15 years in the game, Nicki Minaj maintains her spot on the throne. Making a hotly anticipated appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards, Minaj took the stage, revisiting her several iconic eras.
During her performance, Minaj, who is also pulling in double-duty hosting the show tonight alongside Jack Harlow and LL Cool J, opened briefly with her Pinkprint cut, “All Things Go,” before quickly transitioning into “Roman’s Revenge” from her debut album, Pink Friday. She briefly recreated the video for her Kanye West collaboration, “Monster,” before dancing her way into a pink salon to perform “Beez In The Trap.”
Surrounded by unitard-clad dancers, she performed breakthrough hits “Moment 4 Life,” and “Super Bass,” during the latter of which, Jack Harlow and Taylor Swift were seen lip-syncing in the audience
As she performed “Ananconda,” she was guarded by two CGI jaguars and surrounded by men in leather harnesses.
Minaj closed the performance with her latest hit, “Super Freaky Girl,” which has been her first solo single to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Following her performance, Minaj was presented the Video Vanguard award by members of her fan army, the Barbz.
She thanked her inspirations, Lil Wayne, Lauryn Hill, and Doug E. Fresh, as well as Beyoncé, Rihanna, Britney Spears, and even her once-rumored rival, Mariah Carey, for giving her “huge opportunities [she’ll] never forget” in the realm of music. She also paid homage to late rappers, Pop Smoke, Nipsey Hussle, and Juice WRLD, as well as her father, her cousin Richard, and former business manager Angela Kukowski.
“I wish that Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson were here,” she said. “I wish that people understood what they meant and what they were going through. Even if they seem to have the perfect life.”
Over the years, Minaj has won several VMAs, including Best Hip-Hop Video for “Super Bass” in 2011, Best Female Video for “Starships” in 2012, Best Hip-Hop Video for “Anaconda” and “Chun-Li” in 2015 and 2018 respectively, and Best Power Anthem for “Hot Girl Summer” with Megan Thee Stallion in 2019.
In addition to the Video Vanguard Award, Minaj is up for two other awards tonight, including Song Of The Summer for “Super Freaky Girl” and Best Hip-Hop for her Lil Baby collaboration, “Do We Have A Problem?”
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.