Hip-hop represented in a major way at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards. While only a handful of artists actually won Moonmen during Sunday night’s ceremony, rap superstars like Jay-Z, Kanye West and Lil Wayne all gave blockbuster performances.
Jay and Yeezy—collectively known as The Throne—shocked viewers by arriving together onstage to recite their hit single, “Otis,” in front of a huge American flag banner. During their unannounced set, one excited fan tried to join in on the fun, but was quickly escorted backstage by security.
That wasn’t the only surprise Jay had in store for fans, though. During his wife Beyoncé’s performance later in the night, the pop star announced to the world through some choice lyrics and by rubbing on her tummy, that she was pregnant with the rapper’s baby.
Mr. West picked up an award for Best Collaboration for his hit song with Katy Perry, “E.T.” While accepting the trophy, he made sure to give a shout out to fellow nominee, Chris Brown for his Busta Rhymes and Lil Wayne-assisted smash, “Look At Me Now.”
Brown followed with a high-flying, jaw-dropping performance that included an ode to Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and Wu-Tang Clan’s “Protect Ya Neck.”
Other rap winners included Nicki Minaj, whose clip for “Super Bass” won for Best Hip-Hop Video and Tyler, the Creator, who picked up an award for Best New Artist.
Weezy closed out the show with a high-energy performance that came in two parts. First the Young Money leader, who was introduced by signee Drake, showed off his softer side with a rendition of his Tha Carter IV single, “How to Love,” and then he stripped his shirt off and displayed his vicious skills as an MC with “John,” running across the stage in tight animal print jeans and colorful Vans.
As previously reported, Wayne’s long awaited album, Tha Carter IV, was made available digitally directly after the VMAs and is currently sitting atop the iTunes albums chart only an hour after its on-sale date. The physical CD will be in stores on Monday. —Elan Mancini