Girlfriend's awkward question after Nicki Minaj lap dance

Chris Schulz,
Publish Date
Thursday, 10 January 2019, 10:53AM

Manu from Manurewa was having a blast. Sitting on a pink chair in the middle of Spark Arena's main stage, Manu had four dancers writhing slowly around him.

That's not all: sitting on his lap, dressed like an Egyptian princess, purring the lyrics to Side to Side, was none other than Nicki Minaj.

Suddenly, Minaj stopped the music. She had a question to ask. Did Manu have a girlfriend? Manu nodded his head, and pointed to the VIP section.

Bring her up, said Nicki.

The girlfriend arrived. She wasn't angry at Nicki. She was in awe. Stunned might be a better word. But she had a question of her own: Should she marry her boyfriend?

Fresh from giving Manu a lap dance he's unlikely to forget in a while, it's the last question Nicki Minaj was expecting. Minaj is a lot of things - a rap powerhouse, celebrity provocateur, and the queen of beef - but she's no relationship counsellor.

After a confused pause, Minaj replied, "Get married! Be happy! Live your lives!" and quickly wafted the couple - Manu still grinning from ear-to-ear - off stage to continue her show.

What a love-fest. If you were expecting beef at Minaj's first appearance here in seven years, you would have gone home disappointed. Last time the pop-rap superstar was here in 2012, she was feuding with Lil' Kim. This time, it's Cardi B who's been stealing Minaj's thunder.

Cardi, last year's biggest star, has just been here too, headlining two sold out Bay Dreams festivals in front of 50,000 people. With a crowd of around 4000 at last night's Auckland show, you could accuse her of stealing Minaj's audience too.

But Minaj didn't have time to tackle any of that during Fomo By Night, the awkwardly titled Auckland mini-leg of the Aussie festival that also included a colourful hip-hop blast from Amine, a last-minute replacement for Lil Pump, and a summery set from pop producer Mura Masa, who channels James Blake through the prism of the Billboard hot 100.

Across her four albums, Minaj's at her best when she's spitting bileful bars of face-slapping zingers at anyone who gets in her way. There were precious few moments like that at Fomo. Instead, we got summer-ready festival-fare like Truffle Butter, Moment 4 Life and Super Bass, alongside the raunchy grind of Anaconda and Beez in the Trap. Her guest verses on Swalla and Rake It Up, performed in quick fire succession, kept the pace going and the mood high.

But the best bits were those the ones the hip-hop heads were there for, like her aggressive recent single Chun-Li, or the sour bite and one-line jabs of Only, delivered with clinical precision. They showed Minaj can be a Monster rapper when she wants to be, and she proved that near the end when she performed her jaw-dropping bars from Kanye West's hit while perched between two golden unicorns.

No beat, no backing vocals, just straight up attitude. That's Nicki Minaj at her best.

What: Fomo By Night Where: Spark Arena, Auckland When: Wednesday, January 9