As Nicki Minaj put it on The Ellen Degeneres Show, “[Nas] is the king of Queens, and I like to think I’m the queen of Queens.” Over the course of the past year or so, the pair of talented celebrities have been romantically linked to each other, but their relationship runs much deeper than that.
Both hip-hop superstars have had their fair share of high-profile significant others throughout their career, and have since done their best to keep their relationship out of the limelight — besides a few celebratory Instagram photos, public appearances and PDA moments. According to TMZ, the A-list couple recently decided to amicably call it quits, much to the dismay of their die-hard fanbases.
Starting with Nas‘ appearance on Nicki’s sophomore album in 2012, to appearing in the affectionate “Right By My Side” music video together, Billboard attempts to connect the dots with a timeline of their friendship spanning the decade, while decoding the complex dynamic between the pair of talented artists.
April 2012: Nas is featured on “Champion” off Nicki’s Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded
Minaj detailed the difficulty in securing a feature from the fellow Queens emcee on the T-Minus-produced record to Vibe in 2012, explaining, “[Nas] always been so exclusive. [Nas] doesn’t work with everybody and I respect people that are like that. They take pride in their craft. I keep saying to be from Queens and to end up having him… We know how picky [Nas] is [for features]. He said ‘I like the song, I’ma do it, you can wait ’til Monday and I got you,’ and he kept his word. He murked it — for me to wait for a feature and it be that and murk the song and finish the song that way… I was amazed.”
May 2012: Nas Gets Romantic With Nicki for “Right by My Side” Video
The second single off of Nicki’s sophomore offering, “Right By My Side” saw Nas playing the role of Nicki’s boyfriend in the Benny Boom-directed visual for her Chris Brown collab. The two get romantic in the clip, even sharing a kiss toward the end. With obvious chemistry exuded between the two, much of the public wondered if something more was on the horizon. Even though those allegations were quickly shut down, it would be a sign of things to come later.
May 2017: Nicki Joins Nas For Dinner At His New Sweet Chick Restaurant
The queen of rap sent the internet into a frenzy after posting a photo to Instagram hanging out with the 44-year-old at a NYC restaurant that he has an ownership stake in. Nasty Nas ended up reposting the intimate photo with Nicki, fueling dating rumors once again all these years later. This would only be the beginning for the couple in 2017.
May 2017: Nicki Appears as a Guest On The Ellen Degeneres Show
Nasir Jones’ name came up pretty quickly in the conversation during her 2017 appearance on Ellen, as the host is a big fan of the rapper. Nicki went on to say she was celibate, but confirmed the pair had sleepovers in the past and admitted, “I might make an exception to the rule for him, because he’s so dope.” Minaj clarified that they did not do “the nasty,” and she’s “just chilling right now.”
Sept. 2017: Nicki Minaj Joins Nas at His Secret 44th Birthday Celebration
After months of speculation, Minaj showed up as a guest to Nas‘ birthday party at NYC’s The Pool Lounge. The two definitely enjoyed each other’s company, as several clips went viral, including one where the “If I Ruled The World” artist was kissing all over Nicki’s face. They later posed for a couples picture together with friends Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys.
— Vibe Magazine (@VibeMagazine) December 9, 2017
That liquor kicked in and Nas treated Nicki like a glazed donut. Legend. pic.twitter.com/wu3mBo9XJk
— ronald isley (@yoyotrav) September 14, 2017
Dec. 2017: Nas Crowns Nicki Minaj “The Queen of New York” In Birthday Post
The Queens native gave Minaj a special birthday shout-out on Instagram with a photo of her sitting on a throne captioned, “Queens Get The MFkN Money! Happy Birthday To The QUEEN OF NY / HIP HOP @nickiminaj.” Nicki hasn’t been shy in the past to crown herself as such on her own tracks
Jan. 2018 – Nas & Nicki Minaj Allegedly Break Off Relationship
Reports began to circulate that Nicki and Nas decided to call it quits in the new year. TMZ first reported the couple broke up a few weeks before 2017 ended. The article claimed that the relationship became strained due to Nicki living in Miami and Nas being on the other side of the country in Los Angeles. The report also rebuffed pregnancy rumors, and stated the former couple “won’t be hanging out as friends” after their amicable parting of ways.