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WQHT (97.1 FM, “Hot 97″) is an American radio station in New York City that primarily plays mainstream urban hits, with a few pop-leaning titles on occasion. It is a famous radio station in the hip-hop community across the country, and it is also known for the drama and controversies that occur surrounding its staff and guests. And this past weekend wasn’t any different.
On Sunday evening at hip-hop’s biggest concert the Hot 97 Summer Jam Concert, just hours before she was slated to perform, Nicki Minaj pulled from performing along with Lil Wayne – the president of her label Cash Money Records. The reason? Lil Wayne was angered by disparaging comments made by Hot 97 morning host Peter Rosenberg about Minaj’s song ‘Starships’ in which he suggested that the song was not “real hip-hop.”
“I know there’s some chicks here waiting to sing ‘Starships’ later. I’m not talking to y’all right now,” he said. “F— that bullsh-t. I’m here to talk about real hip-hop sh-t.”
After hearing that, Lil Wayne then canceled Minaj’s performance in a tweet: “Young Money ain’t doing summer jam,” he tweeted, referring to his rap crew, which includes Minaj who also tweeted: “I go above and beyond for my fans. But won’t ever go against wayne’s word. What he says, goes,” she tweeted.
In another tweet, Minaj hanked other cities for hosting her: “I’d like to thank the staff @ philly & boston summer jams for treating their guests w/respect! Had a blast,” she tweeted.
Rosenberg, the self-described “Jewish Johnny Carson,” tweeted: “Tonight just got interesting.”
Hot 97 DJ Funkmaster Flex then backed Rosenberg during the concert, taunting Minaj for recent weaker sales. “You don’t go gold. It’s all your fault,” he said. “I’m dedicated to tearing you down.”
On Monday night, Minaj called in to the station to explain her decison to pull out of the concert which turned into an hour long heated debate with DJ Funkmaster Flex. Minaj apologized to her fans and promised them a free concert in the New York area this summer. She then made it clear that she had been deeply offended by Rosenberg’s comments.
“When you want our team to come to your show, treat us with respect,” she said. “And that’s all we’re asking.” Later she added: “When you disrespect Nicki Minaj, you’re disrespecting my fans. I don’t have a problem with anyone saying what they have to say to me. But don’t make fans feel inferior in any way for their personal taste in music.”
Minaj also felt that he had singled her out because she’s a woman.
“If that’s not some bitch-ass s**t – for this person to single out the only female on the bill, I’m holding it down for women,” Minaj said. “I respect men who are real men, but if all you do is take shots at women.”
Talking to the morning show crew at the rival hip-hop radio station Power 105.1 Minaj stated that she wasn’t even going to perform ‘Starships.’
“After all this has been said and done, I wasn’t gonna do ‘Starships’ and I think people know that,” she told the crew, The Breakfast Club. “I’m way smarter than that. I know what people wanted to see…It was horrible timing. It was in bad taste.”
Minaj also said she was disappointed because she had a Summer Jam set planned that included surprise performances from Brooklyn’s Foxy Brown and Harlem’s Cam’ron.
“We had an amazing, amazing show, and that was the only disappointing thing,” she said.
Fellow Summer Jam performers Nas and Lauryn Hill slid into the headliner spot and, according to Rolling Stone, pulled together an impressive set that included the Fugees’ “Ready or Not” and “If I Ruled the World.” As rumors surfaced claiming that Hill was invited to Summer Jam as Minaj’s guest and therefore shouldn’t have performed, Hill took to Twitter to clarify the situation and to support Minaj’s decision not to perform.
“No disrespect to Nicki, but I need to clear up an inaccuracy,” she wrote. “I was not scheduled to be a special guest on her set at Summer Jam, I was invited by Nas to perform with him.
“I don’t have details on exactly what transpired between the station and the artists, but I do support artists standing by their beliefs, and walking with integrity. We have to find a better way to commercially exploit music, while giving artists their proper respect.
“This cannot be done while taking their contributions for granted, or trying to control the scope of their growth and power through threats and fear tactics. We can do better than this, there is a better way, or else ‘we’ (the proverbial we) find ourselves in danger of being hypocrites!!!”
As for the Hot 97 staff, Rosenberg refused to apologize for his remarks stating, “There is a get me to apologize movement, to which I can say, I’m absolutely not apologizing, because I didn’t do anything wrong,” he said on Monday evening. “I’m not going to change my stand because I’m at Summer Jam. I’ve been saying it for six months.”
While DJ Funkmaster Flex admitted that Rosenberg didn’t pick the right time and place to say that, he also faulted Lil Wayne for asking Ms. Minaj and the other artists on his label to boycott the show, thus depriving Ms. Minaj’s fans of a chance to see her.
The station’s program director Ebro Darden also appeared on one of the station’s morning shows on Tuesday to make it clear that he stood by Mr. Rosenberg. He said though Minaj’s records were not popular, the station had supported Ms. Minaj for years because she hails from Queens. However, he believes that Rosenberg had a right to disagree with her foray into pop music with ‘Starships’.
“That’s a hip-hop show,” he said referring to Summer Jam. “When artists want to go out and make songs for other formats, that’s their prerogative, but that doesn’t mean our hosts have to like it. It was not a direct shot at her, at her personality, at her as a woman — there was no sexual reference, there was no disrespect…It’s a real hip-hop stage, and in real hip-hop, things get said.”
Image Courtesy of Nicki Minaj