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A parade of Atlanta rappers joined Nicki Minaj at the Fox

The colorful Nicki Minaj performed at a festival in London earlier this month. Photo credit: Danny Martindale/Getty Images

The colorful Nicki Minaj performed at a festival in London earlier this month. Photo credit: Danny Martindale/Getty Images

Instead of being called the “Pink Friday” tour, Nicki Minaj’s triumphant return to Atlanta Sunday night could have been dubbed “The Tour Stop Featuring Every Atlanta Rapper Except Ludacris…And Even A Couple of R&B Stars.”

The first chunk of her joyful 100-minute show at the Fox Theatre breezed along from the insanely catchy “Beez in the Trap” (with openers 2 Chainz) to Big Sean’s raw club thumper “Dance” to “Right By My Side,” a straight-up power ballad that proves Minaj knows her way around a melody as well as a rhyme.

But then the parade started. Quietly, at first, with a quick appearance by Young Jeezy, who rattled off “Supa Freak” to a sold-out crowd already amped by Minaj’s can’t-turn-away stage presence.

Then, halfway through the concert, Minaj started to talk about a vocalist who influenced her from her earliest days of singing in her bedroom and out strolled Monica to deliver “Why I Love You So Much” (she sounded great except on those extremely over modulated long-held notes).

Minaj had barely returned to the stage when Bobby V slid out from the wings, leading Minaj to state, “I’m gonna go change,” and scurry offstage for her fifth or sixth costume swap while Bobby crooned “Slow Down.”

When Minaj returned in a straight black wig, pink tights over black hot pants and a cute cap, she had barely launched into her mixtape medley, told the crowd how Atlanta is one of her second homes and gave a shout out to Gucci Mane for all of his help with her career when another guest was added to the list – Waka Flocka Flame.

Shaking his dreadlocks, the muscular rapper sent the crowd into another frenzy with “Round of Applause” and astutely noted to Minaj, “We’ve come a long way from roaches to Rolexes.”

Minaj, a playful mistress of ceremonies, assured the audience that, “No other place got this many surprises.” Well, sure, since the U.S. tour only started last week, that is probably true. But it’s also unlikely that except for, perhaps, her hometown of New York – where she hasn’t yet set a tour date – this Atlanta show will reign as most memorable.

And that was before T.I. skipped out in a gray hoodie to perform “Be Better Than Me” and a song from his upcoming album and Lil’ Scrappy also shared Minaj’s stage.

The appearances by all of these Atlanta artists also demonstrate that Minaj is well-respected among her peers.

And don’t ever doubt her ambition. Just a year ago she was opening for Britney Spears. Now, she’s headlining a theater tour that is just enough of a spectacle but doesn’t overwhelm her primary function as a rapper.

Strutting around a stage setup that centered on a small tower with built-in video screens and flanked by staircases, Minaj was her usual colorful presence, trading a long blond wig for a short ‘n’ sassy one, the oversize black robe she donned for the opening “Roman’s Revenge” for a series of waist-cinching dresses and booty-amplifying tights.

She was a joyful presence as well, the glow of a new tour still apparent in her smile as she playfully romped through “Starships,” a song that some in the rap community point to as a puzzling “a-ha!” that Minaj isn’t really a rap star, but a  pop star.

Who says she can’t be both? After all, what modern country singer hasn’t blurred the lines between country and pop by adding or subtracting a banjo or slide guitar?

The fact is that Minaj is a standout rapper – male or female – with an original spin on wordplay and a liquid flow to her delivery. At Sunday’s show, fans from 6 to 60, of all  ethnicities, were equally, and quite visibly, entranced by her performance, whether she was dancing under the firestorm of lights during “Pound the Alarm” or doing what she excels at – rapping, starkly, her tremendous verse from Kanye West’s “Monster.”

