Those who were old enough to live through the peak-MTV era probably remember Dave Grohl randomly shouting "Axl! Axl! Where's Axl? Hi, Axl!" after Nirvana's "Lithium" performance at the 1992 VMAs. The odd moment (which included Krist Novoselic's bass smacking him in the face) wasn't explained until a few years ago.
In Krist's 2008 Seattle Weekly article, he revealed that an annoyed Axl Rose told Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love "Keep your woman in line," after Court exclaimed he was their baby's godfather. The backstage incident led to Nirvana trolling MTV by playing a few chords of "Rape Me" prior to "Lithium," and Grohl's aggressive shout-out to the Guns N' Roses frontman. So what's the lesson here? Don't mess with a rock star's wife.
The comedian and the drag queen proved to be one of the worst pairings in VMA history, because they clearly did not get along. After Milton Berle groped RuPaul's breasts prior to them presenting the Viewer's Choice Award, she snapped back with this retort: "So you used to wear gowns, but now you're wearing diapers." The whole situation was just uncomfortable.
This "WTF" moment had all the signs of becoming iconic, thanks to Madonna's diva-like stature juxtaposed with Courtney Love's wacky rocker sass. Madge was having a simple, no-fuss post-show interview with Kurt Loder before Love decided to interrupt by tossing her makeup at them. The rest is VMAs history.
Fiona Apple's poetic nature bled through her now-infamous speech at the 1997 ceremony, where she opted not to thank anyone (except her mom and sister) for winning Best New Artist. "This world is bullshit. You shouldn't model your life on what we think is cool, and what we're wearing and what we're saying and everything. Go with yourself," she boldly stated.
During Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera's introduction speech to Whitney Houston, Xtina threw slick shade towards Eminem, after he famously rapped about her and Fred Durst in 2000's "The Real Slim Shady." The feud continued to simmer two years later, when Em accepted the Best Male Video award from the very annoyed Xtina herself (so sneaky, MTV).
That very award Eminem won in 2002 for "Without Me" was also met with another feud, courtesy of Moby and Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog. Let's start from the beginning: the rapper called out Moby in the song, stating, "And Moby? You can get stomped by Obie." The singer didn't take too well with that, and Triumph brought it up during the show.
Eminem clearly wasn't pleased: "That little Moby girl threw me out of my zone," he uttered during his acceptance speech, which was met with a sea of boos. Add in Christina Aguilera presenting the award and you have a glorious trifecta of shade!
This is another case of when two rock star bad boys are caught at the wrong awards show at the wrong time. Tommy Lee and Kid Rock, who were both the ex-husbands of Pamela Anderson, got into a fist fight after Kid Rock found his nemesis sitting in his seat. The rap-rocker later explained the scuffle was a long time coming after Lee continuously sent him "extremely disrespectful" things from Pamela's Blackberry.
This historic moment, which continues to hold strong to this day ("Famous," anyone?), doesn't bear much explanation. Everyone from your grandmother to your high school math teacher remembers watching a Henny-fueled Kanye West snatching Taylor Swift's crown, after she won the award for Best Female Video. "Imma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all-time!" Ye exclaimed before shrugging his shoulders and storming off the stage. Bey and Taylor's faces are utterly priceless.
A revved-up Nicki Minaj gave us the amazing sound bite, "Miley, what's good?" during last year's ceremony. Prior to the show, Miley Cyrus called out Minaj in a New York Times interview, saying that she's "not too kind" after the rapstress felt she was snubbed by the VMAs.
Fast forward to the ceremony, and Minaj fired back during her acceptance speech for Best Hip Hop Video. “Now, back to this bitch that had a lot to say about me the other day in the press. Miley, what’s good?” Minaj said with a fervor that was oh so New York and very menacing.
Miley, who was hosting that year, tried to ease the drama by saying, “Hey, we’re all in this industry. We all do interviews and we all know how they manipulate [beeped]. Nicki, congratulations.” But the historical damage was already done.