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Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion Debut ‘Bongos’ at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards

Cardi B AND Megan Thee Stallion Debut Bongos at 2023 VMAs
Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images (2)

Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion brought the heat with their performance of “Bongos” at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards on Tuesday, September 12.

Cardi B, 30, and Megan, 28, performed their new single live for the first time in matching blue bodysuits. The two women coordinated their hairstyles as well, opting to wear their tresses down and curly.

The number, which was complete with plenty of twerking, won the approval of Cardi B’s husband, Offset. The 31-year-old Migos member hyped up his wife’s set with a standing ovation at the end of the performance.

The moment marked the first time Cardi B and Megan performed on the VMAs main stage. Each had previously appeared solo on the pre-show, Cardi in 2017 and Megan in 2019. Their duet also served as the live debut of “Bongos,” which dropped on Friday, September 8.

Cardi B AND Megan Thee Stallion Debut Bongos at 2023 VMAs
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images

Both of the rappers are nominated at the awards show. Cardi B’s collaboration with GloRilla, “Tomorrow 2,” is up for Best Hip-Hop Video, while Megan’s song “Her” received nods for Best Direction, Best Choreography and Best Art Direction.

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Cardi B and Megan’s first collab, the 2020 hit “WAP” became the first female rap collaboration to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Cardi B opened up earlier this month about how she conceived the pair’s second duet.

Cardi B AND Megan Thee Stallion Debut Bongos at 2023 VMAs
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for MTV

“I had the beat for a minute, and then I had the record for a minute. Like, the beat was just so undeniable, and the feel is so undeniable,” she explained on SiriusXM’s Hip-Hop Nation, noting that she had already workshopped several lyrics before deciding to include Megan. “But it still sounded incomplete. So then I started putting my verses on it where, like, the parts where Megan is at … but it just sounded to me like a long-ass song.”

That’s when she imagined the song as a duet. “I’m like, ‘This song needs dynamics, so it needs a feature. Like, it just cannot sound like me, me, me, me, me, me, me. ‘Cause it just feels like a long, long sentence,’” she recalled.

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Ahead of the single’s release, Cardi B shared on the “WHOO’s House Podcast” how the women have bonded through their work.

Cardi B AND Megan Thee Stallion Debut Bongos at 2023 VMAs
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for MTV

“We put in our sweat and everything,” she said, adding that the two “trust” each other. “It’s like on some ‘Bitch, you jump, I jump. If you wit it, I wit it. We’re gonna do it.’ We worked so hard on the music video. You’re gonna see. … That’s thought put into that.”

As for the music video, Cardi initially wanted to shoot it in another country to avoid leaks, but hurricane season made her plans impossible. The project ended up costing $2 million because of her efforts — including geofencing that allowed the crew to monitor mobile devices in the area and in-ears that kept the music from being played aloud — to ensure the song and the video stayed under wraps until its release.

“Malibu always [has] paparazzi and everything, so we hired about 20 guards, 15 guards just guarding the whole area,” she told the Way Up radio show earlier this month. “This type of stuff cost a lot of money for the videos and rehearsals every day — it cost a lot of money, it’s a lot of work.”

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