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Monday night’s MTV Video Music Awards marked Nicki Minaj’s debut performance following the release of her new album, Queen, even though the rapper didn’t perform at the actual show. Instead, MTV televised Minaj taking the stage at the Oculus hub for the World Trade Center transit station — a first for a major awards show.
Minaj, who grew up in Queens, N.Y., opened her set with performances of “Majesty” and “Barbie Dreams,” initially donning a giant pink cape and carrying a scepter to match the golden throne onstage. She also rapped an a cappella snippet from “Ganja Burn” before finishing with “FEFE,” a song she’s featured on by rapper 6ix9ine.
Though 6ix9ine didn’t perform alongside Minaj, the use of the song is likely to draw criticism as Minaj continues to face backlash for collaborating with 6ix9ine — who was convicted of sexual misconduct with a minor in 2015 — in the first place.
NICKI MINAJ’S FULL PERFORMANCE #VMAs pic.twitter.com/lh8tTJyvZq
— KingTam (@TamerTakrouri) August 21, 2018
The current narrative about Minaj seems to revolve around controversies like this. Though Queen was just released last week — and even debuted in the No. 2 spot on the Billboard 200 — her music has been seemingly overshadowed by her reaction to the Billboard chart news. According to the rapper, the No. 1 spot should’ve gone to her, not Travis Scott. Minaj called out Scott in a Twitter rant, and since both attended Monday’s VMAS, many were expecting drama between the two. However, they didn’t appear to interact during the show, and she didn’t bring up the situation while accepting the best hip-hop award.
The 2018 MTV VMAs took place at Radio City Music Hall in New York.
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