Though most notable for their usage as a political platform this year, the VMAs were otherwise outright owned by Kendrick Lamar.
Already leading the pack with eight nominations, the rapper walked away the night’s big winner, after picking up the awards for best video, best hip-hop video, best art direction, best visual effects, best cinematography and best direction.
Lamar certainly didn’t shy away from the show’s political themes, either; his performance, which struck the stage like a lightning bolt, opened on a Fox News segment complaining about the lyrics to his track “Alright”: “we hate po-po/ Wanna kill us dead in the street fo sho”.
He then launched into “DNA” with astounding force, eventually ending up in a ring of karate practitioners with a guy in the centre breakdancing while on fire (impressive). Once he got onto “Humble”, the entire stage wall burst into flames as the stunt performers scrambled up and down the inferno.
It’s a showstopper of a performance; theatrical, certainly, but Lamar’s full throttle delivery could out shine any number of dudes on fire.