It’s been almost four years since Rihanna made a surprise cameo during Em’s set at the 2010 VMAs, so it’s safe to say that this was a bit overdue. This time, however, the 26-year-old singer was the one first to appear on stage at the Staples Center, just a silhouette against the smoky red background.
As she began to belt her lyrics into the mic, the lights remained dim, keeping the focus on her vocals. And when Eminem finally emerged from stage left, everything was illuminated clearly.
Shady immediately began to spit his rap-fire bars at the crowd, while Rihanna got into some head-banging that would’ve made Lorde proud. She kept it casual for this performance, accessorizing a short white dress and bomber jacket with a “Fear” headband, to complement the track.
Throughout the performance Em and Rih kept the crowd energized from opposite ends of the stage, before finally meeting in the middle to deliver the last few moments of “Monster.” Then it was only fitting to wrap it all up with a hug.
In November, Eminem told MTV News that it was a no-brainer to work with Rihanna on the song, which appeared on his most recent album The Marshall Mathers LP 2. “As soon as I got the beat, I just heard her on it,” he said. “She smashed it, like she does always. It’s pretty incredible.”
In 2010 they opened the Video Music Awards with a memorable performance of “Love the Way You Lie” and went on to deliver “Love the Way You Lie (Part II)” at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards in 2011. They’ll go on to share plenty of other moments on stage this summer, when their Monster Tour kicks off on August 7.