Whether you’re a hip-hop purist or a pop princess, last night’s Nicki Minaj performance at the HMV Hammersmith Apollo was anything but average. With a huge stage persona worshipped by pink-wig rocking Barbie Stans the world over, it was hard to tell how Nicki was going to fit her potty-mouth raps and colourful fairytales on to the small, yet ultimately historic, Apollo stage.
Following a dropped curtain, the walls of the sold out venue seemed to scream with each individual human scream. The echoes of ‘Roman’s Revenge’ rang out whilst the stage appeared to be set up the same way it was when Nicki performed at the Grammys this past February. Having caught a lot of heat for her Satanic worship imagery, she still persisted to use it as an entertainment tool.
Following the above mentioned hardcore ballad, which is reportedly supposed to be a shot at fellow femcee and Brooklynite Lil’ Kim, another aggressive offering in the form of ‘Shittin’ On ‘Em’ blessed the ears of those more into the rough-around-the-edges Minaj. Tracks such as this and ‘Beez In The Trap’, educate those present in the art of rhyming.
Stepping into a world of snap, crackle, and pop, Nicki’s beautiful behind could be seen on show on more than one occasion during the four costume changes and infinite dance routines. Sharing creative space, hits such as ‘Starships’ and ‘Turn Me On’ played like crowd favourites, while ‘Dance (Ass)’ saw Nicki get her stripper moves on alongside hype man SB, who actually pulls off a pretty convincing Hammer Dance.
With one of the most varied audiences seen in recent years, the pint size MC even made time to get a few lucky individuals up on stage to sing, dance, and play games. Excited, and obviously over the moon, these particular fans were used to show how much Nicki Minaj cares about her army of loyal supporters. With fan interaction witnessed in a way that not too many artists, especially one of Minaj’s stature, are willing to offer up. She knows exactly what needs to be done to keep her fans happy.
Complete with raining confetti, smoke machines, and smoke guns, there’s a possibility that the Hammersmith Apollo had never seen a show like it. It’s almost as if it was set up to be executed at Wembley. With TV screens incorporated in to the forever changing set design there was enough lighting effects to kill hundreds of Gremlins.
Slower offerings such as ‘Marilyn Monroe’ and ‘Fire Burns’ came at a point when the audience needed a break from the upbeat, but then doing it for her Young Money Team, tracks such as Drake’s ‘Up All Night’ and ‘Bed Rock’ let you know who she is representing for.
She has fans and haters alike, but the thing with Nicki Minaj is that she can really entertain you. Whether it’s her gritty raps, vocal harmonies or her ass shaking capabilities, she makes sure you leave her shows satisfied. With an admitted love for the UK, that extra mile was walked last night. As one of the opening songs of the night suggests, she ‘Shitted On ‘Em’.
Below: Nicki Minaj live at Hammersmith Apollo