Nicki Minaj added “Life coach” to her list of talents at Sunday night’s Pinkprint show at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center (July 26). “I want you to promise me you’ll follow your dreams,” she told the sea of Barbs and Kens. “I want you to promise me you won’t let no one steal your joy. Anything you can think in your mind, you can physically do!”
It seemed like a mantra pulled from her notepad in 2009, when she was a Young Money newbie discovered by Lil Wayne off the strength of a street DVD with a Beam Me Up Scotty mixtape under her garter. In the six years since, the Southside Queens gal with Trinidadian roots has switched up her image. From hip-hop Wonder Woman, one who often referred to herself as “Roman” and “Lewinsky,” to poofy tutu and blonde-wigged pop magnate, Nicki hasn’t really sounded (nor looked) like her authentic self till now.
One minute, she’s spewing F-bombs then asking dudes if they prefer boobs or butts the next. She’s even speaking Spanish and not like a gringa. When she pulls a pink-haired Ken donning the infamous backside photo from her “Anaconda” cover art, she playfully jokes like an auntie to “beat yo’ a**” if he failed to recite every line from her verse on David Guetta’s “Hey Mama” (he sashayed across the stage and nailed every word, btw).
Despite her hardcore fanbase, Nicki finds chill through inspiring pep talks to her audience. “We are in an arena where the headliner is a little girl from Queens who can rap,” she says. Whipping a sleek, high ponytail, Nicki kept the mood grown and sexy. Outfits included, which flaunted a sheer body suit, a flowy pink gown and a sparkly bra and fringed hot pants.
Her on-stage entourage was impressive, too. With DeJ Loaf, Tinashe, Rae Sremmurd and her own beau, Meek Mill, as openers, her pre-game show was TIDAL’s Most Wanted. Still, the Barclays show didn’t come without flaws (missed DJ cues, wait time between costume changes), but it made a point to include all of her hits, which almost teetered into “Doing Too Much” territory. (Sidebar: it’s very uncomfy hearing white Barbs and Kens screaming every N-word during “Lookin’ A**.”) The undisputed highlight of the night was a special appearance from Lil Wayne, who ran through his “Loyal” verse, “Glory,” “A Milli” and “6 Foot 7 Foot.” Team #Omeeka was treated to a medley of the couple’s duets including “Big Daddy,” “Buy A Heart,” “Bad For You,” and “All Eyes On You” with a bonus tongue kiss.
Don’t get it twisted, though. It was ladies’ night in Brooklyn with Nicki leading the charge. While spitting her “Flawless” remix verse, she sat on the shoulders of her two muscular and shirtless male dancers. She had no hesitation standing up for her rap-writing talents. “A b*tch a** n***a can’t write my raps. You ain’t got the motherf**kin’ intellect, b*tch,” she said to her un-named hater (Safaree, perhaps?). Despite the PDA overload with Meek Milly on-stage, she confessed, “I don’t like being in love. I don’t like giving away my power.” But the biggest gem was a message that could apply to both the pretty gang and underdogs. “Stop hating on people and start living your motherf**kin’ life,” says Nicki as if gluing the Post-It note to her own forehead. “You only get one.”
“All Things Go”
“Moment 4 Life”
“Want Some More”
“Did It On ‘Em”
“Beez in the Trap”
Beyonce’s “Flawless (Remix)”
Big Sean’s “Dance (A$$) (Remix)”
“Pills N Potions”
Dancer sequence (“Bang Bang” as Nicki changes costume)
David Guetta’s “Hey Mama”
“Pound The Alarm”
“Night Is Still Young”
“Up All Night”
“Make Me Proud”
Gyptian’s “Hold Yuh”
“Right Thru Me”
Lil Wayne sequence (“Loyal”, “Glory,” “A Milli,” “6 Foot 7 Foot”)
Rae Sremmurd’s “Throw Sum Mo”
Meek Mill duet sequence (“Big Daddy,” “Buy A Heart,” “Bad For You,” “All Eyes On You”)