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Nicki Minaj May Be At Odds With Kanye West After She Cut Off ‘Monster’ At A Show: ‘I Don’t F*ck With Clowns’

Nicki Minaj has had quite an eventful 2022 year so far. She put her comeback into full swing at the top of the year with two tracks alongside Lil Baby: “Do We Have A Problem?” and “Bussin.” She later returned alongside Fivio Foreign for “We Go Up” and lent a guest verse to Coi Leray for “Blick Blick.” Next for Nicki in her 2022 year was a headlining performance at the 2022 Essence Festival, something she delivered on Friday night. Her set made headlines thanks to some comments she seemingly made about Kanye West on stage.

After a 45-minute delay, Nicki hit the stage and performed “Do We Have A Problem?” before switching off to fan favorites like “We Go Up,” “Did It On ’em,” and “Beez in the Trap.” Next, the DJ play “Monster,” Kanye West’s highlight 2010 single that features Minaj, Jay-Z, Rick Ross, and Bon Iver, but Nicki had other plans. “A monster though!” Nicki said to the crowd. “A monster though! But we don’t f8ck with clowns.” After that comment, the DJ got the message and went to the next song.

The moment left many wondering if there’s an ongoing issue between Nicki and Kanye, and if so, what it could be about. Many believe that it has to do with Kanye’s recent collaboration with Cardi B for “Hot Sh*t” as Nicki and Cardi have been at odds for quite some time. Others noted that Nicki’s frustrations with Kanye shelving their celebrated “New Body” track with Ty Dolla Sign might have been a factor behind her comments.

You can watch Nicki Minaj seemingly throw shade at Kanye in the video above.

Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.

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Like ‘Top Gun: Maverick,’ The New ‘Minions’ Waited Out The Pandemic And Is Now Cleaning Up At The Box Office

When studio execs told Tom Cruise they were thinking of dumping Top Gun: Maverick on a streaming service, he put his foot down. He was adamant that they wait for the pandemic to cool down, to release it when the masses finally felt safe sitting in theaters packed with strangers. You know how that worked out. Now it’s working out for another, very different movie.

As per Variety, Minions: The Rise of Gru is the last of the big holdouts from the early days of the pandemic to belatedly hit theaters. In another timeline, it would have been released in the summer of 2020. Instead, Universal waited two whole years, and now look what’s happened: It’s shattering July 4 weekend records, is on track to open to a whopping $127.9 million. For perspective, Top Gun: Maverick grossed $126 million in only its first three days of release (and $160.5 million over its four days).

The previous record holder for Independence Day weekend was Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which opened to $115.9 million in 2011. It’s also bigger than the opening weekend for its predecessor, Minions, which grossed $115 million in 2015.

There was fear, as the pandemic kept theaters under-utilized for over a year, that the moviegoing experience may be over, that the future was people sitting on the couches at home, watching films on streamers. That seems to no longer be the case, and few are happier about it than Tom Cruise himself.

(Via Variety)

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Trump Is Still Throwing A Hissy Fit Over Cassidy Hutchinson’s Explosive Jan. 6 Testimony: ‘All Lies’

Last week, the hearings for the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot went next-level. Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Donald Trump’s then-chief of staff Mark Meadows, testified on live television, offering one explosive claim after another. It drove Trump to have a meltdown on his rinky dink Twitter clone, and several days later he was still at it.

Tellingly, Trump didn’t offer direct refutations to Hutchinson’s claims, nor did he say anything new. It was a rehash of what he said on the day. “So Cassidy Hutchinson was all set and ready to go to Florida with the Trump Team long after January 6th. She knew I did nothing wrong. She was a big Trump fan – but my people didn’t want her,” he wrote. “What happened? Why did she so dramatically change? All lies. I guess even she didn’t believe her own bull….!”

Perhaps Hutchinson’s wildest allegation — that Trump tried to choke a Secret Service agent who wouldn’t drive him to the Capitol, so he could join his violent supporters — did receive some real pushback. The agents in question have said they would testify that things didn’t go that far. Hutchinson has stood by her claims.

