Nicki Minaj showed her Big Apple Barbz some love last night at New York City’s Best Buy Theater in the heart of Times Square. Taking a detour from her “I Am Music II” tour with Lil Wayne, the Young Money diva joined The Roots at the invite-only TRYX OUT: NYC 2011, celebrating Casio’s new pocket camera.
The Harajuku Barbie took the stage shortly after 10 p.m. to the tune of an Enya song, emerging from the wings with her pink-wigged backup dancers already in position. Touting her Bride of Frankenstein ‘do, the platinum raptress set things off with “Roman’s Revenge,” segueing into “Did It On’em” before running through a medley of her banner guest appearances.
The animated performer, clad in a Jeremy Scott adidas jacket adorned with buttons and neon leggings, received a riotous response to “Up All Night,” “Bottoms Up,” and “My Chick Bad.” She capped her jumble of features with “Monster,” where she straddled a fan strapped to a chair as her demonic dancers swarmed around them.
“This song means so much to me, because you guys have supported me for so long,” said an emotional Nicki of “Fly,” transitioning into a sensitive acapella rendition of “Save Me.” Clutching her sparkling pink mic, she kicked it back up a notch with “Super Bass” and “Moment 4 Life,” signing “N”’s on the back of Barbz’ hands with a Sharpie before bidding adieu to her legion of followers.
“I’ma tell you why this is so important,” she told the audience of being chosen to perform for Casio. “I’m a black girl from Southside Jamaica, Queens, and that is why I tell you Barbz, don’t give up.”
While members of the packed crowd showed their love for Nicki by rocking pink wigs and eccentric ensembles, The Roots helped warm them up for the main event. Though patrons were apathetic at first, the Philly cats won them over with cuts from their oeuvre including “You Got Me,” “The Seed (2.0),” “The Next Movement,” and “Get Busy,” tossing in covers of Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and Sugar Hill Gang’s “Apache.”
J. Period manned the wheels of steel for the event, convincing the crowd that a picture with the new TRYX is worth a thousand words. Based on the frenzy of flashes from cameras in the crowd throughout the night, Nicki ended up with a few milli.
–Steven J. Horowitz