36-year-old multi-platinum artist Nicki Minaj (and her personalities Nicki The Ninja, Nicki Lewinski, Nicki The Harujuku Barbie and Roman) are headed to the Middle East to perform in Saudi Arabia. In less than two weeks, Minaj will headline the Jeddah World Fest on July 18, according to the AP.
With over 20 million singles and five million albums sold, Minaj is a sturdy choice for Saudi Arabia to appeal to its local hip-hop fans, who haven’t had much in terms of live entertainment due to the culture’s strict history. Saudi Arabia has been known for its entertainment restrictions, and Minaj’s at-times-explicit style could take things from one extreme to the other.
Minaj, who teased new music last month, is known for her profanity-laced lyricism, her left-of-center subject matter, and edgy music videos. It’s unclear whether she will be asked to tone things down for her performance, or whether she will be bringing the same show she does in the rest of the world.
It’ll also be interesting to see Saudi Arabia’s reaction to Minaj, especially considering the culture’s traditional treatment of women. The co-leader of Young Money, alongside Drake and Lil Wayne, will perform to an alcohol- and drug-free crowd with an age restriction of 16 and older at the King Abdullah Sports Stadium in Jeddah.
The concert will be broadcast globally by MTV. Liam Payne and Steve Aoki are set to join Minaj.