The MTV Video Music Awards are upon us. The popular cable network has definitely changed drastically over the years – putting its once eponymous ‘Music’ on the backburner. Their flagship award ceremony acts a nice bit of nostalgic entertainment for the channel, still a celebration of the year in music.

Incepted in 1984, the VMA’s have acted as a platform for artists in various stages in their career to cement their legacies and earn respect. In its lifetime, the VMA’s have also seen (and embraced) the rise of Hip Hop in popular music, playing host to many awards and moments for the genre.

Let’s get hype for the upcoming 2015 broadcast and counted down the Top VMA Rap Moments.

 


Eminem 2000

MTV VMAs: Top Hip-Hop Moments

Eminem The Real Slim Shady & The Way I Am

Year: 2000

 

Known for his unhinged and no-holds-barred music videos, for his first VMA’s performance of the new millennium Eminem had a high standard to meet at the award ceremony that celebrated the recorded meaning. To match the anything goes aesthetic of his videos, Em was accompanied by 100 Slim Shady lookalikes from the streets of New York City and into Radio City Music Hall while performing the appropriate “Real Slim Shady.”  Round that off with a triumphant traditional performance of “The Way I Am” and you have yourself a memorable set.

Oh, and he was introduced by Jim Carrey. Not bad.

Kanye West Debuts Runaway

MTV VMAs: Top Hip-Hop Moments

Kanye West Debuts Runaway

Year: 2010

The enigma that is Kanye West has turned the VMA’s into an outlet for outrageous moments for years now, that goes without saying. But Yeezus’ 2010 performance wherein the controversial Kardashian beau not only just debuted “Runaway” off of his then yet to be released My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, but it also served as an appetizer for the paradigm shift in West’s music and brand in general. If the visually striking set and light design didn’t sell you on the performance, perhaps the ballerinas did it for you. Not to mention an always welcomed Pusha T appearance.

 

RUN DMC Finally Gets Some Stage Time

MTV VMAs: Top Hip-Hop Moments

Year: 1999

I’m mad at Kid Rock for finding his way on this list, but 1999 was a weird year that allowed for guys like him to share the stage with Run DMC and Aerosmith as the whipped out their classic “Walk This Way” collaboration. It was a rare TV appearance that consisted of the entire Run DMC act, including the late Jam Master J.  For a tandem that did so much for hip hop, it would be remiss to leave them off the list of top rap VMA moments.

 

Eminem’s VMA Debut Alongside Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg

MTV VMAs: Top Hip-Hop Moments

Year: 1999

You know that the marketing mastermind Dr. Dre wouldn’t let his protege Eminem’s first VMA performance go off quietly. Not only did he assist Em in a creative take on their “Guilty Conscience” collaboration, but he brought his buddy Snoop Dogg out to perform “Ain’t Nothin’ But a G Thang” as a killer encore.

 

Beyonce Receives the Vanguard Award from Blue Ivy and Jay-Z

MTV VMAs: Top Hip-Hop Moments

Year: 2014

While this year’s Vanguard Award will be going to their buddy Kanye West, last year’s VMA’s honored Queen B Beyonce with her own special Moonman. It was a special honor, but was made even more special for Beyonce and viewers alike when it became a tender family moment. Beyonce’s career was highlighted and Jay-Z presented the award to her, their daughter Blue Ivy in his arms. #Tearjerker.

 

Hip Hop’s First Family Performs Together for the First Time

MTV VMAs: Top Hip-Hop Moments

Year: 2003

You can never have too much Beyonce and Jay-Z, really. So, keeping with the trend, next on the list comes the couple’s first on stage appearance with each other. Performing their sultry “Crazy in Love” single, the chemistry is palpable. It is hard to deny Beyonce, though especially after her intoxicating performance of “Baby Boy” that preceded Hov’s appearance.

Puff Daddy Pays Tribute To Notorious BIG

MTV VMAs: Top Hip-Hop Moments

Year: 1997

Mere months following the tragic murder of Biggie Smalls, Puff Daddy’s tribute to his friend that  sampled The Police’s “Every Step You Take”  had taken the charts by storm. At that year’s VMA broadcast, Puff was joined by all the track’s featuring vocalists: Faith Evans, 112, and the original creator of the chorus – Sting of The Police. The result is a goosebump-inducing and spellbinding performance that encapsulates the pain that the tragic loss brought on in a transformative way.