Onika Tanya Maraj, known professionally as Nicki Minaj, is a Trinidadian-born American rapper, singer and songwriter. She cites Foxy Brown and Jay-Z as major influences. Early in her career, Minaj was known for her colorful costumes and wigs. Her musical popular song style is characterized by the presence of different personalities. The reason behind this has to do with her troublesome family. Minaj formed alter egos growing up to cope with her childhood, as she recalls, "Fantasy was my reality." Her rapping is distinctive for its fast flow and the use of alter egos and accents, primarily British cockney. Regarding her stage name she stated: "Somebody changed my name. One of the first production deals I signed, the guy wanted my name to be Minaj and I fought him tooth and nail. But he convinced me. I've always hated it."