EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey — Queens made a strong showing at Summer Jam 2014, thanks to Nas, 50 Cent and Nicki Minaj, but a few of Sunday night’s biggest guests also hailed from Toronto, New Orleans and Long Beach.
Wiz Khalifa showed up early on the main stage, with a cameo from Snoop Dogg and later The Roots were joined by The Lox and M.O.P. for hits like “Wild Out,” “It’s All About the Benjamins” and “Ante Up.” That was just the beginning, though.
After celebrating the 20th anniversary of Illmatic with classics like “New York State of Mind,” and “The World Is Yours,” Nas allowed Meek Mill to briefly tear the stage up with French Montana — and then he introduced a fellow rapper, from Queens: 50 Cent.
The G-Unit CEO emerged to “Hate Me Now,” all smiles, clearly basking in the moment, as he ran through hits like “I Get Money,” “What Up Gangsta” and early mixtape cuts.
What happened next, however, was truly unexpected (especially considering G-Unit’s very recent public disagreements), but 50 actually managed to get Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo and Young Buck on stage for their first joint performance since 2008, hitting tracks like “On Fire,” “So Seductive” and “I Smell P—-.”
That put the crowd on tilt, but Fif didn’t stop there, also bringing out Fabolous and Yo Gotti for the Animal Ambition single “Don’t Worry ’Bout It.” In fact, 50 was having so much fun that he didn’t want to leave. Literally. A scuffle on stage didn’t prevent him from taking time to rant about Jimmy Iovine not being his boss. Only when his mic cut off did he unwillingly throw the towel in.
Then, it was Nicki’s turn.
Recently, the YMCMB rapper has been shedding the wild wigs and colorful costumes, and she definitely stripped it all away for this one. All the focus was on her rapping — and, maybe the pasties she wrote under that sheer shirt. Let’s just say that no one was complaining.
Nicki kicked off the set with her scathing “Monster” verse,” then had a memorable friends and family reunion, despite a little mic trouble. She summoned Young Thug for “Danny Glover (remix),” Lil Herb for “Chi-Raq,” Soulja Boy for “Yass Bish,” and also hit her recent singles “Lookin Ass” and The Pink Print’s “Pills N Potions,” with the help of backup singers. No trace of “Super Bass” here, thankfully.
Throughout her set, there were whispers that Drake was hiding out backstage (with Rihanna), but Nicki gave the crowd two false starts, playing “Moment 4 Life” and her verse on “Up All Night” without bringing him out.
Instead, she decided to have some fun and troll the crowd by declaring, “It’s a ni–a in Young Money, I don’t f–k with no more — Drake. I used to love you, but I don’t love you no more.” Whoever survived that potential heart attack saw Drizzy on stage a moment later performing “Worst Behavior.”
Nicki and her ’lil bro shared some special — and extra close — moments on stage, and there was no way Lil Wayne could miss that. Weezy came out with a hop and skip, joining Drake for “Believe Me” and bowing down to Young Money’s first lady, before Drake wrapped up their set with “Trophies.”
That’s not an easy act to follow but Kid Ink, DJ Mustard, YG and Nipsey Hussle still kept the energy going when they ended the night, even with some help from A$AP Ferg who performed “Work” and “Shabba.”
Troy Ave, Action Bronson and Trey Songz had all hit the main stage earlier (with Troy taking some shots at Trinidad Jame$), while Jhene Aiko, Childish Gambino and Iggy Azalea rocked the festival stage.