Meanwhile, all Trump has done is rant and rave and offer vague defenses and insults. After all, perhaps Hutchinson was one of his true believers who eventually saw the light. He has pushed back against the claim that he attacked a Secret Service agent, if only by claiming that he’s too weak to have done so. Others have said he’s too fat.

(Via Raw Story)

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Halsey Says Having An Abortion ‘Saved My Life’ And Allowed ‘My Son To Have His’

Since the end of last month, a number of artists have used their platform to speak out and lend a hand of support to women all over the country. It comes after the Supreme Court made the decision to overturn Roe V. Wade which guaranteed abortion rights for women in the U.S. One of the artists who has been quite vocal is Halsey. They took a moment to speak about abortions in a personal response they wrote for Vogue and it’s here that Halsey also shared some insight about an abortion they had in the past.

“Many people have asked me if, since carrying a child to term after years of struggling to do so, I have reconsidered my stance on abortion,” they wrote. “The answer is firmly no. In fact, I have never felt more strongly about it. My abortion saved my life and gave way for my son to have his.” Halsey gave birth to their first child, Ender, in July 2021. They added, “Every person deserves the right to choose when, if, and how they have this dangerous and life-altering experience. I will hold my son in one arm, and fight with all my might with the other.” Next, Halsey explained how an abortion saved their life.

“I miscarried three times before my 24th birthday,” they said. “It seemed a cruel irony that I could get pregnant with ease but struggled to maintain a pregnancy. One of my miscarriages required ‘aftercare,’ a gentle way of saying that I would need an abortion, because my body could not terminate the pregnancy completely on its own and I would risk going into sepsis without medical intervention. During this procedure, I cried. I was afraid for myself and I was helpless. I was desperate to end the pregnancy that was threatening my life.”

They went on to explain how their experience caused them to rewrite their will during the third trimester of their pregnancy with Ender.

“I was prepared for the worst,” Halsey wrote. “I gave detailed instructions regarding the donation of my organs should I die or be declared brain-dead, meaning if my heart beat on but my brain wasn’t functioning, the state would have permission to cut into my warm and still flush flesh and take my organs to save other lives.” They added, “How funny that while my own heart would amount to nothing more than a series of involuntary movements on an operating table, a beating heart in my womb could mean I couldn’t consent to saving my own life.”

Halsey’s message comes after they responded to fans leaving a recent concert of theirs because of a Roe V. Wade speech they gave during it.

You can read Halsey’s full message with Vogue here.

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Travis Barker Is ‘Currently Much Better’ After Being Hospitalized For ‘Severe Life-Threatening Pancreatitis’

A cloud of concern came over the music industry last week when it was learned that Travis Barker was hospitalized for what was an unknown health issue at the time. Shortly after the news arrived, Travis’ daughter, Alabama Barker, took to social media and wrote, “Please send your prayers,” and prior to the announcement, Travis had tweeted, “God save me.” Both messages added to the worries of many. It was later revealed that Travis’ hospitalization was for pancreatitis (an inflammation of the pancreas), and now, thanks to a statement he shared on Twitter, we know more details about the matter.

On Saturday, Travis took to Twitter to update fans on his well-being. “I went in for an endoscopy Monday feeling great,” he wrote in on tweet, adding, “But After dinner, I developed excruciating pain and have been hospitalized ever since.” He added in a second post, “During the endoscopy, I had a very small polyp removed right in a very sensitive area, usually handled by specialists, which unfortunately damaged a critical pancreatic drainage tube. This resulted in severe life-threatening pancreatitis.”

Travis concluded his update with a final tweet, writing, “I am so very very grateful that with intensive treatment I am currently much better [prayer hands emoji].”

You can view Travis’ tweets above.

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Israel Adesanya Earned A Decision Victory Over Jared Cannonier At UFC 276

Israel Adesanya (23-1) had another stellar showing, earning a decision victory over Jared Cannonier (15-6) to retain the middleweight title at UFC 276 from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Before the fight could begin, Adesanya entered to the Undertaker’s music, with an urn that had “Jared” written on it and everything.

