorships, endorsements, touring and publishing.

While she’s focused on the Young Money compilation album, set for a year-end release, Minaj has began recording for her as-yet untitled debut album.

“A lot of things that could’ve been on Beam Me Up Scotty weren’t because they were quote-unquote too good to put on a mixtape,” she told XXL. “So I have an arsenal and very soon we’ll start releasing stuff.”

Nicki Minaj’s first LP is expected to drop early 2010, distributed by Universal Motown. –John Kennedy, with additional reporting by Vanessa Satten

Peep the official press release.

New York, NY–August 31st, 2009


Months after Drake signs with Universal Records, another intense bidding war ensues, resulting in Nicki Minaj signing with Lil Wayne’s Young Money label. During the last two years Minaj has emerged as one of the premiere rappers, choosing to fore go earlier label offers in order to establish a stronger fan base by way of the internet, promotional touring and a series of mixtapes.

After the release of Playtime is Over and Sucker Free, it was her third mixtape, the critically acclaimed Beam Me Up Scotty with featured appearances from Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane, Busta Rhymes, Bobby Valentino and Drake that caught the attention of music industry heavy weights.

Lil Wayne asserts, “I am honored to have Nicki Minaj as Young Money’s First Lady. She is a star.”

The battle among labels to sign Minaj heightened this summer and finalized with Minaj signing an exceptional and very unique deal with Young Money/Universal, where she retains and owns all of her 360 rights, including merchandising, sponsorships, endorsements, touring and publishing.

Nicki Minaj asserts, “To say I’m excited would be an understatement. It’s validation. It’s proof. It’s empowerment. I represent every little girl in a hood near you. To everyone that supported me two years ago when I was on underground mix-tapes and DVDs and to the people that only caught on two weeks ago, I say thank you. Be proud of yourself. You’ve given girls all around the world the permission to change the face of female rap.”

Minaj’s debut album is anticipated to be released in early 2010 and will be distributed through Universal Motown. Minaj is currently appearing with Lil Wayne at sold-out arenas throughout the country on the America’s Most Wanted tour, which also features Young Jeezy, Soulja Boy and more. Minaj continues to be managed by Mizay Enertainment’s Debra Antney who also represents Gucci Mane.

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