Yesterday in New York, as dusk set in and the emblems of capitalism lit up the sky, Nicki Minaj surprised a throng of thousands with a performance in the heart of Times Square. Following hours of speculation as to who the secret performer would be, fans, tourists and general gawkers watched in awe as the hip-hop superstar turned the “Crossroads of the World” into a technologically dazzling stage for the launch of Nokia’s Lumia 900 smartphone. Nine gigantic electronic screens and a towering building brought to life with CGI technology provided a fitting backdrop for the mobile communications purveyor’s launch. (Nokia pulled off a similar “4D” experiential stunt in London last year in which the facade of a building was illuminated in sync with a performance by Deadmau5.) A video of the event will be available today on Nokia’s Facebook page.
A very platinum blonde Minaj gave a short but bubbly set of three songs: a rousing rendition of “Starships,” “Right By My Side” (sans Chris Brown) and “Super Bass.” In a white collared shirt, full black corset and safari-themed tights, the rapper looked more conservative than usual, doing her own sartorial take on corporate casual.
“Make some noise for yourself. I’m from New York!” the Queens-raised rapper gushed, clearly in awe of the magnitude of it all. (Later, she would tweet that this show was her “all time #moment4life.”) “Super Bass” proved the overwhelming crowd favorite, with fans and confused tourists alike joining in the bouncy fun. Pleasing pop, hip-hop or nothing in between, Nicki really is the great joiner.
She ended the show by debuting a special remix of “Starships,” helmed by DJ/producer Doorly. The updated version featured a slowed-down tempo change that gave the thumper an interesting, woozy quality. As a dedication to her fans, cameras panned the crowd to capture the contagious squeals and fervor for use in the track’s upcoming music video, slated for online release today. “Thanks to my Barbz. I love you!” Nicki sang as she closed. In the heart of her city, she reigned supreme.