Live: Nicki Minaj Takes Off From Summer Jam, Nas And Lauryn Hill Climb Aboard
Hot 97 Summer Jam:
Jen Diaz/Hot 97 Lauryn Hill. Nicki Minaj, Young Jeezy, Rick Ross, J. Cole, Wale, Meek Mill, DJ Khaled, Waka Flocka, Trey Songz, Maino, Big Sean, 2 Chainz, French Montana, Mavado, Tyga, Slaughterhouse (and Nas and Lauryn Hill)
Sunday, June 3
Better than: Seeing a Nicki Minaj concert.
In an era of increasing separation and ever-tinier attention spans, it's almost quaint to celebrate a tradition like Hot 97's Summer Jam with 60,000 of your closest friends.
Each year, Summer Jam means a sunny early afternoon heading over to the Meadowlands, the constant threat of rain during the afternoon hours, a few rap songs here and there with rappers featuring other rappers, walking into a chilly night leaving the show, and general ratchetness in the parking lot before, during, and after the concert.
Oh, and drama! Plenty of dramawhich, in the years since Jay-Z vs. Nas evaporated, has turned into yawn vs. shrug.
The 2012 version, held last night at MetLife Stadium, promised nothing but radio-ready anthems from the biggest rappers around, from French Montana to Waka Flocka, from J.Cole to Wale to the headliner, Nicki Minaj! As usual, the audience was alive with predictions of who would grace the stage as surprise guests. But frankly, if one was looking for a fight, the best hope would be for Rick Ross and Young Jeezy's extended families' families to run into each other in the parking lot.
And things started out according to plan! The last real New York rapper, Maino, ran around the stage like a fire was chasing him, performing "Hi Hater," "All the Above," and "A Million Bucks"; he brought out M.O.P. for their ode to robbery "Ante Up," as well as super-producer Swizz Beatz and the young people's champ, A$AP Rocky.
The powerhouse collective Slaughterhouse ran through both solo efforts (Joe Budden's "Pump It Up"; Joell Ortiz's "Nissan, Honda, Chevy") and songs off their upcoming full-length, Welcome to Our House, masterfully, and with many syllables, backing up a hoarse Budden's boasts of being "four of the best rappers in the universe."
In a totally different universe, yet on the same stage, Young Money team member Tyga was just beginning his set when word started to spread that dark clouds were in fact hovering the stadium, and it was about to rain drama: Nicki Minaj and the rest of her Young Money family had left the building for good. (Save Tyga, who stayed in the building for not-so-good.)
Nicki and her immediate boss, Lil Wayne, had apparently taken great offense to Peter Rosenberg, one-third of Hot 97's morning show, taking a dig at Nicki's most recent venture into pop music on the Summer Jam festival stage earlier in the afternoon. Word got back to Nicki, Wayne pulled the plug, and Rosenberg's name immediately became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter.
So while Waka Flocka joyfully jumped into general admission and J. Cole was polished and triumphant in his return to New York City, Minaj was on Twitter, leading a charge against Rosenberg for referring to her song "Spaceships" as not-quite-rap specifically, and speaking his mind generally. She said that she was following orders from Wayne, and that no one from their camp would support Summer Jam. Worse still, Young Money yes man Jae Millz chimed in on Twitter, chiding Rosenberg for not being black and hinting that the Summer Jam situation would cost Rosenberg his job.