Don't get it twisted: Nicki Minaj is an MC first and foremost, she says. Forget the theatrics, 'cause when she gets onstage, she wants to pump energy into the crowd. And to do that, she goes back to her roots.
"You always want to start the show and get everybody riled up," she told MTV News during the kickoff to Lil Wayne's I Am Still Music Tour. "At the end of the day, it's hip-hop. Let's not get that misconstrued or anything. People see the way I'm dressed and forget what I'm really doing. Why I'm really here is 'cause I write my raps. Why I'm really here is because I'm an MC. Why I'm really here is because I can go toe-to-toe with dudes. So we want to start the show off saying, Yep, this is Nicki Minaj and this is what I do."
And the Pink Friday star certainly does do those things. She arrived onstage Wednesday night with a booming introduction courtesy of the film "Gladiator." From there, she launched into a spirited rendition of her Lil' Kim dis track, "Roman's Revenge."
Later on, she moved on to her pop fare, including "Your Love" and "Right Thru Me."
But the Queens rapper said she wanted to start the proceedings off by reminding everyone of the artist she was when Lil Wayne first discovered her rapping on a DVD. When we spoke to Wayne about signing Minaj, he told us how she developed into an artist who can hold her own.
"I can't front, I just thought she was going to be the new female MC that none of these other female MCs can touch," Wayne told MTV News about Nicki. "But now, she's blossomed into a megastar with this new attitude and this style. Now when I talk to her, I just tell her, 'Do what you do, baby.' I used to be able to go into the studio and say, 'Nah, don't say that, don't say that.' You know, 'That was better.' Now, do what you do, baby. I don't have a clue about what you're doing right now, but it's working, do it."