Rapper Kendrick Lamar offered a fiery start Sunday to the MTV Video Music Awards, setting his stage ablaze in a martial-arts-themed performance.
Lamar, who leads the evening with eight nominations, performed his song “HUMBLE.” as he appeared initially in red on a dark stage lit by lasers.
Showing his new fascination with martial arts, two ninjas appeared to chase him across the floor in Los Angeles.
By the end of the song, a man was ablaze and the dancers were climbing a fence that was full of fire.
Lamar, one of the most critically acclaimed forces in hip-hop, is followed by pop superstar Katy Perry and R&B singer The Weeknd, who each have five nominations.
Perry, the evening’s host, floated onto stage from the roof in the spacesuit of the awards’ “Moonman” statuette -- this year rechristened “Moon Person” as part of a gender-neutral push.