MTV has planned a generation-spanning tribute performance in celebration of hip-hop’s 50th anniversary for the 2023 Video Music Awards. On Tuesday night, the awards ceremony will conclude with a grand finale performance from Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, LL Cool J, Doug E. Fresh, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.
The VMAs return to Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey this year, not far from where hip-hop was first born in New York. It’s a fitting setting for a night that will see LL Cool J take the stage at the show as a performer for the first time in more than two decades.
The genre’s greats are taking up a fair amount of real estate on the lineup. Lil Wayne will perform his recent single “Kat Food” earlier in the night before returning for the tribute, marking his first VMAs performance in more than a decade.
Nicki Minaj will be inescapable throughout the show as she serves as both MC and a performer, and she’s set to deliver a live rendition of her latest single “Last Time I Saw You.” Last year, she MC’d the show alongside LL Cool J and Jack Harlow in addition to performing a career-spanning Video Vanguard Award medley.
A few years ago, at the 2019 Video Music Awards, MTV rounded up a crew of hip-hop heavyweights to close out the show in a similar way. The year’s lineup included Queen Latifah, Naughty by Nature, Redman, Fetty Wap, and Wyclef Jean.
Though they won’t be featured in the hip-hop 50 tribute, a number of other rappers will take the stage and represent the genre on Tuesday night. Between the pre-show and main event, the VMAs will see performances from Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B, A Boogie Wit da Hoodie, Future, Metro Boomin, NLE Choppa, Kaliii, and more. Additionally, hip-hop mogul Diddy will be presented with the third-ever Global Icon Award and deliver his first VMAs performance since 2015.