Review: Nicki Minaj’s Pinkprint Tour comes to an end in Edmonton
Edmonton, AB – The concourse at Rexall Place may as well have been a catwalk – that’s what happens when Nicki Minaj hits town. On August 19 – Nicki came through Edmonton’s arena for the last stop of The Pinkprint Tour. The North American leg of tour (which began on May 30 in Las Vegas) featured DeJ Loaf, Rae Sremmurd, Tinashe and Meek Mill – even the skeptics can’t shrug off a line-up like that. Anyways back to the fashion show…
The Barbz were out in full force that night – from tight dresses, short-shorts, extra bling and sky-high heels. In a combination of that – Nicki’s official Pinkprint Tour t-shirts were selling like hot cakes (do people use that phrase?). From far and wide – Barbz everywhere were rocking the slick $40 tees. I’ve been to rap show a time or two, and I can confirm that the merch table usually isn’t the most poppin spot of the venue. Nicki, however, is another ball game and the Barbz are always ready to play. FYI (in case you live under a rock), The Barbz are Nicki’s fan base. They currently total at 102 million between all of her social media platforms… and that’s just social media. Let this sink in – the Barbz are no joke.
Photo: Grizz Lee Arts (London’s O2 Arena)
I got to my seat around 6:30 p.m., about 20 minutes before DeJ Loaf opened up the show. What was so great about this line-up of openers was that, along with Nicki, I was seeing them live for the first time. Sadly we didn’t have a photographer for the Edmonton show (my iPhone can only do so much and official photography credentials weren’t issued for this particular concert), but our girl Sarah Jay managed to get some amazing shots in Calgary. You can find them here.
I went in with high-hopes for DeJ and I can tell you her voice sounds sensational live. The Detroit native may be small in stature, but you would never know with the power behind those pipes. She had a presence and swagger, even if you were at the top of the arena you could see her confidence exuding as she sauntered up an down the stage. She has that grittiness about her, I love that in a female MC. DeJ delivered the majority of her hits to date; “Back Up”, “Me U & Hennessy” and (of course) “Try Me.” While I do dig those songs, I geeked out the most when she broke into her features on “Be Real” (Kid Ink) and “Post to Be” (Omarion). Those are two of my club-favourites and she served them well. DeJ wrapped up her performance with a victory lap around Rexall Place. With security in-tow DeJ went out into the crowd for her final show of her first-ever tour. Giving daps to her fans as she spit into the mic and returned to the stage.
Later on that evening DeJ was spotted watching the rest of the show, up front. The odd time her security had to swat a few people away, but with drink in-hand, she chatted it up with fans. I love that the fame doesn’t seem to phase her, she can just kick it with everyone else.
Tinashe was next up for a more high-tempo performance with backup dancers intact. What can I say about Tinashe? The girl is absolutely stunning and she’s got the moves on top of it. She owned that stage. I mean, singing and dancing? I’m not talking shaking your ass – but full-out choreography while singing. Not lip syncing – singing. I’ll admit at times the choreography was a tad cookie-cutter – I couldn’t help but think about Aaliyah, Janet, Ciara, etc. when I watched her. Then again, I suppose that’s not a bad thing. She opened her set with “All Hands On Deck” and closed it off with “2 On” which everyone lost their minds too – it’s safe to say that after a year that song is still a hit.
Rae Sremmurd took the stage next. Sporting Edmonton Eskimos jerseys, [Brothers] Slim Jimmy and Swae Lee opened their show with “No Flex Zone.” By this time, Rexall was nearly full and Rae Sremmurd’s ultra-hype performance set the tone for the rest of the night. Throwing red and yellow beach balls into the crowd gave the duo extra points – the majority of those front and centre were the “tween” Barbz. You know how much those youngins love to be a part of the show. One girl had a beach ball in a death grip – you knew it was coming home with her. The entire arena sang along to “No Type” and “This Could Be Us.” You know you’re a success when the kids loved it – the parents cringed. In hindsight, Rae Sremmurd showed up and showed out.
