Live: Nicki Minaj Takes Off From Summer Jam, Nas And Lauryn Hill Climb Aboard

rickross_summerjam2012.jpg
Rachel Esterday/via Hot 97
Rick Ross and a small subset of his on-stage guests.
Back on stage, Young Jeezy and Big Sean each stole the show. Jeezy, who literally skipped out to the microphone stand, showed more personality than ever before and dominated his set as if he had a chip on his shoulder. In total control, Jeezy interacted with the crowd and spit his classics, none bigger than the 2 Chainz-assisted "Supafreak." Throughout his set, Jeezy prowled the stage with so much swag, he brought the word "swag" back to life.

Big Sean ingratiated himself to the Summer Jam crowd by performing "Ass," "My Last," and "Marvin Gaye and Chardonnay." He even introduced his proud mother to New York City, but that couldn't top the reaction to Sean, 2 Chainz, and Pusha T rapping to "Mercy," off the upcoming G.O.O.D. Music album.

With Nicki Minaj's performance slot fast approaching, and no clear answer from the Twitter gods on what exactly would happen, the patriarch of the Hot 97 family, Funkmaster Flex, took over the turntables and microphone and reassured everyone paying attention whose side of the Rosenberg vs. Nicki Minaj drama, Hot 97 would lend their support to.

"We don't give a fuck about you if you're commercial and pop and afraid to touch down in Jersey," Flex growled. He continued, "We ain't fucking with commercial rappers no more. You don't go gold, it's all your fault. I'm dedicated to tearing you down. I'm gonna show you, Ma Ma. You think you didn't sell any records, this time..."

Hot 97, and by extension Summer Jam, is the House That Flex Built, and in Nicki's haste to leave the house, she forgot the most important thing: her show.

So the amazing surprises that Nicki had in store for her set still happened, just without her set, and the Summer Jam crowd got something they didn't even think they'd be paying for: a full performance by New York legend Nas, with the reclusive genius and former Fugee Lauryn Hill guesting.

Seeing Nasty Nas saunter the stage to "Made You Look" and "Hate Me Now" and Lauryn rapping "Lost Ones," and singing "Ready or Not," and together teaming up for "If I Ruled the World," all with former Hot 97 DJ Green Lantern spinning the records, brought an intense sense of nostalgia, as well as true pride in the music that made Hot 97 what it is today.

And hearing Nas say through a huge smile, "Things turn around and we're back on this stage like we never left," should have reminded everyone that in 2002 he was in Minaj's shoes; that year, he chose to boycott Summer Jam and run to the competition.

But the fact is, last night, while Nas and Lauryn Hill were basking in the glow of New York City's clear skies and unconditional love, not very many people in the stadium cared about why Nas left in 2002, Lauryn's ability to hit notes, or where Nicki was.

Critical bias: I'm a friend of Peter Rosenberg, his brother, his fiance, and his dog, and as a hip-hop sketch comedian myself, I wholeheartedly think that comedians and personalities should be able to freely speak their minds.

Overheard: "If you love New York City, put a middle finger in the air!" - DJ Bobby Trends, getting the audience involved.

Random notebook dump: Normally, Summer Jam is all about who might show up, instead of who might not show up.

Random notebook dump II: NICKI LOSES.

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