It was a moment for life as Nicki Minaj returned to the stage at the 2022 Essence Festival.

The rap queen shut down the second night of the festival with an hour-long performance at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans on Friday night (July 1).

After a 45-minute delay, Barbie kicked off her set with her Lil Baby-assisted single “Do We Have a Problem?” followed by “We Go Up” and “Did It On’em.”

Rocking a blonde ponytail, she took it back with her biggest hits and fan favorites like “Beez in the Trap,” “Feeling Myself,” “Anaconda,” “Itty Bitty Piggy,” and more.

Nicki also surprised the crowd with Birdman (“#1 Stunna”) and Lil Wayne, who joined his Young Money sister to perform “High School” and their latest collaboration, “Seeing Green.” “He came through for me and saved the day,” Nicki said of Weezy.

But she stopped short of performing one of her most iconic verses. When the DJ started to play Kanye West’s “Monster,” she cut the music. “We don’t f**k with clowns,” said Nicki, possibly hinting at a fallout with Ye.

Before closing out the evening with “Moment 4 Life,” she addressed her tardiness. “Bitches came for my check tonight, but I still came out,” said Nicki, who sparked pregnancy rumors with her appearance. “But I still came out for you. And I will never stop being appreciative of you.”

Unlike previous sets from Nas and Wyclef Jean with Ms. Lauryn Hill, Nicki’s set was not streamed live on Hulu, much to the dismay of her Barbz, who took to social media to share their frustrations.

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