It’s Barbie’s world if you’re still in doubt. As the 2023 VMAs return to Newark, New Jersey’s Prudential Center, on September 12, rapper Nicki Minaj will be on double duty for the evening.
Minaj is set to reprise her dual role from last year as emcee and performer for 2023 MTV Video Music Awards.
Last year, Minaj emceed the show with LL Cool J and Jack Harlow. She also performed a nine-song medley keyed to her receiving the Video Vanguard Award. This year, she’s flying solo as emcee and is performing her new single, “Last Time I Saw You.”
MTV’s announcement of Minaj’s booking never once mentions the h-word – host. It instead refers to her as the “emcee” several times. But it sure makes it sound like she’s hosting: “Minaj will announce the show’s star-studded lineup of performers, presenters and winners.”
This marks the first time someone has fronted the show two years running since comedian Russell Brand did the honors in 2008-09.
Last year, in addition to serving as emcee and performer, Minaj won best hip-hop and received the Video Vanguard Award, which this year is set to go to Shakira.
Minaj has won six VMAs from 25 nominations. She has six nominations this year – artist of the year; video of the year, best hip-hop and best visual effects, all for “Super Freaky Girl”; best R&B for “Love in the Way”; and song of summer for “Barbie World” (a collab with Ice Spice that features Aqua).
Minaj has won best hip-hop four times, more than anyone else in the show’s history. (Drake is in second place with three wins.) She won for “Super Bass” (2011), “Anaconda” (2015), “Chun-Li” (2018) and “Do We Have a Problem,” a collab with Lil Baby (2022).
Minaj has also won twice in other categories. She won best female video in 2012 for “Starships” and best power anthem in 2019 for Megan Thee Stallion’s “Hot Girl Summer” (on which she was featured, along with Ty Dolla Sign).
It’s hard to imagine, but Minaj was booked on the VMAs’ pre-show in 2010. She teamed with will.i.am to perform “Your Love” and “Check It Out.” She graduated to the main telecast in 2012, delivering an unexpected rap verse on Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire.” In 2014, she staged a trifecta, first taking fans to the Amazonian jungle with “Anaconda,” then teaming up with Ariana Grande and Jessie J for “Bang Bang,” and finally offering “She Came to Give It to U” with Usher.
In 2015, Minaj’s performance again formed a trio of songs, starting with “Trini Dem Girls,” before bringing Taylor Swift on stage for “The Night Is Still Young” and “Bad Blood.” She reunited with Grande in 2016 for “Side to Side,” and shared the stage with host Katy Perry in 2017 for a performance of “Swish Swish.”
Her 2018 performance featured a rap medley from her album Queen, featuring “Majesty,” “Ganga Burn,” “FEFE” and “Barbie Dreams.”
With the addition of social categories, Taylor Swift leads all nominees for the 2023 VMAs with 11 nods, followed by SZA (eight); BLACKPINK, Doja Cat, Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj and Rodrigo (six each); Kim Petras and Sam Smith (five each); and Beyoncé, Diddy, Drake, Ice Spice, Karol G, Metro Boomin, Shakira and TOMORROW X TOGETHER (four each).