Nicki Minaj – Nicki Minaj has gone from underground mix tape artist to platinum-selling superstar, and now named Billboard’s Rising Star of 2011.
Alongside Taylor Swift, who was named Billboard’s Woman of the Year, the Harajuku Barbie will accept the Rising Star award at the sixth annual Women in Music event in New York on December 2.
“I am deeply honored to be recognized by Billboard,” Minaj said in a statement. “My nation of Barbz and I have come a mighty long way; yet we are nowhere close to where God will take us. Sit back and enjoy the ride.”
And what a ride the past year has been. Since releasing her full-length debut album, Pink Friday, in late November 2010, the hip-hop darling has broken records, released a string of hit singles and toured with pop royalty. Most recently, Nicki nabbed a pair of American Music Awards, including Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist and Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Album.
Bill Werde, Billboard’s editorial director, echoed the starlet’s accomplishments, saying, “Nicki Minaj has established herself as a force in hip-hop and pop music, and we’re thrilled to recognize her accomplishments over the past year by honoring her as this year’s Rising Star. Her unique style and powerful sound will undoubtedly lead to a long and lustrous career, and we look forward to seeing where she goes and what she does next.”
Minaj follows an elite group of Rising Star recipients, including Jazmine Sullivan (2010), Lady Gaga (2009) and Colbie Caillat (2008).