Nicki Minaj Responds to Claims That She’s ‘Lowering Standards’ by Dating Controversial Boyfriend

Nicki Minaj heard the comments people were making about her controversial boyfriend, Kenneth “Zoo” Petty, and she’s pretty upset about them.

In a new episode of her Apple Beats 1 show Queen Radio, the “MEGATRON” rapper sounded off on critics who say she lowered her standards to be with her lesser-known lover, who has a troubled past. Here’s what she had to say.

Nicki Minaj
Nicki Minaj | Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Marc Jacobs

Minaj didn’t take the criticism lightly

In the July 26 episode, the “Monster” rapper defended her boyfriend and insisted that she’s not “lowering standards” by dating him.

“When a person is with a n***a that loved them before they had a dime in their pocket?” the rapper, 36, asked. “How do you not understand that? How do you not understand happiness versus clout?” she continued. “How f****** dare you talk about lowering standards.”

She also insisted that she likes the fact that Petty is not famous. “It’s the truth, money cannot buy me happiness and good sex,” she said.

Inside Minaj and Petty’s romance

Minaj and Petty have been together since at least December 2018 when they made their relationship Instagram-official. However, they’ve known each other since they were teenagers living in Queens. Minaj has even described him as one of her first loves.

“Nicki and Kenneth dated when she was a teenager before she was famous,” a source previously told Us Weekly. “They linked up when she handed out turkeys for Thanksgiving [2018] in her hometown.”

The response came hours after Minaj hinted in a song that she and Petty are engaged and expecting. “He the Clyde to my Bonnie, ’bout to walk down the aisle and be a mommy,” says Minaj on Chance the Rapper’s “Zanies and Fools,” which came out on July 26. “Ooh, I remember when I cried like, ‘Why me?’ / Now I wouldn’t exchange my life for Armani.”

Minaj and Petty are serious

Their relationship is so strong that the pair has already obtained a marriage license.

“I think I have what I was striving for, just happiness,” she said in the June 21 announcement. “It was so hard to get to a happy place. Now that I’m there, I don’t want to compromise that for anyone or anything.”

While Minaj seems to be happy with her boyfriend, fans have an issue with his controversial past. Petty, 40, is a registered sex offender in New York. In 1995, he was convicted of the attempted rape of a 16-year-old girl. He’s also served time in prison for manslaughter. 

When critics brought up his criminal history in December 2018, the “Starships” rapper hastily clapped back. In relation to Petty’s conviction for attempted rape, she wrote, “He was 15, she was 16… in a relationship. But go awf Internet.” She went on, “Y’all can’t run my life. Y’all can’t even run y’all own life. Thank you boo.”

TMZ also reports that Minaj is “confident” that her boyfriend is a changed man. 

With that, it seems obvious that she doesn’t like all the criticism he gets — and, if the past is any indication — she won’t be letting it slide.