Category: Nicki Minaj

Taylor Swift's final Staples show gets boost from Nicki Minaj

Taylor

Taylor Swift had to miss the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday since she was across the street playing the last of a string of sold-out shows at the Staples Center. But the young country queen used the influx of superstars who were in town for the big show to pull off an unlikely duet.

The singer enlisted Nicki Minaj to show up for a spin of the rapper's crossover hit, "Super Bass." Just before the duet, Minaj was awarded the VMA for best hip-hop video for the single, which peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 100 chart.

Swift has never shied away from her love for Minaj, and has even done an impromptu cover of the song herself. The audience, already in a fit of screams when the singer started rapping, turned up the octaves of shrills when Minaj in a gloriously multi-hued ensemble emerged from underneath the stage to join Swift.

Could a duet or remix be in the cards for the pair? Check out the performance after the jump:

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Nicki Minaj upstages herself: Tight raps and a wardrobe malfunction [Updated]

Nicki Minaj reveals more than expected on 'GMA'

Nicki Minaj took the stage early Friday in New York's Central Park for "Good Morning America’s" summer concert series and grabbed attention not only for her punchy mini-concert but for a  wardrobe malfunction.  Her punchy mini-concert included her verses to Britney Spears' “Till the World Ends,” David Guetta's new single, "Where Them Girls At” and her own hits “Moment 4 Life” and “Super Bass,” but the rapper's performance couldn't upstage the nipple slip.

Looking as animated as ever in a blond wig, plastic tutu, pink jacket and colorful leggings, the rapper popped out of her bright green top during "Where Them Girls At." Of course she caught it but not quickly enough for the East Coast not to get a glimpse before it was digitally blocked and for photographers to snap a ton of pics. The nipple even became its own trending topic shortly thereafter.

Unfazed by the incident, the show went on without a hitch.

[Updated, 11:30 a.m., Aug. 05: ABC is offering an apology in case any viewers were offended by the accident, and said they won't be posting video of any portion of the performance on the website for "Good Morning America." Minaj's official website has a streaming video of part of the performance.

"Although we had a five-second delay in place for the Nicki Minaj concert on 'GMA,' the live East Coast feed of the concert regrettably included certain fleeting images of the performer that were taken out of later feeds of the broadcast in other time zones.  We are sorry that this occurred," read a statement from the network.]

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Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Bruno Mars, Carrie Underwood, Sting tapped for iHeartRadio Music Festival

Billed as "the biggest live music event in radio history," the two-day festival, set for the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in September, also features Alicia Keys, Nicki Minaj and Kelly Clarkson.

Iheartradio

Though summer has already had its fair share of big-ticket, multiday festivals, Clear Channel is kicking off fall with what it's billing as "the biggest live music event in radio history."

The radio conglomerate on Monday announced the lineup for the inaugural iHeartRadio Music Festival, and the roster for the two-day festival, set for Sept. 23 and 24 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, is quite the who’s who among Top 40.

Night 1 features performances by Coldplay, Alicia Keys, the Black Eyed Peas, John Mayer, Carrie Underwood, Bruno Mars and Jane's Addiction. While Night 2 has Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler, Kenny Chesney, Nicki Minaj, Rascal Flatts, Kelly Clarkson, David Guetta, Sublime with Rome and special guest performances by Sting and Usher.

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Nicki Minaj on touring with Britney Spears, wardrobe malfunctions and finding her comfort zone

NICKI_!

When Nicki Minaj emerged from a glowing teleporter center stage at Staples Center on Monday night, to the opening hums of her ferocious track “Roman’s Revenge,” she showed her latest ambition: to be a stadium-packing touring act.

It’s the only explanation as to why the rapper, who is hip-hop's reigning it girl, would return a second time in as many months after supporting Lil Wayne on his I Am Still Music tour. For fans who saw that quick set in April, it was apparent she was moving herself into the arena touring landscape where female rappers haven’t been a presence in recent years.

