Anticipation is high for the release of Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday 2 album on her 41st birthday (December 8), and Jamaican Barbz are in for a treat.
The Trinidad native, who’s had lifelong proximity to Jamaican culture, is being celebrated with Nicki Night Jamaica: Pink Friday 2, an album-listening party and voyage through her hit repertoire on Friday night at 30 Red Hills Road, Kingston.
Curated by music enthusiast Jahvair Brown in collaboration with creative group Clever Life, the event is a local impression of global parties paying homage to the Chun-Li star. Patrons are encouraged to flaunt pink in adulation of Madame Harajuku Barbie, and tickets, JMD$2,000 each, can be purchased here.
Speaking to DancehallMag, Brown said he identified a local music audience whose desire to publicly relish in Minaj’s artistry was being starved.
“Residing in a country where dancehall dominates the music scene, Nicki Minaj’s tracks are not often given widespread attention,” the event organiser said. “This leaves both myself and a like-minded friend, who shares my passion for her craft, yearning to return home, plug in our AirPods, and immerse ourselves in the lyrical prowess of the greatest female rapper.
“Having observed similar events unfolding globally, the release of Likkle Miss Remix with Skeng/Fine 9 Remix that featured four dancehall artists alongside her, (and her) piqued interest in Jamaica’s music scene, I ultimately made the decision to take the initiative and organize Jamaica’s inaugural ‘Nicki Night’. With support from fellow Barbz, along with my partner and cousin, we successfully brought this vision to fruition, hosting the first-ever ‘Nicki Night’ event in Jamaica (in November 2022).”
The second staging is targeting a broad audience, particularly those who missed last year’s “magical experience.”
“This is an evening devoted to celebrating Nicki’s body of work – a remarkable experience in its own right,” Brown said. “Attendees can anticipate an abundance of two-finger pointing, lively chants of ‘all these chickens is my sons’, a barrage of bars and punchlines, an immersive pink-themed ambiance, and a stellar lineup of her discography, skillfully curated by DJ Ear Audigy.”
Timeless catalog aside, Minaj is also known for having an active social media presence, be it her high-level engagement with her Barbz community, or her pricey gifts to Jamaican TikTokers. She put her stamp of approval on the inaugural Nicki Night Jamaica by liking the poster on Twitter. The rapper is yet to engage the forthcoming edition on socials, but Brown isn’t concerned.
“Our primary focus is ensuring that the information reaches a wider audience,” he said. “We want to make certain that fans from Nicki Minaj’s fan base residing on the island have the opportunity to be part of the night and share the experience of the album with others in attendance.”
He envisions Nicki Night Jamaica as a gathering space to toast to Minaj’s artistic virtuosity, with each staging commemorating various milestones for the rapper.
“Furthermore, we hope that this event serves as an enticing proposition – a pickle on a string, with a scarf, straw hat and a cup of ice – for her to consider bringing the tour to our location when it kicks off.”
For critics who will instead propose a celebratory party for a Jamaican artist, Brown countered:
“Did they have Eminem on their first album? Did they have Kanye saying, ‘They are a problem’? Did they come into the game, made their own column? Did they make Lil Wayne give ’em five million? No. Moreover, as dancehall tracks dominate events consistently, in my view, dedicating a single night to appreciate Nicki is a positive and refreshing deviation.”
Given name Onika Tanya Maraj, the entertainer’s ties to Jamaican culture took root during childhood when she moved to Queens, New York. The Starships artist also dated Jamaican rapper Safaree, who’s credited for co-writing some of her songs, for more than a decade.
She further pockets a playful Jamaican accent, heard on songs like Wave Ya Hand, and in collaborations with Gyptian (Hold Yuh, 2010), Beenie Man (Gun Shot, 2012) and Mavado (Give It All To Me, 2013).
In recent years, Minaj has continued to insert Jamaican influence in her music, from her sampling of Danny Browne’s Filthy riddim on Megatron and Steven ‘Lenky’ Marsden‘s Diwali riddim on Red Ruby Da Sleeze, to her Likkle Miss takeover with Skeng and dancehall acts like Spice, Pamputtae and Dovey Magnum.