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Who is the new man in Nicki Minaj's life?

Nicki Minaj celebrated her 36th birthday over the

Nicki Minaj celebrated her 36th birthday over the weekend. Credit: Getty Images / Jacopo Raule

Is rap star Nicki Minaj back in a relationship?

Speculation arose after Minaj, who celebrated her 36th birthday Saturday, posted an Instagram photo late Sunday of herself with what many outlets identified as a minor rapper named Kenneth Petty, who as Kenny Petty has posted three songs on SoundCloud over the past two years. The two embrace each other, with Petty holding onto Minaj’s raised leg bent at the knee. A second photo shows Petty in different attire, alone in a room.

The accompanying caption reads, "Did you ever make it out of that town where nothing ever happens?... it's no secret ... that the both of us ... are running out of time … ” The words are a close quoting of lyrics to singer Adele's "Hello," which uses the past-tense word "happened."

Minaj's obscure post prompted fans to search Petty's background. An online sex-offender registry shows a man named Kenneth Petty, 40, highly resembling the one in the photos, who was arrested by New York City police and convicted on April 5, 1995, of the attempted rape of a 16-year-old female. He was sentenced to 18 to 54 months in state prison. The registry gave no date of release.

Neither Minaj's manager nor her record-company representative responded to Newsday requests for comment.

Ten-time Grammy Award nominee Minaj previously was in a long relationship with rapper-producer Safaree Samuels that ended in late 2014. She later dated rapper Meek Mill, who in December 2014 was released from prison after having been incarcerated since July on a probation violation. Mill was again incarcerated on probation violations in December 2017, and was released on bail in April. He appealed for a new trial but a judge denied his petition in June.

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