The 25 Most Memorable Performances at the MTV Video Music Awards

We're reliving the classics

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The 2021 MTV Video Music Awards will take place this Sunday, September 12, 2021, at 8:00 PM EDT, and to celebrate the occasion we thought it would be fun to revisit some of the most memorable performances in the history of the show. We’re not gonna lie, this article right here was a tough call with a lot of anxiety-driven questions. How many do we include? Is this list too 90s and 2000s heavy? What about the 1980s? Who did we leave off? Beyonce has six performances and every single one of them are all-timers, so should we bump the list up to 30 or perhaps 50?

Ultimately we wanted to give you a nostalgic blast from the past, and there are a lot of great performances that we feel haven’t always gotten the proper attention and recognition. Unfortunately we couldn’t include every single one, but here’s 25 to brighten your day.

25. Diddy, Usher, Ginuwine, Busta & Pharrell- 2002 VMAs

24. TLC Crazy Sexy Cool Medley- 1995 VMAs

23. NSYNC Medley 2000

23. Green Day 2005 VMAs

21. Blink 182- 2000 VMAs

20. Missy Elliot- 2001 VMAs

19. Ludacris- 2002 VMAs

18. Beyoncé- 2003 VMAs

17. Prince- 1991 VMAs

16. Usher- 2004 VMAs

14. Beyoncé- Ring The Alarm 2006 VMAs

13. Mariah Carey 1991 VMAs

12. Jennifer Lopez and Ja Rule- 2001 VMAs

11. Eminem- 2000 VMAs

10. Jay-Z and Kanye- 2011 VMAs

9. Alicia Keys- 2001 VMAs

8. Janet Jackson 1993 VMAs

7. Michael Jackson- 1995 VMAs

6. Nirvana- Lithium

5. Madonna- 1984 VMAs

4. Madonna, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Missy Elliot- 2003 VMAs

3. Britney Spears- 2001 VMAs

2. Puff Daddy, Sting, Faith Evans, 112- 1997 VMAs

1. Beyoncé- 2011 VMAs

We'll that's it for today. We could probably go all day with these throwbacks, but we hope you enjoyed this list. Be sure to watch the VMAs on Sunday, and while you are here, make you check out The landmark Smithsonian Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap box set if you haven't already. The set includes 120 tracks, 9 cds, a 300 page book with 10 essays, extensive track-by-track liner notes, and never-before-published images. You can find out more about the box set here, and learn more about many of your favorite Hip-Hop artists and songs. Perfect for any music fan.

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