The only hitch in the production was when Minaj disappeared mid-show for much longer than an average costume change, leaving her DJ to entertain the crowd. Whether turning things over to her DJ or her surprise guests, the show lagged when Minaj wasn’t on stage – a true testament to her star power.

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By Melissa Ruggieri, Atlanta Music Scene

32 comments Add your comment


July 23rd, 2012
1:46 am

No, she’s bad, and you should feel bad for praising her. And all the rappers who appeared only showed up for free publicity, not because she’s talented. Seriously, standards for pop music (which were already shockingly low) and rap and hip-hop must be in the toilet if she’s considered standout by any measure.


July 23rd, 2012
1:53 am

I am a casual fan of Nicki, but I greatly enjoyed the show tonight! I live in a rural city in SE Georgia, so it was a great treat seeing the show and a variety of hip hop artists that I don’t listen to regularly, but kept the energy going through the show :D


July 23rd, 2012
1:58 am

She is amazing saw her in concert and is the best show I’ve seen thus far!!!!


July 23rd, 2012
1:59 am

She deserves everything good that comes her way….. All hail the queen of rap!!

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]


July 23rd, 2012
7:14 am

Rather watch paint dry than Minaj…… garbage

Uncle Ruckus

July 23rd, 2012
7:56 am

All I can say is that make up does wonders.


July 23rd, 2012
8:07 am

Call her what u want; good bad or ugly but she like Romney took her talent and what she loves and turned it into a career where she makes money. If you dislike her or what she does then do not buy her products. You have a choice. Get over it.

True Words

July 23rd, 2012
8:32 am

It’s funny hearing Hip Hop and artist in the same phrase.


July 23rd, 2012
8:33 am

She’s everything that’s wrong with the music business.


July 23rd, 2012
8:45 am

as per usual a bunch of Debbie Downers who “don’t care” making stupic comments. If you don’t like her keep it to yourself!!


July 23rd, 2012
8:46 am

“a straight-up power ballad that proves Minaj knows her way around a melody as well as a rhyme…” While I’m becoming a fan.. I won’t lie and give her credit where it’s not due.. this sentence alone makes me question your credibility….

@TrueWords.. Are you serious..? Simply b/c you don’t understand a culture you discredit it… GTFOH..

Clayton Bigsby

July 23rd, 2012
9:40 am

One thing is for sure –> She’s laughing all the way to the bank while the negative bloggers continue to look for jobs on Craigslist..


July 23rd, 2012
9:49 am

If it’s not your cup of tea. It’s not your cup of tea. Why do you have to put down the individual? Why stop there–Brittney, Jessica, Jennifer, Carrie, Miranda, etc aren’t great singer, in fact, they can’t sing. Each and every time you hate-filled people who conveniently hid behind these bogus names, aka cowards, have an opportunity to vent ingnorance about something different, that you’ve obviously never given a change to bash, you step up and do so. Get and life, try something else other than blogging about people who obviously care about or why else would you submit such ridiciolusness so early in the day. Get a life–cowards!!!

Lil Kim

July 23rd, 2012
9:51 am

You forgot to mention that the Meet and Greet VIP fans were treated like garbage and didn’t get to meet her. For $260 you were told to “come back” again and again to be dismissed again and again and you could check back after the show- really??!! no vip laminate or envelope as promised and we can check back for a pre- show meet and greet AFTER the show- ghetto……

Midtown Liberal

July 23rd, 2012
9:54 am

One of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time. I just know her from her more popular songs, but she is a class act and really connects with her fans. I was pleasantly surprised.

[...] act 2 Chainz, her Minajesty held court with ATL royalty onstage at the Fox Theatre. Young Jeezy kicked off the surprise-filled evening by performing “Supa Freak.”Monica got love from Nicki and [...]


July 23rd, 2012
10:15 am

Love to watch Nicki on tv with the sound down. Love all of her videos…………with the sound off. Nothing against Nicki, just don’t like her music. Nicki and the rest of her Young Money click is being passed off as hip hop. It’s merely an off-brand……….a double knock-off at best.

