Nicki Minaj may have had a rough rollout for her new album Queen, but she still remains an electrifying, engaging live performer and put her talents to use tonight at the MTV VMAs, performing a medley of Queen standouts “Majesty” and “Barbie Dreams.” Flanked by a cadre of dancers and sporting an elaborate, regal outfit with stylized gold armor reflecting the regal subject matter of the first song and album title.
“Barbie Dreams” especially set the crowd off, as its cheeky baiting of her male co-stars created a viral frenzy when the album released a week ago. The lyrics weren’t dampened at all by the change of forum, as Nicki still snuck in her clever darts and deftly maneuvered around the stage, stalking like a lioness in search of prey.
Nicki won Best Hip-Hop earlier for her video for “Chun-Li,” which also helped to reestablish her footing a bit; while her tweets and interviews may have undermined her album’s release, it’s undeniable that’s earned the “Queen of hip-hop” moniker based purely on the power of her performances, and her VMAs appearance was the ultimate reminder of that. She may have suffered a setback, but a true ruler never stays down for too long.