Even without Kanye, rap had fun.
On Monday, the world stopped spinning while humans across the globe were captivated by the MTV Video Music Awards. Or something like that, anyway.
Last year, Kanye stole the show with a four-minute speech of unfiltered Yeezy and the premiere of his “Fade” music video, which is still incredible today. But this year, he was notably missing — except in the form of being subtly shaded in the music video for Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do.”
But even without hip-hop’s loud-mouthed hero, rap had a decent showing at the VMAs, providing some of the show’s funniest, strangest moments:
1. Lil Uzi Vert’s post-win interview
After winning the VMA for Song of the Summer for his dark, enchanting hit “XO Tour Llif3,” Lil Uzi Vert showed off his weirdly hilarious oddball charm in an interview with MTV. “I will be bringing the Moonman to all my shows so all of you guys can touch it,” Uzi promised before showing off his trademark shoulder shimmy, making this arguably one of the greatest interviews of our generation.
2. Gucci Mane performs “Down” with Fifth Harmony
Even without Gucci, Fifth Harmony’s performance would have been one of the best at the VMAs. But Gucci, rocking a Gucci suit, naturally, stole the show with a quick, witty verse before immediately walking off-stage. Because a good entertainer knows not to overstay his welcome.
3. Kendrick Lamar performs “DNA.” and “HUMBLE.”
Kung Fu Kenny aka Cornrow Kenny aka Kendrick Lamar delivered a scorching performance of the two biggest bangers on his latest release DAMN. — and the VMAs delivered a fiery (literally) lightshow to match. All in all — it was lit.
4. Young Thug learning he won a VMA and his colorful thank you
Greatest Artist Alive Young Thug, who won the VMA for “Best Editing” for his brilliant “Wyclef Jean” video, apparently was never informed of his big win.
So no one was going to tell me that I won an award??
— Young Thug ひ (@youngthug) August 28, 2017
But that didn’t stop him from delivering a heartfelt “gracias” on Instagram:
I MUST THANK GOD FIRST💕💕💕 I wanna thank my dad for nutting in my mom, and I wanna thank my mom for carrying and hav’N me 😊 A post shared by “”JEFFERY”” (@thuggerthugger1) on Aug 28, 2017 at 7:21pm PDT
“I wanna thank my dad for nutting in my mom, and I wanna thank my mom for carrying and hav’N me,” Thugger wrote. Beautiful.
5. Cardi B shouted out Colin Kaepernick while presenting a segment
The “Bodak Yellow” rapper went off-script while presenting a segment at the VMAs and spent time colorfully shouting out NFL player Colin Kaepernick, whose national anthem protests have prevented him from finding work in football. “Colin Kaepernick, as long as you kneel with us, we gonna be standing for you, baby. That’s right, I said it,” she said.
— Women’s March (@womensmarch) August 28, 2017
Bonus Worst Moment: Ed Sheeran Performing “XO Tour Llif3”
Cardi B’s expression just about summed it up: