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Nicki Minaj, Nas, Lauryn Hill shut down day 2 of ‘Essence’ Fest


After a long day of nonstop experiences, panels, discussions, giveaways and more, day two of the Essence Festival of Culture in New Orleans rounded out with a star-studded lineup of performances from top Black music stars of today.

For the first time on the Essence Fest stage, Nicki Minaj delivered an hour-long set featuring some of her chart-topping hits like “Moment 4 Life” and “Super Bass” as well as throwback classics like “Itty Bitty Piggy” and “Beez in the Trap.”

Following Tamron Hall’s high-energy introduction of the rap superstar, it took about 45 minutes before Minaj finally made her grand entrance onto the Caesars Superdome stage. But fans were quickly pleased by the new visuals, rare showings of catalog favorites and surprise appearances by Mannie Fresh and Lil Wayne.

Lauryn Hill graced the stage alongside her Fugees family, Wyclef Jean & friends, in a nostalgic performance of “Killing Me Softly,” “Ready or Not” and other classic hits.

The Black joy was in full effect when rap legend Nas blazed the stage for close to an hour. The New York native took fans on a journey down memory lane with his iconic ’90s and 2000s songs, including, “If I Ruled the World (Imagine That),” “Hot Boyz” and “Oochie Wally.”

Country star Mickey Guyton kicked off the night’s entertainment. She welcomed fellow country singer Brittney Spencer to the stage for a heartfelt performance of “Black Like Me,” a song released in 2020 amidst the George Floyd protests.

The 2022 Essence Fest concert series continues Saturday with headliners Janet JacksonSummer WalkerJazmine SullivanChloe x Halle and more, streaming live on Hulu starting at 7 p.m. CT.

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