The 2023 MTV Video Music Awards will close with a salute to hip-hop’s 50th anniversary. Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, Doug E. Fresh, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and LL Cool J will join previously announced performers Lil Wayne and show emcee Nicki Minaj for the segment. The VMAs are set to air live from Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on Tuesday, Sept. 12, at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
This will be McDaniels’ first VMAs performance since Run-DMC’s historic pairing with Aerosmith’s Joe Perry and Steven Tyler to close the 1987 VMAs, where they performed their genre-blending smash “Walk This Way.” Run-DMC was the first rap group on MTV and was also the first to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone. The trio was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009.
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five was the first rap group to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (2007), and also the first to receive a lifetime achievement award from the Recording Academy (2021).
LL Cool J was one of three emcees of last year’s VMAs, along with Minaj and Jack Harlow, but this will be his first VMAs performance in more than 25 years. LL won a VMA for best rap in 1991 for “Mama Said Knock You Out.” In 1997, he became the first hip-hop artist to receive the Video Vanguard Award. He was also the first rapper to receive the Kennedy Center Honor (2017).
In addition to his role in the 50th anniversary of hip-hop spot, Lil Wayne will perform his new single, “Kat Food.” This will be his first VMAs appearance in more than a decade. Minaj will perform her latest single, “Last Time I Saw You.” Last year, she dominated the event as emcee, performer, winner of best hip hop, plus recipient of the coveted Video Vanguard Award.
BACARDÍ Rum is partnering with the VMAs for the 50th anniversary of hip-hop tribute performance, along with the debut of custom BACARDÍ content featuring Don Toliver and DJ Premier. BACARDÍ is the first spirits brand to sponsor the VMAs.
On Friday (Sept. 8), BACARDÍ launched the BACARDÍ Vintage pop-up in New York City: a shoppable retrospective of hip-hop fashion, featuring exclusive BACARDÍ and VMA merch.
Many award shows have saluted the 50th anniversary of hip-hop since the Grammys kick-started this anniversary year on Feb. 5 with a massive 24-song segment that included The Roots, Black Thought, LL Cool J and Lil Uzi Vert.