This year, Nicki Minaj is back to rule the MTV Video Music Awards as both a performer and the evening’s host.
As part of a redesign of the conventional hosting role, Minaj co-hosted the VMAs with LL Cool J and Jack Harlow last year. As things stand, she will take charge of the proceedings alone this time and announce the artists, presenters, and winners. (Even if Minaj is in charge, it’s unclear how the VMAs will handle the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike, which has delayed other award ceremonies.)
In addition to serving as host, Minaj will play “Last Time I Saw You,” her newest song, in front of a live audience for the first time. The song was the rapper’s latest offering off her much-awaited new album Pink Friday 2, which will be released on November 17.
A total of five VMA nominations have been made for Minaj this year, including Artist of the Year and Video of the Year for “Super Freaky Girl.” The “Super Freaky Girl” clip got nominated for Best Visual Effects, Best Hip Hop, and Best R&B for Minaj’s duet with Yung Bleu, “Love in the Way.”
Minaj being chosen for the 2023 VMAs makes sense since she assisted in directing the show’s proceedings last year. She not only led the program alongside Harlow and LL Cool J but also took home the Video Vanguard Award and performed classics throughout her career.
As for Pink Friday 2, it will be Minaj’s first true full-length release since 2018’s Queen and a sort of continuation of her wildly successful 2010 debut Pink Friday. Although the album’s full tracklist hasn’t been revealed, Minaj has been gradually releasing songs over the past few years, including “Super Freaky Girl,” which reached No. 1 in 2022, “Red Ruby Da Sleaze,” and now “Last Time I Saw You” (she also co-wrote “Barbie World” for the Barbie soundtrack with Ice Spice).
After the latter song was released, Minaj remarked in an interview with Zane Lowe, “I simply wanted the next song that I put out to show my progress. not only as an artist but also as a person. I’ve indeed encountered a lot of things that I hadn’t in the previous five years.