Her music ranges from hardcore to pop friendly, so it's not surprising that her second trek in a year shows her supporting pop royalty Britney Spears on her Femme Fatale tour. Spears was the main dish, of course, but there was a moment at Staples when Minaj ruled the stage with razor-sharp bangs and body-hugging attire on full display.

While she played the true team player role while on the road with Wayne (he likes to bring out his Young Money family during his set), with Spears, she proved to be a serious live player with elaborate staging, a theatrical story line, choreography and costume changes.

Pop & Hiss caught up with Minaj ahead of her stop in Anaheim on Friday for a conversation about the tour so far, wardrobe malfunctions and why she isn’t 100% comfortable onstage.

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Tickets for Britney Spears' Southern California tour stops go on sale Saturday

Britney Spears Britney Spears’ Femme Fatale Tour will reach Southern California with stops June 20 at Staples Center in Los Angeles and June 24 at Honda Center in Anaheim, with tickets for both going on sale Saturday.

Sales will begin at 10 a.m. on the Ticketmaster and Live Nation websites.

Spears is joined on the tour, which opens June 16 in Sacramento, by Nicki Minaj, Jessie and the Toy Boys and Nervo. 

Her new “Femme Fatale” album entered the national sales chart earlier this month at No. 1 with first-week sales of 276,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, making it her sixth to top the chart.

RELATED:

Album review: Britney Spears' 'Femme Fatale'

-- Randy Lewis

Photo: Britney Spears tapes a "Good Morning America" appearance earlier this year. Credit: Max Morse / Getty Images

Nicki Minaj confirms talks to join Britney Spears' tour

Nicki_Britney_tour

Britney Spears' upcoming tour may be getting a dose of Nicki Minaj.

The hip-hop sensation, whose penchant for assorted alter egos and wacky hair made her rap's new it-girl, confirmed she is in talks to join Spears' summer tour when it kicks off June 17 in Sacramento.

Billboard spilled the beans last week that the femcee was being courted by Spears, but nothing was set. On Thursday, MTV News chatted with Minaj before a New York performance where she further teased the possibility of opening for the pop diva.

"I am in talks of joining Britney Spears, yeah," she said in one of her many alters -- this one being a Britsh vixen named Martha. "I'm in talks about a lot of things, ya know. I don't know -- oops, I did it again."

Spears' trek got off to a shaky start. Literally hours after she announced Enrique Iglesias was tapped to hit the road with her, he pulled out of the tour. Reports pointed to Iglesias being unhappy that he'd be opening for Spears instead of co-headlining -- the singer is already heading his own jaunt.

“Hey guys, sorry for the confusion regarding a possible tour in the summer with Britney Spears,” he wrote on his blog. “We are on the Euphoria Tour and will continue to do so including some soon-to-be-announced dates in US. So hope to see all of you soon.”

Minaj is currently on the road supporting Lil Wayne on his "I Am Still Music" tour.

RELATED:

Nicki Minaj red-hot as 'Pink Friday' lands

Britney Spears announces tour with Enrique Iglesias, then Enrique Iglesias drops out of Britney Spears tour [video]

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy
Twitter.com / gerrickkennedy

Photo: (Left) Britney Spears performs in San Francisco on March 27, 2011, for a taped "Good Morning America" segment that aired March 29, 2011. Credit: Tony Avelar / Associated Press.

(Right) Nicki Minaj performs during the 'I Am Still Music' Tour at the Wells Fargo Center on March 26, 2011 in Philadelphia. Credit: Jeff Fusco / Getty Images

Nicki Minaj's 'Pink Friday' delivers on its expectations

NICKIIII If there was any doubt that Nicki Minaj was the “it” girl of hip-hop, the Queens emcee wiped it away.

After going head to head with Kanye West when delivering her highly anticipated debut album on last week’s very crowded pre-Thanksgiving record release day, Minaj scored the No. 2 spot.

