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Nicki Minaj Pre-Fame Video: Rapper Shines, Even Without Wigs and Makeup

Larry Busacca, Getty Images

It turns out Nicki Minaj wasn’t always a wig-wearing, levitating, hip-hop Barbie doll. Back in the day, she was a streetwise rapper who rocked hoodies, hoop earrings and little or no makeup. Proof of this has surfaced in the form of a newly unearthed video making the Internet rounds. Shot circa 2007, when Minaj was signed to the Dirty Money label, the clip shows the MC stomping all over her home borough of Queens, spitting first over an old Terror Squad beat and then kicking an a cappella freestyle.

While the wardrobe is less than glamorous, Minaj shows signs of what’s to come.

“I’m stunting these h–s like Marilyn Monroe,” she raps in the freestyle segment. “I got an S-curl flow, spit-slick, you know?”

Usually, these types of “before they were famous” videos are pretty painful, but the ‘Roman Holiday’ creator clearly had something. She hadn’t quite honed her over-the-top persona, but she was plenty headstrong, declaring herself “the hood’s first lady,” “a caramel dream/ your girl from Queens.”

“They say I’m to pretty to be spitting 16 [bars],” she raps. “I should be on the screen, posing for Maybelline.”

In fact, she now endorses MAC Cosmetics, so she wasn’t far off.

Watch Nicki Minaj’s ‘Dirty Money’ Video

Watch Nicki Minaj and David Guetta’s ‘Turn Me On’

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