Once a year, pop music’s biggest stars converge into The Forum in Inglewood, California for MTV’s biggest celebration of the year, the Video Music Awards (VMAs). Due to Kanye West award antics, Miley…being Miley, and the power of Twitter, the VMAs remain one of the year’s most talked about events. Sadly, it never seems that people talk about the VMAs because of the artists. While we do appreciate our share of cultural drama, we appreciate our emerging artists even more.
This year’s Best New Artist category at the VMAs is packing a lot of heat. Kodak Black, Khalid, SZA, Young M.A., Julia Michaels, and Noah Cyrus are all nominated to win the moon man this year. We’ve already covered these artists a ton already and since Award shows tend to get the winners wrong so often, lets take a look back at the times MTV actually got the Best New Artist category right.
1. Guns N’ Roses - 1988
The VMAs started in 1984 and in its fourth year of the “Best New Artist In A Music Video” category, it finally started to get things right. In the previous years, Madonna, Sade, and Whitney Houston all lost the award to lesser talent. Guns N’ Roses won the category this year riding the wave of success from their debut album Appetite For Destruction and their hit single “Sweet Child O’ Mine.”
Other Nominees: The Godfathers, Buster Poindexter, Swing Out Sister, Jody Watley
2. 1992 - Nirvana
In 1992, Grunge music was achieving mainstream success because of bands like Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and Nirvana. Nirvana dropped their debut album Nevermind in 1991 and the surprising success of the hit single “Smells Like Teen Spirit” helped propel them to the forefront of pop culture and their very first moon man.
Other Nominees: Tori Amos, Arrested Development, Cracker
3. 1996 - Alanis Morissette
1996 was a great year for women in music. Songs from Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Toni Braxton, Whitney Houston, Brandy, and more were dominating the Billboard charts. In 1996, all of the nominees for Best New Artist were women but Alanis Morisette took home the moon man (or should we say moon person). Her debut album Jagged Little Pill blew up after KROQ in LA placed her single “You Oughta Know” in heavy rotation. Her star kept rising from then on and she won the award for her video for “Ironic.”
Other Nominees: Jewel, Tracy Bonham, Garbage
Fun Fact: This was the year that the Macarena came out. I hope you now feel as l do.
4. 1999 - Eminem
The real slim shady made his big award show splash at the 1999 VMAs. Eminem’s quadruple-platinum debut album, The Slim Shady LP, dropped in February 1999 and went on to be one of the most impactful hip-hop projects of that year. Eminem took home the award for the “My Name Is” video and marked the first time that a rapper won the Best New Artist category.
Other Nominees: Kid Rock, Orgy, Jennifer Lopez
5. 2001 - Alicia Keys
The early 2000s was a great time for music. It seemed as if every genre was pumping out classic material. In June of 2001, R&B was blessed because Alicia Keys released her debut album Songs In A Minor. “Fallin” was the lead single off of the project and helped her solidify herself as a powerful new voice in modern music. Even though Coldplay was also nominated and went on to achieve more global success, it took a few more years for their star to start shining brighter.
Other Nominees: Sum 41, Coldplay, Nikka Costa, David Gray
After 2001, the VMAs got a little inconsistent with their criteria for best new artist choices and received some backlash but music is subjective anyway, amirite? But I digress. With the VMAs set to make some memorable social media headlines for the coming week, I’m going to make my 2017 Best New Artist prediction. Khalid should be taking home the moon man this year. If not, at least he still has these two fly ass dogs.