Who is Last Damn Show headliner Nicki Minaj, and why is she suddenly huge?

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Kanye West said she could become the second-best rapper of all time, behind Eminem. She'll be a presenter at this year's MTV Video Music Awards. When she performed a brief Memorial Day weekend set in Tampa, the crowd was frenzied and fanatical, and the security was tight.

How did Nicki Minaj, who’s headlining Saturday’s Last Damn Show at the St. Pete Times Forum, become so popular so fast?

Talent, sure, but as always in the world of pop music, timing, image and attitude played a huge part -- not to mention support for her single Your Love from Wild 94.1 program director Orlando Davis.

As Stephanie Hayes writes in her exploration of the Nicki Minaj phenomenon,

With African, Trinidadian and Indo-Asian heritage, Minaj looks like an imported porcelain doll dressed in Bratz rejects. She swirls Missy Elliott's oddness, Lady Gaga's theatrics and Foxy Brown's voluminous sex appeal. Her bad girl femininity, according to the New York Times, makes "Mariah Carey look like Miranda from Sex and the City."

Click here for Stephanie's story.

Nicki Minaj, Gucci Mane, Rick Ross, Mystikal, J. Cole, Miguel, John Blu and Gyptian play Wild 94.1 FM’s Last Damn Show at 6 p.m. Saturday at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa. Tickets are $25, $42, $60 and $150. Call (813) 301-6900 or click here for details.

Photo: Getty Images.

[Last modified: Friday, August 27, 2010 10:19am]

    

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