Last night’s MTV Video Music Awards at New Jersey’s Prudential Center was truly a flamboyant affair, featuring jaw-dropping performances from a slew of hip hop artists. Missy Elliott, Big Sean, Megan Thee Stallion were among some of the stars who graced the stage.
Hot Girl Meg kicked things off solo during the red carpet pre-show, turning the heat up with a performance of “Hot Girl Summer.” She later segued into Fever cuts “Big Ole Freak” and “Cash Shit.” Country trap prince Lil Nas X—who won Song of the Year for “Old Town Road” with Billy Ray Cyrus—also shone during his performance. The viral star transformed his latest 7 single, “Panini,” into a sci-fi spectacle complete with sleek choreography, a Tron-inspired set and an army of glowing dancers.
Other highlights included onstage collaborations from Bad Bunny and J Balvin, who teamed up for “Qué Pretendes” from their Oasis joint album, and Big Sean, who debuted his new single “Bezerk” with A$AP Ferg.
But the biggest star of the night was undoubtedly Missy Elliott, who was honored with the Video Vanguard award for her “cultural-shifting, forward-thinking videography,” as MTV put it. The rapper put on a show-stopping seven-minute-long medley performance of her greatest hits, which included “Get Ur Freak on,” “Lose Control” and “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly).” Missy even brought out Alyson Stoner, the dancer who appeared in the rap star’s 2002 “Work it” music video as a child, for a surprise reunion.
During her acceptance speech, Missy dedicated the award to “the dance community all around the world.” “Because when y’all get on the stage with these artists, y’all are not just props. Y’all are the icing on the cake,” she said. “Y’all are the beat to the heart.”
Although Cardi B wasn’t part of the performance line-up, the rapper still managed to make a scene-stealing appearance during the awards show after she bagged the Best Hip Hop award for her “Money” music video. “Thank you, Jesus!” she yelled during her speech.
The two-hour-long ceremony was brought to an end with a tribute to The Garden State as Redman, Fetty Wap, Naughty by Nature and Wyclef Jean brought decades of rap classics to the stage. New Jersey native Queen Latifah ultimately shut the show down by arriving on stage on a motorbike to perform her 1993 hit, “Unity.”
Catch up on all the hip hop performances at the 2019 MTV VMAs below.
“Hot Girl Summer,” “Big Ole Freak” and “Cash Shit” by Megan Thee Stallion:
“Panini” by Lil Nas X:
Missy Elliott medley:
“Qué Pretendes” by Bad Bunny, J Balvin:
“Bezerk” by Big Sean, A$AP Ferg:
New Jersey tribute by Queen Latifah, Redman, Fetty Wap, Naughty by Nature, Wyclef Jean: