Video Music Awards 2010: Biggest Hip-Hop Night Thus Far?

By Paul Cantor

Nas said hip-hop was dead. Four years later, though, the genre is alive and vibrant, and the 2010 VMAs are evidence of that. In fact, this year VMAs may be the most hip-hop ever.

From Eminem's just-announced opening performance to sets by Kanye West, Drake, Nicki Minaj, B.o.B, Swizz Beatz, Usher, and Mary J., not mention appearances by Rick Ross and Trey Songz, hip-hop will definitely be in the building at Sunday night's show.

But from the jump, veteran cts like Run-DMC, Queen Latifah and 2Live Crew delivered hip-hop to the VMAs. Here's a 10-year, VMA hip-hop refresher course.

2009 - Janet Jackson pays tribute to Michael Jackson to kick off the show. Kanye interrupts Taylor Swift on stage. Jay-Z closes the show big, but not before being stage-jacked by Lil Mama.

2008 - T.I. performs two big records and Kanye closes the show with "Love Lockdown." Travis Barker and DJ AM spin and Lil Wayne and T-Pain perform.

Hit the jump to ride the way-back machine...

2007 - Vegas baby, Vegas. Kanye, Timbaland, 50 Cent, T.I., Common, Cee-Lo and more perform on separate stages. Jay-Z and Rihanna win Video of the Year for "Umbrella" and Kanye throws a rant backstage after he feels his performance was snubbed.

2006 - Justin Timberlake and Timbaland win big. After being released from prison that very same day, Lil' Kim gets escorted onstage by two police officers in a prison jumpsuit. T.I. also appears.

2005 - Diddy actually hosted this year. In the midst of their rap feud, Fat Joe and 50 Cent face off and have words for each other during the awards ceremony. Jay-Z attends with Kanye West. The Game attends the awards show for the first time, also feuding with 50 Cent. R. Kelly performs "Trapped In the Closet." Mobb Deep attend the awards and also perform for the first time at the VMAs. This year also marks the first reggaeton-infused show, with Daddy Yankee, Don Omar and Tego Calderone all in attendance. Even MC Hammer performed.

2004 - This was the yacht show and the first time the VMAs were held in Miami. Usher, Diddy and others compete, arriving at the red carpet by yacht and trying to outdo one another's opulence. Outkast and Jay-Z tie for most awards. Jay-Z walks the red carpet. Also in attendance, Fat Joe, Lil Jon and the Ying Yang Twins, Nelly and others.

2003 - Jay-Z and Beyonce perform "Crazy In Love" together. Missy performs with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. 50 Cent has something of a coming-out party, winning Artist of the Year, multiple other awards and performing with Snoop Dogg after a landmark year. Fif's also presented an award by Run-DMC, minus the late Jam Master Jay, his mentor, who died a year earlier.

2002 - Eminem takes home four Moonmen, sweeping the night; gets into a fight with Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.

2001 - The King of Pop, Michael Jackson, makes a surprise appearance with N'Sync. Jay-Z performs. So does Ja Rule, with Jennifer Lopez.

2000 - Eminem wins a bunch of awards, performs with dozens of replica Eminems storming outside Radio City Music Hall.

1999 - The mothers of the late great Biggie and Tupac, Voletta Wallace and Afeni Shakur, come together for the first time publicly. Jay-Z wins big including Hip-Hop Video of the Year and performs. DMX is a no-show. Also, the infamous Lil' Kim exposes her breasts with the assistance of Diana Ross. Lauryn Hill takes home the Moonman for Video of the Year.

What year do you think was the VMAs' biggest year for hip-hop? Is it too early to tell? Let us know in the comments!