Hip-hop’s presence was felt Sunday night (November 20) at the 39th annual American Music Awards. While only a handful of artists were nominated, YMCMB’s Nicki Minaj represented in a major way.
Opening the show with David Guetta to perform their party smash “Turn Me On”while rocking a futuristic ensemble, followed by the up-tempo “Super Bass,” the Young Money rapstress went on to beat her boss Lil Wayne and Kanye West to win both the Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist Award as well as Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Album for her 2010 debut Pink Friday.
“This one could actually make me cry, “ the Black Barbie rejoiced after accepting the latter award. “I can’t believe this is happening. I have to thank God and Lil Wayne because without [them] I would not be here.” Although Wayne wasn’t in attendance, the YMCMB general did garner three nominations for Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Album, Favorite Rap Artist and Artist of the Year.
50 Cent also made an appearance during the night, introducing Chris Brown’s performance before calling him “the Main Event.” Brown delivered, as he performed his F.A.M.E. cuts “All Back” and “Say It With Me” backed by stunning dance moves, visual effects and back-up dancers. Later on Ludacris joined Enrique Iglesias onstage to rock the crowd with their “Tonight” collab.
The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, Mary J. Blige blessed the stage with “Mr. Wrong,” sans Drake, off her forthcoming My Life II…The Journey Continues (Act 1) before paying tribute to her late friend. “Rest in peace to my dear friend, the lovable, the great Heavy D,” she mourned. “I miss you so much, brother.”
Before the night was over, YMCMB kept things in motion as Drake—sporting all black everything—held court on stage performing his No. 1 single “Headlines” backed by his live band.
“If we talking ‘bout the numbers, then its looking like 700, they know,” he boasted during his performance about projected sales for his Take Care album, which hit stores last week. As previously reported, Drake’s sophomore effort is expected to land on top of the Billboard 200 by moving an estimated 675,000-725,000 units. Stay tuned to xxlmag.com for the official sale numbers. —Ralph Bristout