VMA Hip-Hop Moments: Five Most Unforgettable Memories


By Bridget Bland

Over the years, MTV’s Video Music Awards have become synonymous with talked-about show moments. And while their awards show presence has been felt most in the last five years, rap stars have generated their fair share of very memorable happenings, both behind the scenes and in front of the camera. Here’s our look at the five most memorable hip-hop moments.

Kanye West Interrupts Taylor Swift’s Acceptance Speech (2009):
No hip-hop VMA moment is more talked about than when Kanye West, a frequent VMA performer, decided to bum-rush the stage during Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for Best Female Video. The ‘Power’ rapper, who was spotted carrying a bottle of Hennessy on the red carpet shortly before the show started, interrupted Swift by proclaiming, “Yo Taylor, I’m really happy for you. I’m gonna let you finish, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time.” The cameras panned to Bey who looked on from the crowd, stunned. West was later escorted out of the awards show and has since apologized to Swift for ruining her big VMA moment.

Lil Mama Crashes Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ Performance (2009):
After Kanye West jumped onstage at the 2009 Video Music Awards and interrupted Taylor Swift’s big VMA moment, viewers thought they’d seen the last of the stage-crashers, but they were wrong.  While closing out the night with their blockbuster hit “Empire State of Mind,” Alicia Keys and Jay-Z had their performance interrupted by rapper and “America’s Best Dance Crew” judge Lil Mama. She jumped onstage, planting herself between the two superstar artists and, after acting as their hypeman for the last few minutes of the track, even posed with her arms crossed in between them. Lil Mama later revealed that she was so moved by the performance she thought that Hov was encouraging her to come on up.

Lil’ Kim’s Return From Jail (2006):
What’s a better way to say welcome home from jail than showing up at the VMAs to present an award? That’s exactly what Lil’ Kim did back in 2006. It’s hard to top having Diana Ross flick your boob on national television, as at the 1999 VMAs, but her entrance in 2006 was definitely notable. The pint-size rapper, fresh from serving a 10-month jail sentence walked onstage accompanied by two men dressed as guards. She ripped off her orange prison jumpsuit to reveal a gold bustier and told the crowd, “I want to thank you for keeping your lighters up for me. It feels good to be home, here in New York.”

50 Cent and Fat Joe Take Their Feud to the VMAs (2005):
No rap beef got uglier than what took place between 50 Cent and Fat Joe at the 2005 VMAs in Miami. While the Terror Squad head honcho was onstage announcing a reggaeton performance, he decided to joke, “I feel safe with all the police protection, courtesy of G-Unit,” a dis aimed at 50′s crew. Cameras failed to show the Queens MC walking around through the aisles at American Airlines Arena right before Joe took the stage and attempting to get to his rap rival. Later in the broadcast, Tony Yayo ended his performance by calling Joe “Fat Boy,” to which 50 chimed in “Fat Joe is a pu—. F— Joe. F— Terror Squad.” Luckily, neither crew came to blows, though.

Afeni Shakur and Voletta Wallace Honor Their Slain Sons (1999):
The mothers of slain rappers Tupac Shakur and the Notorioius B.I.G., Afeni Shakur and Voletta Wallace, alongside actor Will Smith, put the rap beef between their sons aside when they united for the first time during the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards. Both women, who have fiercely continued the legacies of their offspring, presented the Best Rap Video Award to Jay-Z, while an incredibly supportive crowd of entertainers, gave them a standing ovation. Hov added, “B.I.G., Tupac forever, y’all, hip-hop music.”

There are sure to be more notable hip-hop moments at this year’s festivities. The 27th annual MTV Video Music Awards will be broadcast live from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday. The party starts with MTV News’ VMA Pre-Show at 8 p.m., followed by the main event at 9 p.m. ET.