Only hours before Nicki Minaj was scheduled to perform at Hot 97's Summer Jam concert, The Twitters blew up with the news that the chart-topping, neon-beehive-wig-wearing M.C. would not show.
The cause of Minaj's eleventh-hour exit was apparently Peter Rosenberg, a DJ for Hot 97, the New York radio station that books some of hip-hop's biggest acts for the annual Summer Jam. Rosenberg dissed Minaj during the concert's pre-show, saying she was no longer "real hip-hop" and that her song "Starships" is "wack."
Lil Wayne, who signed Minaj to Young Money records in 2009, did not take Rosenberg's insults lightly. "Young Money ain't doing summer jam," he tweeted an hour and half into the concert, which kicked off Sunday evening at the Met Life Stadium in New Jersey.
Minaj confirmed Weezy's statement in her own Twitter feed. "I go above and beyond for my fans," she said. "But won't ever go against wayne's word. What he says, goes."
For what it's worth, Rosenberg, who calls himself "the Jewish Johnny Carson," keeps his criticism consistent. He dissed Minaj for her "sellout" (read: pop) songs on "The Realness," and posted an audio clip of the show on his Youtube page in March.
From the jump, Nicki Minaj has been a polarizing figure. To put it lightly. She's one of the only female M.C.s getting mainstream play, but she answers to a male rapper who calls women "bitches" and "hoes." She also happens to call women, including herself, "bitches" and "hoes." Even Rosenberg concedes the girl can rhyme. But she also has songs that could easily follow Katy Perry's on a dance floor. (Is crossing genres a crime?)
Minaj self-identifies as Black Barbie, a term that encapsulates the gender and race arguments that dance around her persona. She's empowered ("Now it's just me and my time / Just me and my prime" - "I'm the Best"), but she's hardly a cheerleader for the empowerment of other women ("I’m a bad bitch, I’m a cunt/ And I’ll kick that ho, punt” - "Roman's Revenge," her collaboration with Eminem). You could argue that Minaj's mainstream success as a black, female M.C. -- a certified double-platinum album, a solo set at the Grammy's, a superbowl halftime show, cosmetics campaigns, tired yet? -- are all huge wins for Black women. You could just as easily argue that she represents an unattainable standard of beauty for Black women: her natural hair (spoiler alert!) does not happen to be technicolored nor pin-straight, and the plastic surgery rumors don't end.
You could also argue that the totality of Minaj -- her lyrics, her language, her over-the-top ensembles and alter-egos -- are commentary on the very issues she is criticized for perpetuating.
"Everything I've tried to teach them, they gonna see it in time," she spits in "I'm the Best." "Tell them bitches get a stick; I'm done leading the blind."
You could also argue that "Super Bass" is irresistibly catchy, and nothing else matters.
That's opinion, here's a fact: Minaj is part of our cultural dialogue. You could even call her a fixture. It's highly unlikely that the Summer Jam debacle will be the last controversy surrounding Minaj. Controversy is one of the many things that makes Nicki so epically...Nicki.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.