The rapper was set to headline Hot 97′s Summer Jam festival in East Rutherford, N.J., on Sunday but pulled out hours before following disparaging remarks from station personality Peter Rosenberg, who also hosts MTV’s”Hip Hop Squares.”
Commenting from the festival stage on Minaj’s radio-friendly single “Starships,” which was produced by pop/dance powerhouse RedOne, the radio personality told the crowd that the New York station was “all about that real hip-hop.”
“I know there are some chicks in here waiting to sing along with ‘Starships’ later,” he said between acts at the festival, one of only a few annual hip-hop events of its stature. “I’m not talking to y’all right now.” He then dismissed the song with some unprintable language.
The snub didn’t sit well with Minaj — or with her label head,Lil Wayne. He pulled the plug on all his Young Money artists set to play at Summer Jam. “The President has spoken,” wrote Minaj on Twitter. “I go above and beyond for my fans. But won’t ever go against Wayne’s word. What he says, goes.”
Minaj started out as an edgy, underground hip-hop artist in Queens who made a name for herself with razor-sharp raps and warp-speed rhymes. She was a rare example of a successful and respected female emcee in a largely male-dominated genre.
But since the April release of her sophomore album, “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded,” Minaj has been criticized in some hip-hop circles for turning her back on the world she came from.
The glossy Euro-pop track “Starships” (the album’s first single) offered an infectious chorus, fist-pumping breakdowns and a “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” sample. The song debuted at No. 9 on the Billboard pop chart, only her second solo Top 10 debut, after the equally pop-focused “Super Bass.”
Minaj unapologetically attempted to sate both longtime fans wanting the venomous verses they fell in love with on mix tapes and her newer, pop-loving delegation that appreciated the whimsy of “Super Bass” and singsongy pop numbers such as the David Guetta collaboration, “Turn Me On.”
THot 97′s Funkmaster Flex, an on-air personality, agreed with Rosenberg and said, “We don’t … with commercial artists no more. We don’t give a … if you commercial or pop and you afraid to touch down in Jersey.”
The prolific DJ fueled the controversy after making comments clearly directed toward Minaj. He said he had a career to ruin on his radio show and joked about Minaj’s record sales. After re-tweeting negative and positive comments directed toward the station following the incident, he said “all questions will be answered.” Minaj was booked to appear on his radio show Monday night. The show will undoubtedly promise big ratings (Minaj’s A&R and co-executive producer Safaree Samuels had promised to punch Rosenberg.)
Ebro Darden, Hot 97′s vice president of programming, wouldn’t comment on the controversy but did said “as always Hot 97′s Summer Jam was legendary and historic.”
Wayne’s decision also kept DJ Khaled and Busta Rhymes, who recently inked a deal with Wayne, from the stage. Veteran rapper Nas filled in for Minaj and surprised the crowd with one of hip-hop’s most revered femcees, Lauryn Hill. Both were supposed to appear during Minaj’s set alongside Foxy Brown, Cam’ron, 2 Chainz, Beenie Man and more, according to a pre-show tweet from Minaj.