Top Artists of 2011 - Way Before The Fame

Nicki Minaj Today: Minaj (born Onika Tanya Maraj) was once just a simple high school girl in Queens NYC like so many others, long before she was named Billboard’s Rising Star of 2011 and was number 7 on their list of top artists in 2011. Minaj was also the first artist to have 7 singles on the Billboard Top 100 chart at the same time. In addition to her musical success, the flamboyant singer flaunted her acting chops on Saturday Night Live. Perhaps more TV or movies are in her future for 2012. View the entire gallery at Second photo by Kevin Winter/DCNYRE2012/Getty Images for DCP

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2011 was a great year for music, with new and old favorites leading the charge to the top of the Billboard charts. From fresh-faced ingénues to comeback kids to dance floor superstars, the hits just kept coming. Take a look back and see if you can name these award-winning and top-charting musicians before they were famous that our friends at dug up. Seems they all had star power long before they ruled the airwaves in 2011.

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