Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown, Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Tyler, The Creator Rock the 2011 VMAs

Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown, Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Tyler, The Creator Rock the 2011 VMAs

On Aug. 28, music’s biggest stars collided at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards. And while many  are still talking about Beyoncé’s big baby announcement, the night was also rife with big wins from the likes of Nicki Minaj, Kanye West and Tyler, the Creator as well as eye-popping performances from West, Jay-Z, Chris Brown and Lil Wayne.

Hip-hop’s royal kings, Jay-Z and Kanye West, were one of the first performers to  light up the VMA stage with a surprise performance. West, sporting a fitting denim getup and an American flag bandanna, and Jay-Z, simply dressed in jeans and white tee, sauntered out on the floor with a slew a pyrotechnics before excitedly trading verses to their Watch The Throne hit “Otis.”

Hip-hop continued to dominate the VMA’s as rap’s pint-sized queen of the mic, Nicki Minaj, bagged her first ever VMA win as Odd Future presented her with the Best Hip-Hop Video Award for her flamboyantly colorful video, “Super Bass.” While accepting her award, the equally flamboyantly dressed rapstress, who brought her assistant and alleged boyfriend, Safaree “SB” Samuels on stage with her, thanked her Young Money crew and called Lil Wayne “the best rapper alive.”

Minaj’s hip-hop pal and “Monster” collaborator, West, also scored a win, later in the evening, when he took to the stage with pop princess Katy Perry to accept the award for Best Collaboration for their futuristic video, “E.T.” While onstage, Perry joked about West’s previous VMA controversy, remarking, “Now this is the time where you want to interrupt me, Kanye,” Perry joked. West laughed at her comment and called her “brave” for inviting him on the song despite his former VMA interruption controversy.

Shifting gears from hip-hop to R&B, Chris Brown wowed the crowd with a high-flying performance as he paid tribute to 90’s icons Wu-Tang Clan and Nirvana. During a mash-up performance of “Yeah 3X,” “Protect Ya Neck,” “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Beautiful People,” the singer sported an all-white suit, flying through the air on wires while backed by several dancers.

Of course, the evening’s highlight came with a performance from glowing mom-to-be Beyoncé, who brought a bit of sunshine to the stage with a joyful rendition of her 4 song, “Love On Top,” ending her performance by opening her jacket and rubbing her growing belly as cheesing father-to-be Jay-Z was cheered on by an ecstatic West.

The singer also took home a Moonman of her own, beating out Lady Gaga and Britney Spears for the Best Choreography award for her “Run The World (Girls)” video.

The evening’s surprises didn’t end with Beyoncé. Rising rap star Tyler, The Creator was greeted with a welcome surprise when he beat out fellow competitors Wiz Khalifa, Big Sean and Kreayshawn to win the Moonman for Best New Artist for his bizarre video, “Yonkers.” The clearly shocked rapper rushed the stage along with his Odd Future brethren let off an expletive-filled acceptance speech. “I’m about to cry,” he said, and dedicated the award to his “little brother,” Earl Sweatshirt.

The night, which also featured a party-starting performance from Pitbull and Ne-Yo and an Amy Winehouse tribute, courtesy of Bruno Mars, ended with a show-stopping performance from Lil Wayne. Tha Carter rapper crooned to the audience as he sang his current hit, “How To Love,” before launching into a high-octane performance of “John” as a backing band appeared, playing the riff from Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man.”

Wayne, who seemed unconcerned with censoring his lyrics, jumped around the stage screaming “yeah” before making his way into the audience, chest bumping Rick Ross and other friends.

What did you think of the 2011 VMAs? Let us know in the comments section. –nicholas robinson

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