Minaj's “Pink Friday” sold 375,000 copies of the disc, behind West, who took the top spot after selling 496,000 of “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” according to Nielsen Soundscan.

With few female emcees on the charts, Minaj (who was recently profiled in The Times) has been hailed as a kind of savior with pop crossover potential. In the last half-decade, rappers such as Foxy Brown, Eve, Lil' Kim and Missy Elliott have been out of the spotlight, and with Lauryn Hill only vaguely on the scene, the absence of a powerful female voice has been notable.

The strong debut of “Pink Friday” is just another feat for Minaj. The last female emcee to push  first-week numbers like those was Elliott, whose 2002 album "Under Construction" sold 259,000 copies its first week out.

The rapper is no stranger to making chart history after her Annie Lennox-sampling single, "Your Love," became the first female hip-hop No. 1 to hit Billboard's rap singles chart since Elliott's "Work It" in 2002. She's also the female rapper with the most chart entries in one year on Billboard's 100 — she's had eight so far.

When we spoke with her earlier this year, the expectations for the album’s release weighed heavily on her mind.

“I think about the pressure to deliver, but it actually motivates me more than anything. I use that in a positive way,” she said about the attention placed on the disc. “Sometimes it’s a little scary. It’s funny, I’d rather people have low expectations of me than super-high expectations because then I just live my life like I want to exceed everyone’s expectations, so if you set them extremely high I feel like I have way more to do. Way more to prove.”

What Minaj’s big debut will mean for the future of female rap is uncertain -- especially as her would-be peers including Lil’ Kim definitely aren’t welcoming her with open arms (Kim released a diss track last week mocking Minaj, titled “Black Friday”) and fans continue to anticipate long-rumored returns from Elliott, Hill and Kim.

But despite all the naysayers, rapper Talib Kweli says Minaj isn't getting enough credit for what she is adding to hip-hop.

“Say what you want about her being a Barbie or whatever. But there are no artists out there who have elevated the level of the 16 bars to where she has it right now," Kweli said. She brags on one of her records that she’s never been on a record that didn’t make Billboard charts, and that’s not a fluke, because when Nicki goes on a record, whether it’s ‘Monster’ by Kanye West or ‘Bottoms Up’ by Trey Songz, she creates characters, changing her voice, doing inflections, doing everything emcees should be doing.

“Some people see all the pop and the marketing and it turns them off, but they don’t realize that the reason these artists are where they are is because they pay attention to the craft.”

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy
twitter.com/gerrickkennedy

Photo: Nicki Minaj poses at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles in September. Credit: Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

Album review: Nicki Minaj's 'Pink Friday'

Nickiminaj On her breakout slow jam “Your Love,” Nicki Minaj raps, almost as if she’s speaking to herself, “Anyway, I think I met him in the sky. When I was a geisha, he was a samurai / Somehow I understood him when he spoke Thai.” It’s just another fantasy clattering around the head of this Queens-bred imagineer of urban music whose sense of identity is so whimsically schizoid that she makes Lady Gaga seem as fixed as Barbara Bush.

Switching accents, hair colors and musical styles, Minaj has absorbed a little something from most every bombastic female in the last 30 years of pop on her debut album, “Pink Friday.” Remember the Spice Girls and all their manufactured personas? Minaj rifles through all of them at warp speed — and it’s that very quality that makes her an electrifying talent and at risk for permanent disassociation from herself.

When she lands on a style, Minaj stays committed to it for the course of the song, even when it sounds awkward. The dis track, “Roman’s Revenge,” finds Minaj huffing and puffing with a hoary-sounding Eminem, slinging insults over a stagnant club-tech track. “Did It on ’Em” is aggressively scatological but with “A Milli” producer Bangladesh onboard, it at least fares better musically.

The fact that those songs are front-loaded on “Pink Friday” suggests that the lone female MC of Lil Wayne’s Young Money crew wants to keep credit with the crowd that followed her mix tapes but the tracks lack free-wheeling energy. They feel premeditated and, at worst, as mere pandering to a male demographic. It might be a failure of the format as much as Minaj’s — the most exciting rap and hip-hop isn’t captured in the smothering confines of the album; it’s in the tossed-off mix tape, the ultimate underground pass-around.