While neither fighter attempted to touch gloves before the bout started, both Adesanya and Cannonier were patient to find their openings in the first round. Adesanya tried to find his angles, but Cannonier was well scouted in evading the champ. Adesanya worked early on at chipping down the much stockier Cannonier with snapping leg kicks, happy to stay outside of the grasp of the challenger.

In the second, Adesanya used his length to walk Cannonier backwards, popping jabs and tossing the occasional head kick. Every time Cannonier tried to find his way inside, it was Adesanya sending him back with a slew of strikes. Adesanya continued to earn points with his shot snap leg kicks before opening it up a bit more and tossing a few combinations together.

The third saw Cannonier go for his first takedown of the fight, but Adesanya easily dispatched that attempt and toss his opponent into the Octagon. Adesanya was successful keeping his distance, with Cannonier lunging and looking for opportunities to get inside of the champion. Late in the round, he used a takedown shoot to get inside of Adesanya and chip away against the cage with strikes to the head and body. Cannonier had to deal with eating shots to get inside, but began to exchange more evenly with Adesanya with about a minute left in the round.

If the third was a breakthrough for Cannonier, the fourth was a momentum swing back in Adesanya’s direction. While Cannonier looked for opportunities in the way he did in the third, Adesanya kept him at bay for the most part, refusing to let the challenger get the same looks he did in the prior round.

Cannonier walked right across the Octagon and moved inside against Adesanya to open the fifth. He ate a handful of jabs immediately and never really got it going to make any significant damage to the champ.

After dropping a decision victory against Robert Whittaker in 2020, Cannonier earned his way into the title picture by knocking off Kelvin Gastelum via decision and knocking out fellow title contender Derek Brunson.

Following an unsuccessful move to light heavyweight in 2021, Adesanya has maintained his dominance over the middleweight division with decision wins over Martin Vettori and Robert Whittaker. After the fight on Saturday night, he mentioned his desire to fight Alex Pereira next. Earlier in the evening, Pereira — who has beaten Adesanya in kickboxing matches on multiple occasions — picked up a first round knockout over Sean Strickland.

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Alexander Volkanovski Picked Apart Max Holloway In A Decision Win At UFC 276

After falling in two consecutive decision losses to Alexander Volkanovski (25-1), Max Holloway (23-7) had to earn his way back into UFC featherweight contention. He needed decision victories over Calvin Kattar and Yair Rodriguez to show he could still hang with the top of the division. But Saturday night at UFC 276 from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, it was Volkanovski all over again as the featherweight champion successfully defended his belt via unanimous decision.

Holloway and Volkanovski spent much of the first round feeling each other out, testing their range and trying to find openings. Late in the opening round, the champion began to let his hands fly, waiting for Holloway to attack before ripping combinations. The last minute of the frame saw Volkanovski gain confidence, but Holloway quickly woke up and started to chip away at the champ.

Holloway never quite adjusted to Volkanovski‘s pace, despite walking his opponent around the cage. Volkanovski‘s counter strikes continued to pick apart Holloway late in the round, with a short hook opening a cut on Holloway.

The third was much of the same, with Holloway simply unable to cope with Volkanovski‘s hand speed and counter strike ability. Volkanovski peppered Holloway with jab after jab, putting combinations together as the challenger jumped in with strike attempts and opening up the gash above his left eye even further. Toward the end of the round, Holloway caught Volkanovski with a nice slew of shots of his own to open a cut in the center of the champ’s head.

Knowing he was down in the fourth, Holloway came out aggressively in the fourth, but still had trouble making the champ uncomfortable. Volkanovski again and again wore down Holloway with blistering jabs and punishing hooks and uppercuts.

In the fifth and final round, Holloway attempted a takedown early, but ended up in a body lock against the Octagon. For his part, Volkanovski Didn’t just coast through the final round, but continued to stand in and toss hands with Holloway until the final buzzer en route to all three judges scoring the fight 50-45 in his favor.

