LOS ANGELES - At best, it's counterintuitive to insult your headliner right before he or she takes the stage, and probably just not a good idea. Especially if it's Nicki Minaj.
The pink-haired rapper was set to headline Hot 97's Summer Jam festival in East Rutherford, N.J., on Sunday but pulled out shortly before her set. Minaj nixed her performance at the festival, one of only a few annual hip-hop events of its size, following disparaging remarks from Hot 97 personality Peter Rosenberg, who also hosts MTV's "Hip-Hop Squares."
Rosenberg, obviously not a fan of Minaj's club-friendly, RedOne-produced jingle, "Starships," told the crowd that the radio station was "all about that real hip-hop."
"I know there are some chicks in here waiting to sing along with 'Starships' later," he chided. "I'm not talking to y'all right now." He then quickly dismissed the song with some rather unprintable language.
Hot 97's Funkmaster Flex agreed with Rosenberg and said, "We don't ... with commercial artists no more. We don't give a ... if you commercial or pop and you afraid to touch down in Jersey."
That didn't sit well with Minaj - nor with her label head, Lil Wayne. The attack prompted him to pull the plug on all his Young Money artists who were at Summer Jam.
"Young Money ain't doing summer jam," he tweeted.
Minaj confirmed the snub on her Twitter feed, telling the station staff they messed up "history" (she just wasn't as nice about it). "The President has spoken," she wrote. "I go above and beyond for my fans. But won't ever go against wayne's word. What he says, goes."
Twitter buzzed about the decision, with Minaj retweeting supporters who blasted the station - mostly for making the decision to book her and then "disrespect" her on stage. A great number of her fans, whom she affectionately calls her Barbz, tweeted to the rapper that they too would exit the stadium. Minaj said she was especially peeved that Rosenberg, who has christened himself the "Jewish Johnny Carson" and works for a black radio station, would diss a black woman.
Wayne's decision also kept DJ Khaled and Busta Rhymes, who recently inked a deal with Wayne, from the stage. Nas filled in for Minaj and surprised the crowd with Ms. Lauryn Hill.
On Monday, Rosenberg made no apologies for what he said. "Last night I said nothing different than I have ever said," he tweeted. "It was not a personal dis (sic). It was starships is (expletive). WHICH WE ALL KNOW IS TRUE."
Fans can still catch Minaj this summer as the rapper embarks on her first headlining tour.