Usher Reflects on Slapping Nicki Minaj’s Butt at 2014 MTV VMAs: ‘I Shouldn’t Have Smacked Her’

Usher may have taken some heat from spectators for getting cozy with Alicia Keys during his 2024 Super Bowl Halftime Show on Feb. 11, but while he has no apologies for that moment, he does want to walk back something else he did on stage a decade earlier.

While chatting with Charlamagne Tha God and Jess Hilarious on a previously recorded interview that aired during The Breakfast Club on Monday (Feb. 19), the eight-time Grammy winner reflected on a moment from his 2014 MTV Video Music Awards performance alongside Nicki Minaj, during which he got a little handsy at one point. “Have you seen some of your old moments, like when you were on stage with Nicki Minaj and you were headbuttin’ her a–? Why was you so unhinged?” host Charlamagne asked him of the performance, which also included Usher slapping the “Super Freaky Girl” rapper’s bottom.

At first, the “Burn” crooner tried to explain and laugh it off a little. “Absolutely! That was Jamaican culture! So you gotta go to Jamaica. That was just a moment that was fun,” Usher — who just released his ninth studio album, Coming Home, days before the Super Bowl — said of the island nation’s dance culture. “By the way, it was me playing my bass, so I probably would’ve bumped my shoulder or my hand, but I had my bass in my hand and I was playing, so I kind of bopped off her body a little bit. If you go back and look at the video, you’ll understand because I did it there for the first time.”

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During the pair’s performance of their 2014 collab “She Came to Give It to You,” the crooner is down on one knee playing his guitar as he bumps his shoulder and his head against Minaj’s backside to the beat before getting up and spanking her behind.

“Oh no it was on beat and everything!” Charlamagne marveled as he reflected on the performance. “It was on beat, and I was like, ‘D–n!’”

“I think I was reaching a bit when I smacked her, though,” Usher admitted. “I shouldn’t have smacked her. I shouldn’t have did that.”

Jess then chimed in, throwing it back to how Usher had earlier in the interview talked about supporting fellow Black artists, “See, you gotta lift her up!”

Replied the crooner, “I was lifting!”

Watch Usher discuss his 2014 VMAs performance on The Breakfast Club below:

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