One of female rap’s most prominent figureheads, Nicki Minaj has made history time and time again as a talented lyricist, innovative musician and fashion risk-taker. The “Queen of Rap” has sold over 100 million records worldwide and has twelve Grammy nominations, amongst countless other accolades.
Though she’s a global phenomenon with a career that’s spanned nearly two decades, her one true goal has always been to raise a family eventually, and she’s finally in her mom-and-wife era. Minaj and her husband Kenneth Petty got married in 2019, though critics and fans alike certainly haven’t been silent about their disdain for the rapper’s husband. So who is Nicki Minaj’s husband? Let’s learn everything there is to know about the couple and why he remains plagued by his past.
Who Is Nicki Minaj’s Husband?
Also known as “Zoo Bang,” not much is known about the music executive outside of his relationship with the famed rapper. Petty and Minaj soft-launched their relationship in December 2018 with an Instagram slideshow cleverly captioned, “He want me to be his wife – his MISSIS like SIPPI NOW.” By June 2019, they had already obtained their marriage license. Although his position as a music executive means he tends to play behind the scenes in the entertainment industry, Kenneth has made a few appearances in some of his wife’s most popular music videos including “Megatron” and her cameo verse on Meghan Thee Stallion’s “Hot Girl Summer”.
Very little is known about their wedding, as Minaj opted for a more private ceremony. She confirmed their marriage with an Instagram post captioned, “Onika Tanya Maraj-Petty 10*21*19,” revealing a hyphenated last name.
They’re bound by ink, as Petty dons a pretty massive “Onika” tattoo on his neck, Minaj’s legal name. She was certainly flattered by the bold expression of love, sharing on Instagram, “Did ya tat hurt zaddy? His first tat – frontin like it didn’t sting #Onika #HeavyOnIt.”
They Met As Teenagers
There’s nothing like reconnecting with a long-lost love, and that’s exactly what the foundation of their story is. Minaj and Petty attended LaGuardia High School in New York City together when they were teenagers living in Queens, dating briefly before losing touch and reconnecting in 2018. The two originally began dating when Nicki was 16 years old, but have been longtime friends before then.
Minaj added in a tweet that “He won’t even say the word ‘Nicki.’ He has called me Onika since I was 15 so it’s hard to change that.” She went on to add that “I wouldn’t date anyone cuz I’m about to be married to my soulmate. But that was the problem, others r infatuated w/ Nicki Minaj he DGAF abut this industry & is very protective.” Although they briefly lost touch, the two were eventually reunited. The rapper spoke to their reunion on Chance the Rapper’s “Zanies and Fools,” spitting, “I met my husband when I was 17 out in Queens / If you love it, let it go, now I know what that means / While he was up North for a body / I bodied everybody and got known for my body.”
She also took to Twitter to share more insight into their young love. In January 2019, she wrote, “We were like this about each other since we were very young kids in the hood. He was on my body before the big ol’ ghetto booty. Before the fame and fortune. Fought my boyfriend cuz I wouldn’t be his girl. He was always a lil brazy. But anyway, timing is everything.”
The stars most certainly aligned for the rekindled lovers since they soon became parents not too long after they wed. Minaj confirmed she was expecting her first child with Petty in July 2020, captioning “#Preggers” on an Instagram photo of her cradling her baby bump. While they have yet to reveal the legal name of their son, he’s affectionately known as Papa Bear and has become the star of Minaj’s feed. While Papa Bear is Minaj’s first child, reports imply that Kenneth has five other children from previous relationships with claims that he takes an active role as a father for all of them.
“I think motherhood has made me see more good in people, more good in the universe. It makes you more of a forgiving person,” she opened up to host James Corden on “The Late Late Show” in February 2022. “When I look at my son, I’m reminded that I am so blessed. I realized, for so many women, this is their dream. Their dream is to have a child and not everybody gets that blessing. So when you have a little baby, you are reminded every day like, ‘Oh my God. Thank you, God, for this little gift.'”
He’s No Stranger To Legal Trouble
When it comes to Petty’s history, it certainly isn’t clean. He became a registered sex offender after being convicted of attempted rape in the first degree. The incident took place in April 1995 for an assault of a then-16-year-old girl. He served four years for the crime in a New York State prison. This information flew under the radar until Petty and Minaj publicly announced their pending nuptials in 2018.
Unfortunately, this wouldn’t be the only time Kenneth Petty would find himself on the wrong side of the law. In 2019, he had a brush with the LAPD during a traffic stop in Los Angeles. While it was a routine stop, when the officers ran his license, they found that Petty had failed to register as a sex offender in the state of California—a requirement of his sentence. He was later arrested and pled not guilty and posted $100,000 bail, though he was eventually sentenced to a year of house arrest and three years of probation in July 2022. Other requirements of this ruling included not being able to leave Southern California as well as a full prohibition on drug use which included marijuana which is legal as a recreational use drug in the state.
Petty later switched his plea to guilty as part of a plea agreement. He was later sentenced on July 6, 2022 and given three years probation and one year of home confinement. Additionally, he was required to pay a $55,000 fine. Petty also pled guilty to manslaughter in the first degree for killing a man named Lamont Robinson in 2002. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison but was released after serving seven in 2013. The incidents are as recent as September 2023, when Petty took to social media to threaten Cardi B’s husband, Offset, and was then sentenced to 120 days of house arrest.
Minaj Continues To Defend Him
Minaj has been quick to come to the defense of her husband. Regarding his rape allegations, she commented, “He was 15, she was 16 … in a relationship. But go awf Internet. Y’all can’t run my life. Y’all can’t even run y’all own life. Thank you boo.” On a Queen Radio broadcast, she also shared, “I didn’t know that in our society, you have to be plagued by your past. I didn’t know that people can’t turn over a new leaf.”
Though she has pled for public mercy on Petty, Minaj has found herself in legal trouble regarding her husband’s past, too. His alleged rape victim, Jennifer Hough, filed a harassment lawsuit against the rapper and her husband, claiming they’ve used their money, power and fame to threaten her into walking back her rape accusations. She claimed Minaj called her personally and offered her $20,000 to sign a prepared statement that recanted her accusations. The suit against Minaj was later dropped, though Petty’s is still ongoing.