Nicki Minaj’s 2022 VMA Performance Was Worth the Four-Year Wait

Nicki Minaj has not been to the VMAs for a few years, but the show she just gave us just made up for all the lost time. The rapper gave big Barbie tingz energy and was draped in all pink everything—from her hair to her shoelaces—to start the show, and then quite literally had holograms of pink panthers show up later.

The iconic rapper took us down memory lane too, delivering portions of “Beez in the Trap,” “Moment 4 Lyfe,” “Super Bass” and that “Monster” verse.

Arturo Holmes//Getty Images

Taylor Swift was so impressed in the end, she encouraged everyone around her to join her in giving Nicki a standing ovation.

It’s only right that Nicki put on a stellar performance like this since she is this year’s recipient of the 2022 Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, which is a huge honor. Madonna, Janet Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, and Missy Elliott were all previous awardees, as well as David Bowie and The Beatles.

On top of that renowned award she’s set to take home, Nicki is also nominated for her single “Do We Have a Problem?” in the Best Hip Hop category. She’s also one of the night’s three hosts, alongside Jack Harlow and LL Cool J.

It’s hard to believe that Nicki has been a staple at the VMAs for 12 years now—she attended and performed at her first VMAs in 2010, and received her very first Moon Person in 2011 for “Super Bass.” Her fashion has really evolved since then. Here she is, in 2011:

2011 mtv video music awards red carpet

Christopher Polk//Getty Images

And in 2012:

nicki minaj on the red carpet at the mtv video music awards in 2012

PA Images//Getty Images

But by 2014, Nicki simmered it all down a bit:

2014 mtv video music awards red carpet

Kevin Mazur//Getty Images

This year is Nicki’s first time back at the annual award show since 2019. Last year, the rapper was slated to perform, but suddenly pulled out last minute and said she’d provide an answer “another day.” In response to a fan’s tweet that asked, “Are you performing at the VMAs ??????,” Nicki responded: “I just pulled out. I’ll explain why another day. But I love those guys at MTV. Thank you Bruce (Gilmer). I love you so much. Next year we there baby.”

And she is!!!! A woman of her word.

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