Though the sex appeal was inherent, Minaj fine-tuned her talent at the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art (known widely as the inspiration for Fame). Dirty Money CEO Fendi put her in more than one issue of The Come Up, his urban DVD magazine. One of those inclusions exposed Minaj to Lil Wayne who signed her up as an artist on his Young Money record label.
Using mixtapes, Wayne starting creating a buzz about Minaj. His own Dedication 3, as well as her Sucka Free, led the pack. Other artists started clamoring to get her on their remixes and so it was that Minaj found herself on tracks like T.I.'s "No Matter What" and Jeffree Star's "Cupcakes Taste Like Violence."
In 2008, Wayne guested on her “High as a Kite” cut and broke Minaj through. It was all enough to annoint her Female Artist of the Year at the Underground Music Awards. The following year kept the momentum going in the underground with Beam Me Up Scotty which gained attention from both MTV and BET.
Then, in 2010, Minaj issued singles in “Massive Attack,” “Your Love,” and “Check It Out” as leads into her official debut set, Pink Friday. Artists including Drake, will.i.am, Kanye West, and Rihanna all lined up to make cameo appearances on the album that went platinum within a month of release.
“Your Love” made it to number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 even as it topped the rap chart. Minaj defied the laws of gravity and became the first woman ever named to MTV's Annual Hottest MC List and the first female artist to top the rap chart without having a male counterpart.