Heavy metal and rap are two incredibly powerful forces of music, and over the years, their popularity and impact on pop culture have only expanded.
In the early ’90s, each genre was scapegoated for moral failings and violence by politicians and right-leaning conservative groups. It’s because of such attacks and judgments though that, in 1992, Metallica members Kirk Hammett and Lars Ulrich, along with legendary rapper and Body Count frontman Ice-T took to the stage at the MTV VMAs and defended both heavy metal and rap.
Per footage of this moment that has been uploaded to YouTube, Ulrich, Hammett, and Ice take to the stage to present the award for “Best Rap Video.” While up at the microphone, these artists use their time to champion the art forms of metal and rap, talking about how successful both genres are. Ulrich is the first to talk, and per the Metallica drummer, he shares the following (as transcribed by The Pit):
“Time to read the queues. Let’s see, it says ‘Heavy metal has gotten a bad WRAP – get it? – over the last couple of years from the conservative asspicks [sic] of the mass media. Also from certain members of the music business who continue to be jealous of the fact that rap and heavy metal are more successful than ever; and also offer fun and release for all the people involved [pointing to himself, Hammett, and Ice].
“‘And last, but not least, all the ‘supposed’ – keyword – guardians and ‘torchbearers’ of, you guessed it – ‘the family values.'”
Hammett is the next to speak, and when he leans into the microphone, he playfully shares the following: “That’s why we’re glad Ice-T has a metal band now, we think he’ll clean up our image.”
Ice then leans in and provides his contribution to defending heavy metal and rap. Per Ice: “And like metal, rap has always been maligned, misunderstood, underestimated. This next award is in recognition of rap as an art form, and as a force of music that’s here to stay.”
For millions of people around the world, heavy metal and rap provide profound solace and joy. It’s so awesome to see how Ulrich, Hammett, and Ice came together to support these two incredible art forms.
You can watch this amazing moment play out for yourself via the video below.