Even though her roots are elsewhere, Minaj sounds better on the “Pink Friday” tracks that are more squarely in the club R&B vein, which she almost always spikes with enough rap to remind anyone that she isn’t another Beyonce or even Sasha Fierce, not by any stretch. “Fly” makes good work out of its Rihanna cameo — while the dark glamour bird soars, Minaj skitters around her with her vulnerable but choppy rhymes, equal parts tough woman and big softie.

“Pink Friday” shows Minaj is on the cusp — considering her facility with accents, she could be the perfect person to find a new patois, one that’s built of separate musical languages but without breaking any of them down. Or she could get caught in the net, punished by the relentless category police or her own doubt of how far she can roam. But one thing is for certain: she’s got the fight and the imagination on her side — and a good neon wig never hurt a girl either.

--Margaret Wappler

Nicki Minaj
“Pink Friday”
Cash Money
Three stars

Nicki Minaj's 'Pink Friday': Super-savvy or super-lame?

Nickiminaj400
In the last few days, pop fans in the media have occasionally stepped away from the frenzy surrounding Kanye's new album and made note of the imminent release of another crucial album of 2010: "Pink Friday," the debut long-player from mixtape empress and guest rapper extraordinaire Nicki Minaj.

Maybe it's inevitable, but a backlash against this fresh female artist has begun, primarily caused by her decision to include several R&B-style tracks -- structured around Minaj's very Latin freestyle-influenced and often computer-manipulated singing -- to offset the harder, Eminem-style flow on monsters such as  "Roman's Revenge."

I appreciate the argument made by writers such as Judy Berman in Flavorwire -- that women rappers are so generally unmarketable that even this extraordinary one has to soften herself up and croon to please her label and, ostensibly, her ever-growing public. But I disagree that Minaj's embrace of softer, more romantic -- and more melodic -- material is weakening her tea.

Minaj caught everybody's eye with her costume drama: Like Lady Gaga, to whom she's been compared, she is an intelligent manipulator of the visual, using wild costumes to present herself in ways that challenge the conventional images of female rappers as either strict sex kittens or hardy homegirls. But this daughter of Queens, the most culturally diverse neighborhood in America, obviously spent her youth listening to all those accents on the subway. She takes the art of the fluid self into new territory by cultivating multiple vocal personalities, making her not just another fashion plate but a true spokeswoman for the split and shattered female self.

With several alter egos helping her define her rhyming style, from the nastily aggressive Roman Zolanski to the coquettish (but never dumb) Barbie, Minaj has not just set herself up to be a necessarily versatile pop star -- she has taken on the very complicated subject of how any woman, artist or not, manipulates her own consciousness to adjust to what life within a still-sexist society demands of her.

Minaj doesn't always succeed on "Pink Friday," and I'm not even sure how thought out her split-personality approach is. But I for one admire her attempts to show range, vocally and emotionally, and to confront how confusing life for young women can be.

Many women in pop are currently struggling to reconcile how to be both (Sasha) fierce and tender; ambitious and open-hearted; hard and soft. Many, in fact, are already incorporating rapping into their vocal palettes, though only a few critics have dared to call Ke$ha or Lady Gaga "rappers."

By showing her formidable skills as an emcee, Minaj risked becoming the designated savior in the criminally unbalanced, frankly sexist world of hardcore rap. But as Tina Turner said so long ago, we don't need another hero. We need well-rounded artists who can be in this game for the long haul. I think that's what Nicki Minaj is trying to become, and despite a few stumbles on her debut album, she is on the right path.

I'll be writing more on Nicki Minaj, Kanye West and the fantasy life of hip-hop next week.

-- Ann Powers

Photo: Nicki Minaj. Credit: Business Wire

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