Heading into the main event Saturday night, Volkanovski had successfully defended the title twice outside of his win over Holloway, with a decision win over Brian Ortega and a TKO against the Korean Zombie. With his third defeat of Holloway, it’s hard to imagine the challenger getting a fourth shot at Volkanovski anytime soon.

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The Tigers Turned To A Brian Windhorst Meme To Celebrate A Walk-Off Homer

The Detroit Tigers trailed from start to basically the finish of their game on Saturday afternoon against the Kansas City Royals. We say “basically the finish” because the team allowed two runs in the top of the first, played from behind the entire time, and then, in the bottom of the ninth, Riley Greene went yard to give them a 4-3 win.

The team entered the half inning down by two, and after a strike out to start the frame, Victor Reyes took an offering from Joel Payamps and sent it into the bleachers. Greene stepped up to the plate next, took a ball on the first pitch, and then walked it off.

It was quite the moment for Greene, an ultra-talented 21-year-old outfielder, as it marked the first home run of his time in the majors. And after celebrating the dinger, the official Twitter account for the Tigers turned to the internet’s hot new meme — ESPN analyst Brian Windhorst while he’s breaking down the Royce O’Neale trade involving the Utah Jazz and Brooklyn Nets — and had some fun with the whole thing.

We’re 36 hours into Windhorst posting and I have still managed to laugh at every tweet we have seen about it.

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Report: The Nets And Lakers Are ‘Actively Engaged’ In Kyrie Irving For Russell Westbrook Trade Talks

While all the attention right now is where the Brooklyn Nets will trade Kevin Durant, there is another gigantic trade the Nets seem primed to pull off at some point this summer. Kyrie Irving, despite picking up his player option for 2022-23, reportedly wants to leave Brooklyn, too, putting the Nets in a position where they have two disgruntled stars and a whole lot of phone calls they need to take.

One destination has popped up for Irving all summer long: the Los Angeles Lakers. And according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the Lakers and Nets are “actively engaged” in discussion for a trade that will send Irving to Los Angeles and Russell Westbrook to Brooklyn. While he reports that there is “palpable optimism” something can be figured out sometime in the coming weeks, Haynes reports there are conversations happening around other players who can be packaged in the deal.

Draft compensation is an ongoing talking point for the Nets and they want shooting guard Joe Harris — who is recovering from left ankle surgery — and his remaining $38.6 million owed over the next two years included in the deal, sources said.

The Lakers have been disinclined to the inclusion of Harris, and are instead seeking the insertion of sharpshooter Seth Curry as part of the arrangement, sources said.

It goes without saying, but Irving and either sharpshooter would be a sensational fit around LeBron James and Anthony Davis, while the Nets appear focused on adding to their collection of draft picks which were largely cleaned out in the trade they made to bring James Harden to Brooklyn.

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Would Toronto Forfeit Its Future To Get Kevin Durant Right Now?

Mania, as defined by the dictionary and not in its deeper psychological nuance, is “an excessive enthusiasm or desire; an obsession.” Otherwise called compulsion. There is nothing compulsive about Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri, and that’s worth the reminder right off the top given the language that’s been tied to the franchise and their purported interest in the quixotic darling of this trade market, Kevin Durant.

That the Raptors have been described by Adrian Wojnarowski, one of the four horsemen of free agency, as “lurking” around the conversations between the Nets and the forerunner franchises on Durant’s own destination list of the Suns and the Heat makes sense. Toronto likes to be in the mix. It’s a vital constant for a franchise still considered an outlier as it is a signal of seriousness, to keep your team top of mind for potential collaborators and completion alike, and it isn’t just going through the motions. It’s much more likely that Ujiri and Raptors GM Bobby Webster have walked away from more deals than they’ve gotten done in their tenures not because they couldn’t close them, but because they couldn’t be compelled to.

The summer 2018 agreement that saw Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green come to Toronto for Raptors cornerstone DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a protected first-round pick had the feeling of being finished on a knife’s edge. It was sudden, sharp and clean. The possibility of Durant to Toronto has none of that feeling because the team is so wholly in a different place.