Ahhh, Meek Mill. Before I start – let me say my piece: I’ve always been a fan of Meek. Did he take a major L this summer? (*cough* “Back to Back“) Absolutely. But that doesn’t change my opinion that he’s a dope rapper. Nor does it change my opinion that Dreams Worth More Than Money is fire! Is it funny that “R.I.C.O.” happened to be my favourite track of the album, pre-Drake beef?
However, I expected a lot more from his performance. He did all the right things – performed hits like “Monster”, “I’m A Boss”, “House Party”, “Levels”, etc. It was just the way he presented himself. He seemed to rush through each song, like he couldn’t wait to get off stage. Mind you his set was almost 30 minutes late and cutting into Nicki’s time, and there’s no way we can have that. Then again, this last leg [of the tour] was rough on Meek’s ego. Being that this was the final show, maybe he just wanted to be done with it. Who knows? On top of that, the sound was a bit off, so it was more like Meek was yelling over a muffled track than actually rapping (cue “Meek Rap Like” jokes here). I was rooting for Meek, I still am, but sadly it just fell short.
Nicki, Nicki, Nicki. It’s impossible not to love her, and if you don’t love her, you love to hate her. Either way, Nicki wins. The Jamaica Queens-bred femcee floated from underneath the stage donning a black bra, sheer black tights with black thong to show off the goods. She opened up with “All Things Go” and “The Crying Game” (both from The Pinkprint album). Both songs were executed exquisitely – but I definitely wasn’t expecting the headliner to start [her show] with such ballad-esque songs. But by the time she broke into her third song, [Beyonce assisted] “Feeling Myself”, all hell broke lose! The roar from the crowd was deafening as she and her sexified backup dancers broke into routine. It was on from there.
For the next hour Nicki had everyone on their feet with her commanding presence, flawless flow and contagious smile. We caught feelings during “Moment 4 Life”, brought out our inner bad bitch for “Only” and put our number twos in the air for “Did it on Em.”
Side note: Live Nation hooked me up with some insanely good seats by the side of the stage (fifth row from the floor). “Did it on Em” was the moment when Nicki proceeded to point, smile and nod at me. I squealed with the little girls next to me and my night was made.
From Pink Friday, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded and the current Pinkprint – Ms. Minaj’s catalog [of hits] is nothing to mess with. For the short time that she had on stage, I was impressed with how many songs she fit in her performance (not to mention costume changes). I love me some “Anaconda” and “Truffle Butter” but I lived for the moments when Nicki took us down memory lane. Nicki gave an ode to the Barbz that were riding for her since day one. She teased us with her pre-YMCMB days, laying out various tracks off of her mixtapes. Then broke out into early YMCMB with “Right Thru Me”, “Your Love” and “Roman’s Revenge” among others. Nicki even did a snippet of [Young Money’s] “Bed Rock.” Mind you they were all snippets, due to the time crunch, but it didn’t seem to bother the crowd from what I saw.
A major moment happened when Nicki brought up one girl and one boy on stage for a little fun. The girl had the easy job of sitting pretty on a chair, while the boy (Liam) had the task of performing “Whip It.” I believe the point was for Liam to perform for the young lady, but for him, she may as well have been non-existent. For that short moment Liam stole the entire show – rapping every single word to perfection while strutting his ish up and down the stage. The crowd went nuts! The look on Nicki’s face was priceless, I don’t think even she wasn’t expecting that to happen.
I would love to go on about every song, dance and costume change (it really was that fabulous) but just like the show, this review has to come to an end. Nicki brought out Rae Sremmurd (for “Throw Some Mo”) and Meek Mill (for “All Eyes On You”) one last time and closed out the night with “The Night is Still Young.” At that point Nicki kicked off her Louboutins and called it a day. Literally – she was barefoot with her dancers as they all took a bow while gold confetti fell from the heavens.
Of all places for The Pinkprint Tour to come to an end – little ol’ Edmonton was the lucky city for that fantastic finale. And I can assure you, the Barbz ’round here were honoured to be a part of it.
As always, HipHopCanada would like to thank Live Nation for the support.
Written by Rosa Jason for HipHopCanada
— HipHopCanada.com (@HipHopCanada) August 25, 2015
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