Nicki Minaj took to the Caribean this past weekend performing in Montego Bay, Jamaica at Reggae SumFest for the first time. Clad in a leopard-print pants that lent extra oomph to her hip action, NIcki and six amazing female dancers delivered a swift but lethal set, running through the Young Money Queen's platinum credentials from "Bedrock" to "Bottoms Up." The zombie choreography in "Monster" was particularly effective as was the "Dutty Wine" segment set to tracks by Tony Matterhorn, Bounty Killer, and Beenie Man. Although Gyptian peformed on the same bill, he didn't join Nicki Minaj onstage. She did perform her "Bad Gyal Edition" of his hit "Hold Yuh" and showed her knowledge of dancehall current events by asking the crowd "Gully or Gaza?"
The unenviable task of following Nicki Minaj fell to perennial dancehall star Wayne Wonder, who also worked the very first Sumfest back in 1993 along with Buju Banton. Wonder paid tribute to his old sparring partner, who is now incarcerated but whose music remains uncontainable. Jah Cure blazed the stage with anthems like "Longing For" and his infectious ballad "Unconditional Love." Touching the hands of his adoring fans, the young lion of reggae told them "I hope you get the Cure."
We can only hope that the rest of the world will get it one day too. Veteran reggae rhythm section Chalice closed out the festival, celebrating their 30th anniversary as a band on a festival that celbrated the past, present, and future of reggae music.