Watch The Weeknd, A$AP Rocky, Pharrell & Kanye West Each Get Their Due At The 2015 VMAs
Sunday night brought on the latest installment MTV's VMAs--music's least polite (and possibly least-relevant) honors ceremony. And rather than re-hash the controversial, the contentious and the completely crazy, we'd like to highlight some of the most genuinely important moments that seem to already have slipped from the news cycle's grasp (Kanye West of course not withstanding).
The show hit an early peak thanks to The Weeknd, who stepped out onto the stage to perform his mega-hit "Can't Feel My Face," much to the enjoyment of a dancing Kanye. A$AP Rocky also turned out an excellent mini-set, running through both "L.$.D." and "Ms" with the help of a live band. Pharrell pitched in as well, performing two numbers outside on the VMA's downtown LA stage.
There was also, of course, the matter of Kanye's Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award, which became an extended diatribe on the nature of American culture, branding, politics and art. Yeezy's full speech can (and should) be watched below, but we've isolated our favorite portion:
I still don't understand award shows. I don't understand how they get five people who work their entire life, won, sell records, sell concert tickets, to come, stand on a carpet and for the first time in their life, be judged on the chopping block and have the opportunity to be considered a loser. I don't understand it, bro! I've been conflicted. I just wanted people to like me more. But fuck that, bro! 2015. I will die for the art for what I believe in and the art ain't always gonna be polite.
High profile awards aside, hip-hop acts did indeed take home quite a few moon men. Snoop Dogg's brilliant "So Many Pros" clip netted a well-deserved award for Best Art Direction, while Flying Lotus's religiously riotous "Never Catch Me" got honored with best cinematography. Kendrick Lamar, whose epic "Alright" video was repeatedly snubbed during the TV broadcast, finally got a bit of shine with the best director award, but in this blogger's humble opinion, the 2015 VMAs was the night that K Dot got robbed.
But then, this is MTV--take their assessment of the musical-visual zeitgeist with truckload of salt. In a media landscape dominated by hit-and-run vines, viral hashtags and instantaneous hot-takes, the Viacom-ruled music company seemed even more sluggish and lazy than ever last night. Rather than put together a poignant, well-produced show, MTV seemed to instead throw the reins to Miley Cyrus and social media managers across the world. It's true that music culture, even the mainstream tract that congratulated itself for two televised hours last night, moves too fast for MTV to ever hope to steer anymore. But at least they could show a little effort next time around.
2015 VMA Winners:
Best Hip-Hop Video: Nicki Minaj, "Anaconda"
Best Video With a Social Message: Big Sean featuring Kanye West & John Legend, "One Man Can Change the World"
Best Collaboration: Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar, "Bad Blood"
Best Male Video: Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars, "Uptown Funk"
Best Female Video: Taylor Swift, "Blank Space"
Best Direction: Kendrick Lamar, "Alright" (Colin Tilley & the Little Homies)
Best Cinematography: Flying Lotus feat. Kendrick Lamar, "Never Catch Me" (Larkin Sieple)
Best Art Direction: Snoop Dogg, "So Many Pros" (Franois Rousselet, Jason Fijal)
Best Editing: Beyonc, "7/11" (Beyonc, Ed Burke, Jonathan Wing)
Artist to Watch: Fetty Wap
Best Rock Video: Fall Out Boy, "Uma Thurman"
Best Pop Video: Taylor Swift, "Blank Space"
Song of the Summer: 5 Seconds of Summer, "She's Kinda Hot"
Best Choreography: OK Go, "I Wont Let You Down" (OK Go, air:man and Mori Harano)
Best Visual Effects: Skrillex and Diplo feat. Justin Bieber, "Where Are U Now" (Brewer, Gloria FX, and Max Chyzhevskyy)
Video of the Year: Taylor Swift featuring Kendrick Lamar, "Bad Blood"