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Nicki Minaj At Izod Center, Friday, August 5th, 2011

With more energy at any given moment than headliner Britney Spears showed all night, Nicki Minaj, women of raps last best hope, gave a full tilt performance and emerged as… not Queen Latifah or Lil Kim but Katy Perry.

Back in the day, same around the time she was pimping pussy for Usher, the impression I was left with was that Nicki Minaj was the new Foxy Brown, the new Lil Kim, you know, give me a chair and I'll fry for him.

And by the time of "Monster" I thought she could (because she did) run the tables on the big boys.

But that isn't her plan. Pink Friday was a major disappointment in my book but watching her act out the songs with her back up dancers, the Barbie Girls, it is obvious that Pink Friday is a pop not a rap move. "Super Bass", the set closer, was co-written by Ester Dean, one of the new pros. It is pop music by committee and where Minaj wants to be.

The set told the story of Nicki Minaj's battle with her nemesis Roman on her way to Pink Friday. The music was too loud, the raps too perfunctory, the artistry in awe to the artifact and any question as to the career Minaj has chosen is finally silenced.

Whether scooting about to Young Money's "Bedrock" or channeling her inner Eminem, the volume was distorting her raps (an age old rap concert problem) and though she finished with a musical bang, performing the David Guetta hit "Where The Girls At" followed by a volcanic "Super Bass", this retelling of Cinderella (or something: I'm not sure even Minaj has figured out what's on her mind) find its footing… to a point.

In the end, Minaj is actually a great rapper and she underuses her talents in a (successful) effort to mainstream the product.

Incidentally, in the mid-90's it sure felt like women rappers were taking over and it never happened. Now the last best hope has gone pop. Not bad, nothing great. Kinda sad.

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