The MTV Video Music Awards took a page from the GRAMMYs’ tried-and-true tome by placing Twenty One Pilots and A$AP Rocky together on the same stage Sunday night. Going in, it wasn’t too steep a challenge; the Ohio duo’s brand of rock-infused electro-pop and alt–hip hop was always going to find at least a bit of a kindred spirit in the New York rhymer’s oddball rap, especially since 2015’s wide-ranging At.Long.Last.A$AP.
By the time the trio—who, according to a Billboard interview, had still never even met two days ago—hit the stage, it was evident the matchup wouldn’t crash and burn, thanks to a hodgepodge of songs from both artists’ albums, including Twenty One Pilots’ “Lane Boy” and Rocky’s “L$D.” The gig got a supercharge from drummer Josh Dun while Rocky and Pilots vocalist Tyler Joseph traded off verses on each other’s songs, ending with a nod to the fact that they were, in fact, performing on the VMAs.
Both artists have 2015 releases to shill at this time: Rocky with his aforementioned A.L.L.A., and Twenty One Pilots with their Blurryface, both No. 1 records upon release.