Nicki Minaj pulls out of gig after host insults her single [Updated]
At best, it's counterintuitive to insult your headliner right before he or she takes the stage, and probably just not a good idea. Especially if it's Nicki Minaj.
The pink-haired rapper was set to headline Hot 97′s Summer Jam festival in East Rutherford, N.J., on Sunday but pulled out shortly before her set. Minaj nixed her performance at the festival, one of only a few annual hip-hop events of its size, following disparaging remarks from Hot 97 personality Peter Rosenberg, who also hosts MTV's "Hip-Hop Squares."
Rosenberg, obviously not a fan of Minaj's club-friendly, RedOne-produced jingle, "Starships," told the crowd that the radio station was “all about that real hip-hop.”
Hot 97's Funkmaster Flex agreed with Rosenberg and said, "We don't ... with commercial artists no more. We don't give a ... if you commercial or pop and you afraid to touch down in Jersey."
That didn't sit well with Minaj -- nor with her label head, Lil Wayne. The attack prompted him to pull the plug on all his Young Money artists who were at Summer Jam.
"Young Money ain't doing summer jam," he tweeted.
Minaj confirmed the snub on her Twitter feed, telling the station staff they messed up "history" (she just wasn't as nice about it). "The President has spoken," she wrote. "I go above and beyond for my fans. But won't ever go against wayne's word. What he says, goes."
Twitter buzzed about the decision, with Minaj retweeting supporters who blasted the station -- mostly for making the decision to book her and then "disrespect" her on stage. A great number of her fans, whom she affectionately calls her Barbz, tweeted to the rapper that they too would exit the stadium. Minaj said she was especially peeved that Rosenberg, who has christened himself the "Jewish Johnny Carson" and works for a black radio station, would diss a black woman.
Wayne's decision also kept DJ Khaled and Busta Rhymes, who recently inked a deal with Wayne, from the stage. Nas filled in for Minaj and surprised the crowd with Ms. Lauryn Hill.
[Updated, 6:19 p.m. June 3: Minaj called into Hot 97 personality Funkmaster Flex show on Monday night where the two engaged into a heated, and uncensored, argument about Sunday’s event.
The rapper called Flex and Hot 97 staff out for what happened, and Flex argued she should have performed, but agreed that Rosenberg picked the wrong time, but stressed it was his opinion.
“What happened was this, my fans didn’t appreciate his comments. This is streaming to the world. Nicki Minaj opened that stream to kids in London … it was hosted on my website. Those requests came from your station,” she yelled.
“It's not about his opinion. I have opinions about Hot 97 and DJs and Hot 97. But I wouldn’t come on your stage or even say something to my fans negative about Hot 97. I’m a grown … woman, everyone is grown enough to keep their opinions of themselves,” she continued. “I travel all over the world and people come to have a good time, not to have their favorite artist ridiculed. When you disrespect Nicki Minaj … you’re disrespecting my fans. Don’t make those 3 million people who downloaded ‘Starships’ or whatever feel inferior for their tastes. When you invite someone to their home, you treat them with respect.”
“No one would have known I had a problem with this. im not a quitter, I don’t back down from anything. But Wayne gave me a valuable lesson on knowning my worth,” she later said, the two continuing to shout at one another. “After a man goes onstage and disrespcts me and try to rile people up, I still was going on that stage and you know what shame on me. Lil Wayne gave me a valuable lesson in self worth.”
The two went back and forth, argued about sexism in hip-hop and Minaj stressed that her team tried to resolve the matter for hours, to no avail.]
On Monday, Rosenberg made no apologies for what he said. "Last night I said nothing different than I have ever said," he tweeted. "It was not a personal dis [sic]. It was starships is [expletive]. WHICH WE ALL KNOW IS TRUE."
Fans can still catch Minaj this summer as the rapper embarks on her first headlining tour.
-- Gerrick D. Kennedy
Photo: Nicki Minaj performs during the Grammy Awards at Staples Center on Feb. 12. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times