Chart Beat

Rewinding the Charts: In 2011, Nicki Minaj's 'Pink Friday' Was Red-Hot

Nicki Minaj
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Nicki Minaj performs at the Staples Center on April 22, 2011 in Los Angeles.

The flamboyant artist charted her first No. 1 album in what has become a record-setting career.

IN 2011, NICKI MINAJ BECAME JUST THE fourth female rapper to earn a No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 with her first studio LP, Pink Friday. (She had put out three mixtapes between 2007 and 2009.)

The album, which debuted at No. 2 the previous December, ascended to the top on Feb. 19, 2011, in its 11th week on the chart. That same week, the Trinidadian-American artist, then 28, saw Pink Friday cross the million-sales mark. (Its U.S. total now stands at 2 million, according to Nielsen Music.)

Prior to Minaj's achievement, Foxy Brown had twice topped the Billboard 200, in 1997 and 1999; Lauryn Hill hit No. 1 in 1998; and Eve led in 1999. Since Pink Friday, the only female MC to top the Billboard 200 has been Minaj herself, with her 2012 follow-up, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded.

Minaj first debuted on the Billboard charts in August 2009 with "I Get Crazy," featuring Lil Wayne, which became a top 40 hit on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs tally. She has gone on to become the female rapper with the most top 10 tracks on both the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs list (26) and the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 (15). On the latter, Minaj also boasts the most entries among women overall: 83 (through Feb. 10). They include Pink Friday's No. 3 Hot 100 smash, "Super Bass."

Minaj hasn't released a new studio album since The Pinkprint in 2014, but she has hardly been idle. While she is reportedly readying a new release, in 2017 alone she charted 16 songs on the Hot 100 — the most by a woman in any genre.

"It's corny when rappers feel like they've made it and they don't have to prove themselves anymore," Minaj told Billboard in 2014. "You should always be trying to show that you're the best."