Now that news has surfaced that MTV will be bringing back TRL, one of its flagship shows from its heyday, we look back at some of our favorite moments from the music video countdown series.
Mariah Carey "strips"
It was the moment that sparked rumors of a breakdown: Mariah arrived to Total Request Live unannounced, pushing an ice cream cart, and wearing just a t-shirt and heels—or so we thought. She'd take off her shirt (a gift to bewildered host Carson Daly) to reveal just a halter top and short-shorts (a risque choice for the time), frequently and flippantly change the course of conversation, and eventually say, in between laughs: "You're my therapy session right now, Carson. You see, every now and then somebody needs a little therapy and today is that moment for me."
JAY-Z and Beyonce, "Crazy In Love"
It's easy to forget after all we've seen play out in front of the public's eye these days, but there was a time when Bey and Jay weren't nearly as open about their relationship or as affectionate on stage. This early performance, full of sweet smirks and side-eyes, gave us a foreshadowed hint at the couple's combined grandeur that we now consider standard—after all, they shut down New York's City's streets to arrive in a red convertible. And matching denim. (A young La La can also be heard in the background.)
Yet another instance in which poor Daly was caught off-guard, the always-charming Aaliyah surprised the host by bringing her pet snake on stage. (Fans had already become aware of her affinity for reptiles via her "We Need a Resolution" video.) She, unsurprisingly, handled the boa with grace and finesse, completely on-character with who she was as a person and artist.
Nelly disses Eminem
A beef so small it won't make it into any hip-hop history books—nor do we remember what sparked it—Nelly took his visit to the show as a chance to diss Eminem and deliver some poor wordplay. Prompted by the host about his thoughts on Slim Shady, Nelly said: "I don't too much know nothing about Dirty, but he be having some sly little comments about me on his stuff but, you know me, I don't play with candy, I eat M&Ms, flat-out, I don't smash on them like that. Whatever it is, I just don't think dude plan on coming to tour St. Louis." Mmkay.
Prince shades the show
[2:58 mark] Leave it to Prince, King of Shade, to throw dirt on the very show he's visiting. After an incredibly humbled and increasingly embarrassed Daly (who introduces TRL as "our little dog-and-pony show") positively compares The Artist's new album (Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic) to the moment's "disposable music," Prince jumps at the opportunity to point out the irony: "What's disposable music? You don't promote any of that disposable music, do you?" We have to give it to Daly though for not only not getting intimidated, but for delivering a reasonable analogy without breaking a sweat: "If I was a bartender and I didn't like Jack & Coke, I'd still serve it to someone if that's what they wanted."
Method Man hits on Britney Spears
We didn't get to hear or see this moment ourselves, but thanks to on-camera commentary made by Method Man later, fans learned that during his TRL interview with Britney Spears (who was briefly handling hosting duties that day), Meth' decided to shoot his shot. While the rare pair, plus Redman, we're taking a photo together, Meth whispered in the pop star's ear: "Yo, you got a fat ass for a white girl."
Usher goes on a rant
Unfortunately, the video evidence of this moment has been scrubbed from the internet, but while promoting his Here I Stand album, Usher also found himself battling rumors of separation from his then-wife Tameka Foster and thought that the best time to combat them was during his TRL appearance. Much to host Damien Fahey's surprise, Usher embarked on an unexpected rant against his haters, showing off his wedding ring and speaking directly into the camera as Fahey tried to toss to his "Love in the Club" video.
"I love my wife very, very much. There was a little rumor earlier this week about us separating. It ain't true. We in love. Get outta there. Matter of fact, I'm tired of people continuing to talk so much trash about me, know what I'm saying? And my relationship. My wife is not 40 years old. I love her to death and I'm a black, strong man in America standing up for my people — as a man to my wife, to my son, to my family. I'm making a stand that a lot of us should make. I coulda been like any other man who has a child and live with that woman and continue to just play the game. … I'm trying to do it the right way. This is the way your supposed to do it! Pay attention, fellas. And my wife had nothing to do with me firing my mother — nothing like that, that's trash. I hear y'all talking crazy out there, she's a beautiful black woman. Stop. Stop talking. And I love her. Stop it. I'm not done ... can I say something else?"
MTV's re-boot of Total Request Live begins in October.