NAS is real and “Life is Good”. Go get the album. Real hip hop is still alive!!!


July 23rd, 2012
10:18 am

If you dont like her muzik…..
We are sick and tired of you hillbillies complain all day about what “u dont like”….
GO and listen to your old Billy Ray Cyrus albums and get off Access.
**No one wants to hear that BS**


July 23rd, 2012
10:42 am

Rap is not hip hop– hip hop is a religion according to Africa Bambada who started the hip hop culture. Rappers who believe in the hip hop ideology push this in their music erroneously referred to as hip hop. hip hop believes that the black man is God– and that Jesus is black… so this foolishness that she is not Hip Hop… well if she doesn’t believe so then she isn’t from an ideological standpoint. Rap today doesnt sound like rap of the 80’s or 70’s– does it mean therefore its not Hip Hop– you see how silly it all is. Hip Hop is even coming out with their own “Bible”. She is an artiste. She is no Beyonce in voice– but she can sing– she isnt tone deaf– and I am quite sure if she does further voice training her quality will improve. She is not as bad as dome ppl making you believe. in fact she puts so called established singers to shame– furthermore rapping /talking puts more strain on your voice.. do research– to go from rapping then to singing then to rapping… that is hard– so get off her hem. Music like anything else evolves– fashion… hairstyles… is it that this so called “hi hop” culture is afraid of change– Everyone who is anyone color creed or race comes out to see Nicki– which female black rapper has had this effect. Nicki is a shrewd business woman and she knows what she wants– and what the market wants– supply and demand.


July 23rd, 2012
10:56 am

not a huge fan of Minaj, but I can’t knock that girl’s hustle. Get money, Nicki.


July 23rd, 2012
10:59 am

Just because you have an opinion about an artist that differs from yours doesn’t necessarily mean its negative. It’s true, I am not a fan of Nicki Minaj, I can’t relate to anything she talks about or anything about her image. My opinion is that she is talentless which is why she had to have 20 other people perform with her to make it a good show. Having/making money does not mean that you are talented in the craft that you have chosen to pursue. I am not a hillbilly, I am black. & this serves as a PSA, in support of people who are looking for talented people to be put back into the spot light. :-)


July 23rd, 2012
11:01 am

Back in the day she would have been Berry Gordon coffee girl, this shows how young music listerners have settled for garbage, back in the day it took more then a big butt to impress real music listeners.


July 23rd, 2012
11:15 am

Saw her on Jay Leno last week in her skin tone outfit……hips and azz for miles :lol:

Razor Ramon

July 23rd, 2012
11:55 am

Hey Yo…when did Waka Flame get muscular?

Melissa Ruggieri

July 23rd, 2012
12:09 pm

Razor – I don’t know when he got muscular, I just know that he sure looked it from where I was sitting!


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July 23rd, 2012
12:50 pm

Sounds like the Hoodie review. So where was Treyvon?? Oh that was cold.

[...] act 2 Chainz, her Minajesty held court with ATL royalty onstage at the Fox Theatre. Young Jeezy kicked off the surprise-filled evening by performing “Supa [...]


July 23rd, 2012
1:04 pm

This girl is amazing!!! Shes full of raw talent and versatile…some may not like her but I’ll bet whenever they hear her name, they will pay attention and glance her way just to see what shes going to do next…I LIKE this young lady!!


July 23rd, 2012
1:07 pm

Hey folks. Please disregard the ignorant hillbilly comments. I’m personally not a big Niki fan, but since she wasn’t playing a fiddle or banjo and whining about her dog dying or her pick-up truck, they just don’t get it. I’m sure Niki and the other performers are really concerned about these hillbillies’ comments as they stand in line at the bank today making their deposits. Oh yeah, while the hillbillies are serving up fries at the local McDonalds….


July 23rd, 2012
1:24 pm

Rap = cr@p = rap!