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how old is nicki minajHow old is Nicki Minaj? It’s a good question, considering how she disguises her voice and changes up her looks on a minute-to-minute basis. Nicki is 29 years old, and on Dec. 8, 2012, the rapper will celebrate her 30th birthday. She was born in Trinidad and Tobago and raised in Queens, New York; as a teenager, Nicki attended the famous LaGuardia Arts High School—immortalized in the movie Fame—and studied drama. (Surprised?) After graduating, she took a job at Red Lobster, where she was fired after following a customer out to his car and giving him the finger. The reason: He stole her pen.

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The 29-year-old Pink Friday creator has good reason to hold onto that pen: She’s written some of the most memorable rap verses in recent years. And she’s just getting started. Although she’s nearly 30 years old—ancient by pop standards—there are plenty of rappers and singers in her age range. Kanye West is 34; Lil Wayne is also 29; and Birdman, co-founder of Cash Money Records, is 43. Sure, Nicki is associated with some young bucks, such as Drake (25), Tyga (22), and Cory Gunz (24), but the soon-to-be-30-year-old still packs plenty of youthful punch.

And stubbornness. Just ask Hot 97 DJ Peter Rosenberg, who dissed her song “Starships” hours before Minaj was to take the stage at the station’s Summer Jam concert at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. Lil Wayne took to Twitter soon after the slight to announce the Harajuku Barbie was pulling out of the evening’s show.

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“From now on, Hot 97, when you want our team to come to your show—it doesn’t matter if it’s one or all—treat us with respect,” Nicki said in an interview with Funkmaster Flex, explaining why she scrapped her planned performance. “That’s all we’re asking. We’re not asking for any special treatment. We’re asking for respect.”

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Check out Nicki’s most eye-popping looks in the gallery below!

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