Nicki Minaj is one of the most influential rappers, singers, and songwriters of our generation. With endless awards and hit songs, teachers from around the world can use Nicki’s music in their classroom to great effect.
Below is a sample lesson plan that uses all of Nicki Minaj’s amazing talents, and engages students in new and exciting ways.
Lesson Plan – The Music of Nicki Minaj
- To introduce students to the life and music of Nicki Minaj, a prominent rapper, singer, and songwriter.
- To explore the impact of Nicki Minaj’s music on popular culture and the music industry.
- To analyze the artistic style and lyrical themes in Nicki Minaj’s songs.
- Access to the internet and a computer or laptop.
- Note-taking materials (paper and pens/pencils).
- Selected songs by Nicki Minaj for listening activities.
- Worksheet for lyric analysis (optional).
- Poster or visuals of Nicki Minaj (optional).
1. Introduction (5 minutes)
- Begin the lesson by asking students if they have heard of Nicki Minaj. Encourage a brief discussion on what they know about her.
- Share some background information about Nicki Minaj, including her real name (Onika Tanya Maraj) and her rise to fame in the music industry.
2. Biography and Early Life (10 minutes)
- Provide a brief biography of Nicki Minaj, including her upbringing and early career.
- Highlight important milestones in her life and mention her influences and inspirations.
- Share any notable achievements or awards she has received.
3. Musical Style and Impact (15 minutes)
- Discuss Nicki Minaj’s unique musical style, incorporating elements of rap, pop, and R&B.
- Explain how she has influenced and contributed to the music industry, particularly in terms of female empowerment and breaking barriers.
- Play selected songs by Nicki Minaj, analyzing their sound, lyrics, and overall message.
- Encourage students to discuss their thoughts on Nicki Minaj’s impact on popular culture.
4. Lyrical Analysis (15 minutes)
- Optionally, provide a worksheet with selected song lyrics by Nicki Minaj for closer analysis.
- Divide the students into small groups and assign each group a different set of lyrics to analyze.
- Instruct students to identify and discuss recurring themes, metaphors, wordplay, and any social or personal messages conveyed in the lyrics.
- Allow each group to share their findings with the class.
5. Reflection and Discussion (10 minutes)
- Lead a class discussion on the overall impression of Nicki Minaj’s music and her significance in the industry.
- Prompt students to voice their opinions on the positive and negative aspects of her music, considering its cultural impact and lyrical content.
- Encourage respectful and open-minded discussion, allowing students to express varying perspectives.
6. Conclusion (5 minutes)
- Summarize the key points discussed in the lesson, emphasizing Nicki Minaj’s influence on popular music and cultural representation.
- Conclude with a question, asking the students if they feel inspired or motivated by Nicki Minaj’s artistry and career.
- Evaluate student comprehension through active participation in class discussions.
- Assess their understanding of Nicki Minaj’s music by reviewing completed worksheets (if used) and gauging their ability to analyze lyrical content.
- As a follow-up activity, assign students to research and write a short essay or create a presentation on an artist who has been influenced by Nicki Minaj or an artist she influenced.
- Alternatively, students can choose to analyze another song by Nicki Minaj of their choice and write a critical response or create a visual representation showcasing their interpretation of the lyrics.
Remember, each student may have different opinions and perspectives on Nicki Minaj’s music. Encourage respectful dialogue and celebrate diversity of thought within the classroom.
About Nicki Minaj:
Nicki Minaj developed a passion for music at a young age. Growing up in Queens, New York, she was exposed to a diverse range of musical genres, including reggae, hip hop, and R&B. These early influences shaped her unique style and lyrical abilities, setting her apart from other artists in the industry.
After honing her skills as a rapper and performer, Nicki Minaj gained recognition through a series of mixtapes, which showcased her versatility and captivating stage presence. Her talent caught the attention of prominent figures in the industry, including rapper Lil Wayne, who signed her to his record label, Young Money Entertainment, in 2009.
In 2010, Nicki Minaj released her debut album, “Pink Friday,” which received critical acclaim and commercial success. The album included hit singles such as “Super Bass” and “Moment 4 Life,” catapulting her into mainstream fame. Her distinctive flow, playful yet bold lyrics, and charismatic persona resonated with audiences worldwide, establishing her as a force to be reckoned with in the music scene.
Throughout her career, Nicki Minaj has collaborated with renowned artists such as Beyoncé, Drake, and Ariana Grande, further solidifying her influence and widespread appeal. Her discography includes multiple chart-topping albums, including “The Pinkprint” (2014) and “Queen” (2018), showcasing her ability to experiment with various musical styles while maintaining her signature sound.
Beyond her musical accomplishments, Nicki Minaj has also made significant contributions to pop culture and philanthropy. She has been recognized for her outspokenness and advocacy for female empowerment, addressing social issues and challenging stereotypes through her music and public persona. She has used her platform to support various charitable causes, including education and hurricane relief efforts in her native Trinidad and Tobago.
Nicki Minaj’s impact on the music industry is undeniable. Her remarkable success as a rapper, singer, and songwriter has paved the way for future generations of female artists, inspiring them to embrace their individuality and break barriers. Through her exceptional talent, Nicki Minaj has left an indelible mark on popular music, solidifying her legacy as one of the most influential and iconic figures in contemporary music.