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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

2023 VMAs: A throwback concert

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five perform during the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards on Sept. 12. Several hip-hop artists joined together to give a standout performance that honored 50 years of hip-hop. (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Nicki Minaj hosted the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards which focused on celebrating 50 years of hip hop and the music videos that further shaped the songs we all know and love. 

Lil Wayne opened the show with a fiery bang by performing hit songs such as “Uproar,” “Kat food” and “Back That Azz Up.” Quickly after the jump up-and-down feel of Wayne ended, Olivia Rodrigo followed the famed rapper by performing “vampire” and “get him back!” 

Rodrigo’s punk performance was iconic, given that she copied her “vampire” music video by making it seem like the set was falling apart by having curtains crash to the ground and lights making loud popping noises. Everyone who didn’t watch the music video was scared that something was wrong with the stage, and celebrity reactions to Rodrigo were priceless. 

Nicki Minaj came on stage in a pink lace dress, welcoming the first presenters of the night which was one of the most iconic moments of the show. NSYNC reunited for the first time in a decade to present the first award of the show, Best Pop,  which went to Taylor Swift for her song “Anti-Hero.” Before giving her speech, Swift speculated that the reunion of NSYNC must mean they’re going to be releasing new music soon, saying what we all were thinking. 

Megan Thee Stallion, Cardi B and Demi Lovato gave electric performances that made the show feel like a concert before the next awards of the night were given out to Stray Kids for Best K-Pop and Taylor Swift for Song of the Year for her hit “Anti-Hero.” 

Swift went on to win seven more VMAs that night, making her total number of VMAs 23. Swift’s awards are well deserved, but I felt like artists such as SZA, Olivia Rodrigo and Nicki Minaj got cheated out, as some of the category wins should have gone to one of them. 

Shakira was this year’s winner for the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard for her contribution to the music industry and her impact on Spanish music. Instead of the award being a silver astronaut, like the other awards, the Video Vanguard award is gold, marking its significance. 

Much like how the Grammys wait until the end of the show to give out Album of the Year, as it’s the biggest award of the night, the VMAs has its highly anticipated award for Best New Artist. This category is teased throughout the show and what’s different about this award is that voters can still vote while the show is going on. 

Dove Cameron, the 2022 Best New Artist, presented the award this year and passed the torch onto Ice Spice, who was competing against artists such as Peso Pluma and Rennee Rapp. Ice Spice’s win was expected and very well deserved, as her music blew up this year with hits such as “Munch,” “Deli,” and her collaboration with Minaj for “Barbie World” featured in the “Barbie” movie. 

In celebration of 50 years of hip-hop, generations of rap and hip-hop collided to give the best performance of the night. Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, LL Cool J and more came together in an unstoppable performance that was worthy of a standing ovation. These artists reminded everyone as to why the hip-hop genre should be honored because of how vast and unique it is. 

Between the awards given out and the musical performances, the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards was a show of throwbacks and iconic moments that will go down in VMA history. 

To view the complete list of winners, visit the MTV website

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