Nicki Minaj's ascent to American Icon continued tonight as she picked up her fifth and sixth-ever American Music Awards, almost as many BET Hip Hop Awards and half as many BET Awards as she's earned throughout her stellar career.
The night began with a tribute that only Jenny from the Block could have delivered –– a mashup of choreography to all songs popular including Nicki's "Anaconda," Beyoncé's "7/11," The Weeknd's "Can't Feel My Face," and enough of Drake's "Hotline Bling" to get another round of memes going.
The Weeknd, who was recently gifted an official Michael Jackson Victory Tour jacket, then jumped off the night's awards winning his first-ever AMA, following an introduction from Prince. He beat out Chris Brown and D'Angelo and the Vanguard for Favorite Album - Soul/R&B, sparking the only beef of the night: Tank wanna know why Tyrese, who was there presenting, wasn't even nominated for his No. 1 album, Black Rose.
None of the excitement was lost on Nicki, who eventually bested J. Cole's 2014 Forest Hills Drive and Drake's If You're Reading This It's Too Late for her trophy (Canada still made noise, though, when Alanis Morisestte took the stage with 1995's "You Oughta Know").
"I know this award is about fans voting," Nicki said, after dancing her way to the podium for the Favorite Album Rap/Hip-Hop win. "... PinkPrint was the hardest album I ever had to do, be a part of, perform on stage every night." Thank you, she said, for "allowing me to change... You have to find your voice and find your purpose before it's too late."
She added in a shout out to Fetty Wap's incredible year, when she nabbed the Favorite Artist - Rap/Hip-Hop award.
The evening went on with performances from The Weeknd, Ariana Grande, and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis who premiered a new song ("Kevin") about the pharmaceutical industry and the American Dream with singer Leon Bridges. Celine Dion dedicated her performance to Paris, and Justin Bieber closed out the show.
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Watch: Music News: BET Breaks: Nicki Minaj 'Rises' to the Occasion in the video below.
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