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After quietly being added to the performers lineup at Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards just days before the ceremony took place, Kanye West and Jay-Z took the stage for the second performance of the night.
After coming back from a commerical break, Otis Redding‘s “Try a Little Tenderness” began playing, the song featured on the duo’s “Otis,” from their album Watch the Throne. Fire surrounded the stage during the pair’s performance, with a steady stream of fireworks.
Jay-Z, whose wife Beyonce announced on the red carpet that she was expecting the couple’s first child, wore a black baseball cap and a white T-shirt with West wearing a funky shirt. In the middle of the performance, a large American flag unfurled behind Jay-Z and West.
The performance — complete with smoke machines — was highly anticipated due to the people involved, though MTV did not advertise the team-up for the awards ceremony. A pan-over into the celebrity-filled audience included a close-up of Justin Bieber, who brought his pet snake with him to the VMAs.
The performance was brief, lasting several minutes, with the VMAs going right into another category afterwards. Later on in the ceremony, West won a best collaboration moonman for the song “E.T.” with Katy Perry, who joked about West interrupting her speech.
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