How do you make the MTV Video Music Awards debut of Nicki Minaj, one of the hottest new MCs in the game, even more major? Add one of the most sought-after producers reppin' one of the biggest groups in the world: will.i.am.
When Minaj takes the stage at the VMA pre-show, which kicks off Sunday at 8 p.m. ET live from Los Angeles, she will be joined by the Black Eyed Peas frontman for her first-ever televised performance as a solo artist. Will and Minaj will rip the stage with their peppy hip-pop single "Check It Out."
"I love Nicki," Will told MTV News at the BMI Urban Awards on Friday night. "I love the song that we're doing, 'Check It Out.' She's fresh."
"I am truly honored to be a part of this year's VMAs. Just yesterday I was an underground female rapper. See, Barbz? Dreams do come true," Minaj said about rocking the pre-show, where she'll also perform "Your Love."
Minaj is also vying for her first Moonman at this year's awards. The femcee is up against Justin Bieber, Ke$ha, Jason Derülo and Broken Bells for Best New Artist. The sharp-tongued lyricist revealed that nabbing her first VMA nod was an unreal experience.
"I feel like I've died and gone to heaven," Minaj told MTV News in August after learning she was up for some hardware. "I definitely thought I'd get one someday, but not before I put the album out. I never thought I'd get a nomination [this year]. ... I didn't even think I'd get invited!"
The Queens MC was especially amped about being recognized as one of the breakout artists of the past year.
"Someone sent me an e-mail saying congratulations and I was like, 'For what?' And they said, 'For the VMA.' And I was like, 'What was I nominated for?' And when they said, 'Best New Artist,' I just started screaming."
Do you think Nicki Minaj will score the Best New Artist trophy? Make your predictions in the comments!
The 27th annual MTV Video Music Awards will be broadcast live from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday. The party starts with MTV News' VMA Pre-Show at 8 p.m., followed by the main event at 9 p.m. ET/PT.