To those who think Nicki Minaj has fully immersed herself in pop, think again. Not to discredit the dabbling she's doing in the genre -- take a listen to the second half of "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded" -- but yesterday's free Nicki Minaj concert, sponsored by Pepsi and live streamed by Fuse, was undeniably a rap show, and a well-rounded rap show at that.
Her fans, Barbz and Ken Barbz, filled every pocket of New York's Roseland Ballroom, to experience an unforgettable show Minaj had teased for two months now. The rapstress promised a free show for her fans after a no-show at Hot 97's 19th annual Summer Jam.
On June 3, Nicki pulled out of Summer Jam 2012 after Hot 97's Paul Rosenberg commented on Minaj's "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded" song, "Starships." Both Minaj and Lil Wayne felt that she and her fans were disrespected by the comment and decided to not perform as scheduled.
"I don't have a problem with anyone saying what they have to say to me. But don't make ['Starship' fans] feel inferior in any way for their personal taste in music," she told Hot 97's Funkmaster Flex, days after the incident.
It's safe to assume the Barbz respected Minaj's decision. One of her yet-to-be promoted songs which garnered a notable loud reaction yesterday was one which touched on self-worth and emotional honesty. "Take me or leave me/ I'll never be perfect/ Believe me, I'm worth it," Minaj sings on "Marilyn Monroe" wich fans sung along to while Minaj ran back for a quick ensemble change. "Call it a curse/ Or just call me blessed/ If you can't handle my worst/ You ain't getting my best."
She showcased all the sides of her personality by dividing her set into parts that catered to each: the mainstream rapper ("Roman's Revenge," "Beez in the Trap" "Did It On 'Em"), the cross-over artist ("Starships, "Pound the Alarm"), the mixtape rapper ("Roger That," "I Get Crazy"), and feature killer ( Birdman's "Born Stunna" remix, Trey Songz' "Bottoms Up," Ludacris' "My Chick Bad"). But the highlight of the night was the display of Minaj's continuous presence in the rap realm and the loyalty to her Barbz.
After bringing out Cam'Ron for "I Am Your Leader" and Foxy Brown, on of her " biggest that influences in the game," Minaj dived into her "Beam Me Up Scotty" mixtape. "Remember this hair? This is giving me 'performing in clubs with 200 people' steez right now," Minaj said, rocking a long, straight, black-colored wig reminiscent to the days she first stepped into the scene. "This when my ni**as used to drive for hours for a show for $1,500 dollars. But that was all good, all love."
Before closing the show with her Hot 100 hit "Super Bass," Minaj brought the show to a close with family. Drake came out for a Minaj-assisted "Up All Night" and "Make Me Proud," and a playful, flirtatious exchange with "the Queen," as he called her. "We can never go there. What we got is too special," she joked with him.
Not one full second after Minaj rhymed her verse from DJ Khaled's "Take It to the Head," Lil Wayne joined the Young Money MVPs on stage. Weezy spit his own verse, transitioned into Drake's "The Motto," then freestyled a rumored new verse from his upcoming mixtape, "Dedication 4."
"I ain't got no wories. I ain't got no worries. We ain't got no worries," Wayne rhymed with a huge grin, before dropping the mic and walking off stage.