Posted by Newson 06/05/2012 at 1:10 PM
Nicki Minaj is currently making the rounds among NY hip-hop radio stations in defense of her failure to appear as a headliner at the Hot 97 Summer Jam Festival, after a dis from Hot 97 DJ Peter Rosenberg (about her pop crossover hit “Starships”) caused her Young Money labelhead Lil Wayne to pull the involvement of all YMCMB-affiliated artists—also including DJ Khaled, Mavado, and Wayne himself, who was supposed to make a surprise appearance. Her no-show obviously caused a great deal of controversy, with many calling her out for letting down her paying fans in attendance.
She hashed things out yesterday with Hot 97′s Funkmaster Flex—who also made disparaging comments about Minaj and her label relating to their Summer Jam no-show—in an hour-long radio interview that involved a lot of yelling, interrupting and general nonsense, with Nicki taking particular offense to Flex having mocked of her sales numbers. She then went on rival station Power 105.1 today to give her side of the story to morning drive crew The Breakfast Club, who were more than happy to side with her and pile on Hot 97 (and Flex and Rosenberg in particular) for disrespecting her, and potentially alienating all of Young Money in the process.
It’s all fantastic radio drama, especially for those of us lucky enough to experience it firsthand in the greater New York area. But it all sort of misses the point—this isn’t Nicki’s decision that everyone’s debating, not really. It was Wayne—not just her mentor, but her professional superior—who decreed that no YMCMB artist would touch the stage in East Rutherford, New Jersey last Sunday. (“Young Money ain’t doing summer jam,” he matter-of-factly tweeted in explanation). All Nicki did was what Khaled, Mavado and all her other labelmates on the Summer Jam bill did as well—they listened to their boss. Who could have expected them to behave differently?
Yet Wayne, despite being the instigator behind the label-wide no-show, has remained in the wind after the fall-out. He hasn’t called into Hot 97 or Power 105.1, he hasn’t given any interviews or offered any statement about the incident—hell, he hasn’t even tweeted about it since his initial declaration. (He did, however, tweet about how “There are 3 kinds of people in this world. Those who kan kount, and those that kant!”—good point, Weezy.) If it was his call that Young Money wouldn’t take the stage at Summer Jam after Rosenberg’s “Starships” dis, shouldn’t he be the one to defend the decision? Why is Nicki the one who’s out on the front lines doing damage control and making sure the PR doesn’t reflect too bad on her or her label?
We don’t get why Nicki has to shoulder the flak for this. It makes sense that her name be in the headlines for the story because she was the biggest star in the Summer Jam lineup, but it’s a little ridiculous that so much of the conversation doesn’t even seem to mention Wayne, or her YMCMB co-stars that also pulled out. You do have to wonder both the initial incident and the ensuing public response is in some way related to Nicki being a woman—the only one on the Summer Jam bill, incidentally. Would Rosenberg have called out “Take Care” or “How to Love” had Drake or Weezy been the Summer Jam headliner? Would their “Real Hip Hop” nature come into question? Would they then come under fire for doing what their boss says and not playing the concert? (“I’m not using the female card, I am a female,” Nicki told Power 105.1. “You should think for a minute before you attack the only woman on the bill.”)
We hope that Lil Wayne has the professional decency to throw his body in front of this a little bit. Nicki and her co-stars were team players enough to pull out of the festivals and risk backlash, while supporting Wayne’s fairly rash decision to remove label support from Summer Jam just based on one half-hearted dis to one song by one artist. Time for Weezy to return the favor to his artists, and publicly explain exactly what he did and why he did it, so Nicki doesn’t have to keep defending a choice that wasn’t even hers to make.
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