Brooklyn wants big names and picks for Durant, team owner Joe Tsai has made that clear. Tsai’s been backed into a corner by the player-led super team he paid a lot to build — he lost James Harden mid-season and it seems inevitable Kyrie Irving will want out after Durant makes his exit. For Toronto to satisfy his reported asking price, the team would have to lose two or three players crucial to its core culture and talent — some mix of OG Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr., and Scottie Barnes — and forfeit first-round draft picks, potentially for the next three consecutive years.

With Leonard, the Raptors roster was already competitive and incredibly deep. The price was steep in lore and the kind of production the team had seen up to then, but the payoff was immediate. It was a team already looking at less years together in front than behind them, too. With Durant, this Toronto team is one that’s only begun to get its feet under it. Barnes has developed in joyful, extraordinary strides; Trent Jr.’s become the team’s most reliable shooting threat (61% effective on his catch and shoot production, 51% on shooting overall) and Anunoby’s season-over-season honing of his in-game I.Q. has proved unnerving for some of the league’s most unflappable players.

Even if the return is one the best basketball players in history, the Raptors could still come up short. Beyond actual, physical roster spots — and there’s no guarantee a deal for Durant wouldn’t wind up including a sacrosanct star like Pascal Siakam — they’d have to scramble to fill while floating Durant’s $42,969,845 2022-2023 salary, it’s a deal that would forfeit the unexpected growth of last season. Last summer, in his first in-person presser back in Toronto after the team returned from Tampa, Ujiri stressed how crucial he considered it to create a home-grown, development intent team.

That was, he stressed, the way Toronto was going to get back to title contention. Obviously, a player like Durant offers an opportunity to get there a lot faster, but what Ujiri spoke about was larger than a one-off, it was foundational. Whether you want to call that approach “vision 6’9,” as Raptors fans have affectionately dubbed it, or simply the future of a post-Kyle Lowry team, it would end with Durant.

Toronto has never been a feast or famine team, it can’t afford to be. Yes, the perspective on the city and the franchise being a basketball destination is changing, but it’s a slow process. The NBA is already fickle, and in the last few seasons, superstars have taken to hop-scotching among marquee and big market teams. There’s no guarantee of the Raptors drawing stars or dependable role-players at any point during Durant’s potential stint with the franchise, and even if Barnes was somehow left out of the deal, there would be a drought of incoming young talent. That has been an important resource for Toronto, both in generating culture and as a means of showcasing how good players can get in the team’s developmental system. That would get put on hold, too.

Side-by-side, the Leonard and Durant opportunities look the same. While Durant’s under contract for four years, there’s no way to know how he would respond to going to a place that isn’t on his list of preferred destinations — perhaps he, like Leonard, could be a one-and-done before seeking a different challenge. Still, it was a surer thing with Leonard, even with the questions that proved to be unfounded about his health or his willingness to play, than it is, at this moment, with Durant.

Clearly, Durant wants a competitive win-now team, but he’s left two teams on especially bitter terms and looks set to do that with a third. Could Toronto, in its culture or “everyone has to do everything” approach to play, prove a good fit for a competitor like Durant, who might only need stability that frees him up to play basketball, the thing that he’s best at? Absolutely. But it still feels like a bigger gamble than the Leonard deal ever did.

Good leaders know when to change their minds, and Ujiri has shown that. He’s shrewd, rational, with a competitive bent and compassionate drive. All to say the deal is by no means impossible or off the table. Ujiri turned the Raptors into champions and Toronto into a sports city demonstratively proud of itself, but he’s always been the first one to say it isn’t enough, that he’s not finished. He’s hinted at a WNBA expansion in Toronto and has a hand in generating excitement around Canada Basketball’s men’s team and its bid for international notoriety. He is a person who wants to build beyond his own legacy. Durant, and the potential of another title for the Raptors, lends pretty well to that.

But while free agency does rattle and rush front offices, the narrative that Ujiri is more inclined to make a move because he’s been in this hot seat before implies a kind of desperation that the Raptors don’t have right now. Toronto and Ujiri being in the mix of the NBA’s most chaotic occasion doesn’t mean they’ve forgotten the most important thing about any big party: knowing when it’s time to make an exit.