The MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) are usually host to some of the wildest performances and appearances in music and pop culture.
Since their debut in 1984, the VMAs have seen controversy, celebrity fights, public meltdowns, and just plain ol’ inexplicably weird shit.
I mean, what else would you expect when you throw the world’s biggest stars in a room together and let the cameras roll?
This year’s VMAs will be hosted by Katy Perry, not the most inspiring choice I suppose, but there will surely be no shortage of headlines as the VMAs rarely fail to entertain.
But what are some of those particular occasions of entertainment? I present, the most hotboy moments in VMAs history.
Britney Spears “Slave 4 U” performance with python
Ah yes, B Spears. Remember her?
During the height of her powers, there was simply no bigger star in pop music than Britney Spears. Her transition from America’s sweetheart to sex symbol happened rather abruptly and was capped off by this 2001 performance of “Slave 4 U” with a Burmese Python.
Britney pranced around the stage in Amazonian garb with a damn python wrapped around her.
Perhaps the whole large snake thing was a tool to take attention away from Spears’ less than stellar dance moves, but regardless, the image of her draped in a python has become one of the enduring images in VMAs history.
Fiona Apple proclaims “this world is bullshit”
After winning the 1997 VMA for “Best New Artist” a 20-year-old Fiona Apple got on stage and let go in a semi-unhinged, semi-real as fuck diatribe about identity and celebrity.
Before thanking her mother, Apple stated that people shouldn’t worry about perception,
“This world is bullshit… You shouldn’t model your life on what we think is cool, and what we’re wearing and what we’re saying and everything. Go with yourself.”
This sort of anti-celebrity attitude would come to define Apple’s career over the years after her massive debut as a teenager in the pop world.
She has spurned attention and adulation over the years, but she always has kept it very real.
Kanye West announces presidential run
After accepting the 2015 Vanguard Award, ironically presented by Taylor Swift, Kanye West went on one of his rants, claiming that he might have smoked “a little something” and then announcing a 2020 Presidential run.
But don’t be fooled, it’s not about politics, it’s about the people,
“When I talk about the idea of being president, I’m not saying I have any political views. I don’t have views on politics, I just have a view on humanity, on people, on the truth. If there’s anything that I can do with my time and my day, to somehow make a difference while I’m alive, I’m going to try to do it.”
It remains to be seen whether Kanye will follow up on this claim. Not sure it’d be the best thing ever, but it’d surely be entertaining?
Spoiler alert: this will not be Kanye’s only appearance on this list.
MCA, or Nathaniel Hornblower, interrupts Michael Stipe
After R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe went to accept the 1994 VMA for “Best Music Video,” the late great Beastie Boy MCA went up in costume to proclaim the award “a farce.”
MCA advocated on behalf of Spike Jonze, director of the Beastie Boys’ video for “Sabotage” while playing a Swiss agitator,
“This is an outrage, because Spike is the director that has just — I’m from Switzerland, OK? Let me just tell everyone that.”
It all got rather weird as MCA was dragged off stage and Stipe was clearly unamused by the whole thing.
This is just one of those moments that make MCA a legend.
Michael Jackson invents award
The 2002 VMAs were hosted on Michael Jackson’s 44th birthday so it seemed appropriate to have somewhat of a celebration of the King of Pop.
Britney Spears introduced Jackson, declaring him “the artist of the millennium” and presented him with a cake and a little personalized trophy.
Jackson, in typical Jackson fashion, kind of just did his thing from there, graciously accepting the “Artist of the Millennium award,” which does not in fact exist.
“When I was a little boy growing up in Indiana if someone told me I’d be getting the Artist of the Millennium award, I’d never have believed it.”
Who was gonna tell him any differently?
Rage Against the Machine bassist climbs set
Oh rap metal, how we miss you.
At the 2000 VMAs Limp Bizkit and Rage Against the Machine were both up for “Best Rock Video,” which really says a lot about that particular time in music.
Regardless, when Limp Bizkit won, Rage bassist Tim Commerford climbed onto one of the set designs and began to cause quite the scene.
Fred Durst, unable to really process what was going on, declared Commerford “real rock and roll.”
While it may have been real rock, not everyone was pleased, and Rage lead singer Zach de la Rocha was apparently so incensed that the incident was one of the factors that led to Rage’s breakup.
Madonna, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera kiss
During the 2003 VMAs, Madonna was joined by Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera for a recreation of Madonna’s legendary “Like A Virgin” performance 19 years prior.
With B Spears and Aguilera looking to shed their Disney-curated images, who better than Madonna to spice things up?
It surely helped those artists further distance themselves from the Mickey Mouse Club, but easily the best part of the clip is Justin Timberlake trying to keep a straight face during the whole thing.
Did you expect anything else…?
I can’t tell if Kanye is an award show genius or literally the worst person to have at an award show possible.
Do we even have to explain what happened here? Eh, it’s worth going over. Taylor Swift won the 2009 VMA for “Best Female Video” and Kanye crashed the stage stating,
“Imma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all-time!”
This might just be the most infamous moment in recent pop culture. And while that may seem hyperbolic, it’s come to define the careers of two of the biggest stars of the generation.
The dust settled and everything seemed cool between these two after a couple apologies and albums later, with Swift introducing Kanye for the aforementioned Vanguard Award back in 2015.
But things then got heated again when Kanye rapped on his song “Famous” that “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex/ Why? I made that b*tch famous.”