Which Nicki Minaj Live Performance Is The Best? A Definitive Ranking Of Her Greatest Showstoppers
Of all the things that could break the internet, Nicki Minaj live performances should be at the top of the list. The "Anaconda" singer never balks at being controversial — which is part of the reason her performances always end up being so legendary. Throughout the years, Minaj has ignited fervent debate on social media feeds, showcased her ability to kick her pins to impossible heights (hi, every "Anaconda" performance ever), and never ceases to utilize some killer pyrotechnics to take each performance from amazing to mind-blowing.
Minaj doesn't always rely on spectacle to deliver a showstopper, however. After debuting her track, "Bed of Lies," the rapper captivated audiences with truly poignant performances. Her ability to transition from caricatured personas to raw vulnerability shows why Minaj has become a true hip hop matriarch.
It comes as no surprise that the rapper is slated to open the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, Aug. 30. I, for one, can't wait. As the anticipation over what surprises are in store when Minaj graces the stage has likely reached a fervor, let's bide our time by taking a look back at Minaj's best live performances — ranked from amazing to mind-blowing. Enjoy!
1. "She Came To Give It To You" 2014 MTV Video Music Awards
Usher raps in the beginning of this performance, guys, and it’s amazing. Yeah man, indeed! Usher and Minaj proved to be a dynamic duo back when they collaborated on “Little Freak” (remember that song?!), and their time onstage together at the 2014 VMAs did not disappoint. Sadly, this gets a lower ranking based on the fact that there simply wasn't enough Minaj during the performance.
2. "All Eyes On You" 2015 BET Awards
While I would have loved just a wee bit more stage time for Minaj, this performance was a definitive showstopper. Minaj's onstage chemistry with Meek Mill could rival that of Beyoncé and Jay Z. Yeah, I said it.
3. "Bed Of Lies" 2014 American Music Awards
In a beautifully understated performance, Minaj proved she can wow a crowd with little more than piano accompaniment and her lyrical prowess.
4. "Super Bass" / "Till The World Ends" 2011 Billboard Music Awards
When a giant chicken rushes the stage before Minaj has even started "Super Bass" — you know it's about to get good. In the course of one performance, Minaj danced, rallied sailors, gave a lap dance, and got Britney Spears to show up to close things out. I can't even.
5. "Super Bass" / "Bed Of Lies" / "Anaconda" 2014 Europe Music Awards
A confection of hot pink lasers, showers of sparks, and Minaj perched on a regal throne like the queen she is was enough to yield a resounding "YAS!" from fans across the globe — but it only got better. Minaj seamlessly transitioned from coquettish to impassioned with a poignant performance of "Bed Of Lies," and brought the energy back to a fevered pitch with "Anaconda."
6. "Roman Holiday" 2012 Grammy Awards
Obviously, I couldn't leave out Minaj's arguably most controversial performance to date. Minaj gets possessed and ends the showstopper on a levitational note. Clearly, this performance had everyone talking.
7. "Anaconda" / "Bang Bang" 2014 Video Music Awards
While the internet was basically exploding over Miley Cyrus' twerking, many fans seemed to forget that Minaj's boss handling of a wardrobe malfunction basically stole the show. After performing "Anaconda," Minaj appeared clutching the front of her dress while joining Jessie J and Ariana Grande onstage. Apparently, the front of her dress had split and — to avoid an incidental peekaboo — she held the fabric together through the entire performance. Even during an understandably awkward situation, she still managed to deliver her rhymes like a badass and showcased her killer strut.
Whether she's pushing the envelope or slowing things down, you can always count on Minaj to slay when she takes the stage. If there is every a petition for the "Anaconda" singer to perform at every awards show for the rest of her career, I will gladly sign.