Nicki Minaj, VMA Pre-Show Performer: A Mixtape Daily Flashback

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By Shaheem Reid

The Great Nicki Minaj. I always knew she would live up to the hype. And with today’s announcement that she’ll deliver her first-ever televised solo performance during the 2010 VMA pre-show on Sunday, September 12, she taken another huge step.

It’s been extremely exciting to see Nicki’s career blossom. Minaj is not just the lone female MC making noise right now, she’s one of the most exceptional MCs period on the mic. Nicki has branded herself to practically guarantee a show-stealing verse every time she hops on a track.

Her latest two guest appearances, Trey Songz’s “Bottoms Up” and “Monster,” probably most embody where she’s at right now. She comes off sexy, fierce, sings, changes cadences and vocal inflection about as easily as LeBron James dribbles a basketball in an open court.

Nicki is here to stay. Last Spring, me and my partner Rahman Dukes told the world she was a force, when we named her tape Beam Me Up Scotty our Mixtape Daily Main Pick.

Being from NYC, we’d heard about Nicki maybe two years prior. She’s from Queens just like us and we actually shot the Mixtape Daily piece in Baisley Park right across the street from my elementary school, P.S. 223, and down the block from Nicki’s elementary school, P.S. 45.

Grafh and Chad from Blackhand came out to support, as did DJ Holiday, who hosted the tape. (Shout out to Holiday too, for being the first one to tell us the tape was dropping.)

That day, it was perfect weather, hot, short-sleeves, shorts if you wanted. Nicki came out, she brought out the yellow Lamborghini, she had support from a motorcycle club, bikes!!! At least a dozen motorcycles were there. It was still early in the afternoon during the school year, but kids began pouring out once they heard Nicki was there. Minaj took pictures and signed autographs in between performing and interviews for us.

Mind you, Nicki just had an underground buzz at the time off of mixtapes like Lil’ Wayne’s Dedication 3 and various Gucci Mane tapes. She bugged me out how she brought her now infamous British accent and we got the very first glimpses of the Barbie persona when she revealed what a “Barbie” was.

A year and change later, Minaj is an undeniable superstar. She doesn’t have an album, but her presence remains immense and her popularity–with fans and with her peers–grows continually. I’m putting my money up on her album. I’m betting 400,000-plus when Pink Friday comes out on November 23.