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Jay-Z + Kanye West Surprise 2011 MTV VMA Audience With Explosive ‘Otis’ Performance

Kanye West Jay-Z
Daniel Boczarski, Getty Images

Jay-Z and Kanye West helped kick the MTV Video Music Awards into a higher gear with a fireworks-heavy performance of ‘Otis’ from their new ‘Watch the Throne’ album.

As the show headed into its first commercial break, the announcer promised a “special surprise performance” upon its return, and even though the secret of the duo’s appearance was much-rumored over the weekend, the twin rap legends still managed to thrill the crowd.

Things started off very dramatically, as the camera panned over a hushed crowd, then down the hallway of the electric Georgia o’Keeffe-inspired stage as the opening Otis Redding sample of the song began. Soon, a shower of sparks and flash of pyrotechnics welcomed our heroes to the set.
From there, they alternately strutted, prowled and posed their way across the floor, refusing to even acknowledge the knucklehead who rushed the stage (and was promptly escorted off the premises). It was an impressive, energetic performance, but then again, what would you expect from these two?

Watch Jay-Z and Kanye West Perform ‘Otis’ at the 2011 MTV VMAs

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