The MTV VMAs Beefs We’ll Never Forget
The MTV VMAs are always full of killer red-carpet looks, epic performances, and memorable acceptance speeches. But they also always have their fair share of drama, and we can’t even pretend we’re not totally here for it.
Ahead of the 2017 MTV VMAs, we’re looking back at some of the biggest beefs in VMAs history — and daydreaming about the drama to come.
Kurt Cobain vs. Axl Rose (1992): After a year of trading insults through the press, the frontmen of hair metal holdovers Guns N’ Roses and breakout grunge stars Nirvana came face to face backstage at the 1992 MTV VMAs. The story goes that Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain’s wife, Courtney Love, while holding the couple’s baby daughter, teased GnR’s Axl Rose, asking him to be the godfather, and Rose told Cobain to keep a handle on his wife. After Nirvana performed, drummer Dave Grohl stoked the fire, repeatedly saying, “Hi, Axl!” into the mic.
Beastie Boys vs. R.E.M. (1994): Remember the Beastie Boys’ iconic “Sabotage” video? In ’94, director Spike Jonze seemed like a shoo-in for Best Director for the clip. R.E.M.’s decidedly more serious “Everybody Hurts” won instead, and the Beastie Boys’ MCA (AKA Adam Yauch) rushed the stage as his Swiss alter-ego Nathaniel Hornblower to protest the “outrage.” This would go down as the first speech interruption in VMAs history — but, of course, not the last. *SUSPENSEFUL MUSIC*
Rage Against the Machine vs. Limp Bizkit (2000): How’s this for some aughts rap-rock nostalgia? When Limp Bizkit’s “Break Stuff” beat Rage Against the Machine in the Best Rock Video category, Rage’s bassist Tim Commerford stormed the stage, climbed a huge set piece above the band, and refused to come down. He was later arrested and spent a night in jail.
Eminem vs. Moby (2002): Not unlike the ’90s Nirvana and Guns N’ Roses beef, this one had been in the works for a while. After Moby called Eminem’s music racist, homophobic, and misogynistic the year prior, Eminem clapped back by dissing Moby in his song “Without Me.” Eminem performed the song and won Best Male Video for it at the VMAs, and when Moby booed him, Em said pointedly, “I will hit a man with glasses.”
Kid Rock vs. Tommy Lee (2007):Pamela Anderson‘s ex-husbands came to blows at the 2007 VMAs. During Alicia Keys’ performance, Tommy Lee and Kid Rock got into an argument — and it quickly turned into a fistfight. Rock was later cited for misdemeanor battery, but ultimately, no charges were filed.
Russell Brand vs. the Jonas Brothers (2008): We knew Russell Brand would have some salty stuff to say when he hosted the 2008 VMAs, but we didn’t expect him to take it out on the Jonas Brothers. After insulting the band of bros for showing up with promise rings, he called them ungrateful for not “having sex with any woman they want.” Nick, Kevin, and Joe Jonas have spoken out on a few occasions about Brand’s remarks, saying they felt he just needed a hug — which they would have been happy to give him.
Kanye West vs. Taylor Swift (2009): The most legendary MTV VMAs beef of all time (“ALL TIME!”). In 2009, when Taylor Swift won Best Female Video for “You Belong With Me” over Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies,” Kanye West stormed the stage during her acceptance speech, grabbing the mic from her and saying those words that are burned into your memory forever: “I’mma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time!” West later apologized and they made up, but old wounds were reopened when #ReceiptGate happened in 2016.
Taylor Swift vs. Harry Styles (2013): Swift threw some shade at her ex-BF Styles when, during her Best Female Video acceptance speech for “I Knew You Were Trouble” (about Styles, duh), she pointedly thanked “the person who inspired this song.” She also could be seen mouthing “shut the f**k up” when Styles and One Direction presented an award.
Miley Cyrus vs. Nicki Minaj (2015): Three days before Miley Cyrus was to host the 2015 VMAs, she said some less-than-friendly words about Nicki Minaj in a New York Times interview. Minaj had called out inequality and lack of representation at the awards when her “Anaconda” video was locked out of the Video of the Year category, and Cyrus said Minaj did not act “polite” about it. When the rapper won the Best Hip-Hop Video award, she called out Cyrus with a “Miley, what’s good?” heard around the world. Cyrus claims her words were manipulated.
What’s your favorite MTV VMAs memory? Let us know @BritandCo!
(Photo via Christopher Polk/Getty)