DaBaby’s “Rockstar,” featuring Roddy Ricch, just racked up its 11th week at the top spot on Billboard’s Songs of the Summer chart, and the Charlotte-based rapper brought his hit to the 2020 Video Music Awards. DaBaby is up for four awards this year, including Artist of the Year, but this marked his first time on the awards-show stage. “Get your popcorn because you’re dealin’ with Baby,” teased the Charlotte-based rapper on the VMAs Pre-Show when asked about his main show performance.
As the show’s hostess Keke Palmer noted, DaBaby’s powerful performance spoke to the cultural moment, particularly in the wake of national uprisings in response to the deaths of unarmed Black citizens George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many others. The performance kicked off with the rapper, wearing Lakers colors in what appeared to be a tribue to the late Kobe Bryant, dancing in a dark room.
Seems chill — until, suddenly, it wasn’t. DaBaby is arrested, handcuffed, and placed in the back of a police car, where a masked member of the hip-hop dance crew, the Jabbawockeez, danced beside him as he performed his song, “Blind.” Eventually, DaBaby was seen stomping on top of the police car. The New York cityscape lit aflame behind, as the Jabbawockeez broke it down around him.
In addition to Artist of the Year, DaBaby is also up for Best Hip-Hop and Best Choreography for “Bop,” and his Camila Cabello team-up “My Oh My” is up for Best Cinematography.
The 2020 VMAs have kicked off across MTV’s linear and digital platforms, as well as with several outdoor performances around New York City. Find the complete winners list here and everything else you need to know at vma.mtv.com.