Relive Some of the Best MAMA Performances


With the 2015 MAMA awards approaching (December 2), let’s travel through time to some of the most epic and memorable performances of the past.

A little history lesson for us all, the Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) used to be called Mnet KM Music Festival (MKMF) and stood as the first and only Korean music videos awards, which started in 1999. In 2009, the name was officially changed to MAMA, expanding voting to a global audience.

2008 – Rookies Cover K-Pop History

These “rookies” – 2PM, U-Kiss, SHINee, 2AM, and Mighty Mouth – are now seen as some of the most respected third generation K-pop stars, but here we see them freshly debuted, as they remake the music that they grew up listening to. The cameraman also catches TVXQ‘s Changmin and Yunho dancing along in their seats to “Rising Sun,” a song symbolizing their rise to fame. Junsu and Yoochun also smile widely and mouth the lyrics during Moon Hee Jun‘s return (with the help of his juniors) to the scene, taking on metal/hard rock genre. Moon Hee Jun was part of H.O.T., a first generation K-pop idol boy group that debuted in 1996.

2008 – Two Heads Are Better Than One

top hyori kiss

This 2008 performance stands out for bringing two of the hottest acts in K-pop that year together on one stage. Through it, we see the formative years of BIGBANG as they transform from boys to men, and we see Lee Hyori demonstrate why she has been dubbed a queen by many. Her ability to dance well not just in heels, but also while being propelled along on a conveyor belt and still managing to keep it sexy is extremely impressive and shows us what it’s like to be a star after 10 years of fame. Plus, that kiss!

2009 – Female Rappers Take Over

Before the days of “Show Me the Money” and “Unpretty Rapstar,” we have this liberating hip hop and rap collaboration. These artists – Yoon Mi Rae (Tasha), Jewelry‘s Baby J, 4Minute‘s  HyunA and Jiyoon, and Brown Eyed Girls‘ Miryo – together, get the audience out of their seats and really throw down what they know and keep it real. Not to mention, they all look fabulous in their striped outfits. From their own rendition of “Lip Gloss” to Tasha‘s “Pay Day,” they keep this performance poppin’. After Yoon Mi Rae pops up from below, all we can say is “SLAAAAY!” We even catch a glimpse of supportive husband Tiger JK cheering on his love.

2011 – The Best on Stage

2ne1 hair

Did you know that 2NE1 actually holds the record in most daesang awards won in MAMA history? Check out 2011’s Song of the Year – 2NE1’s “I Am the Best.”  Believe it or not, there was a time where artists weren’t allowed to have hair colors other than black on screen, and 2NE1’s hairstyles attest to the change in the industry. Just look at Sandara Park‘s hair (standing as tall as their pride)! Their makeup and costume are always top notch and 2NE1 takes on a futuristic approach, becoming trendsetters.

How many of us wish we had Minzy‘s or Park Bom‘s hair color? Their title “I Am the Best” certainly stands true and is exhibited through this performance.

2011 – Making Trouble

hyunseung and hyuna mama kiss

An introduction by world renown pianist Lang Lang sets the theme for this graveyard mystery performance. This orchestral version of BEAST‘s “Fiction” really highlights the members’ voices and the musical talents of featured artists. The song takes an intermission and things start to get steamy when the “murder victim” we saw earlier returns and begins a sultry dance wearing thigh-high slit dress. Hello there, Trouble Maker! It seems to be a common trend to capture audiences attention with a kiss but this steamy and passionate kiss keeps your eyes glued to the screen because you’re just dying to figure out what could happen next.

2012 – Why So Serious?

epik high and psy

That image of the Joker got you right? Same with over a million viewers. Although this performance from Epik High opens with a somber feel, the excitement level escalates quickly from zero to one hundred due to their appearance. Imagine the hours and hours they spent in makeup preparing for this. Epik High takes it another step further by not only interacting with other artists but jumping in and standing inches away from fans. Imagine being able to see such intricate costume design and makeup up close! Although their costumes may be horrifying for some viewers, the audience is absolutely cheerful and is loving their take on iconic villains and a playful rebellion.

2013 – Wolves on Stage

This number opens with what you think starts as a “behind the scenes” look, but is just part of an introduction to an elaborate set and unique performance by EXO. With dance remixes and our boys in (school) uniforms, watch the original 12 on stage two years ago take our breath away.

2013 – Wow, Fantastic Baby

The song that took us by a storm and shot BIGBANG to the top of charts, gathering almost 200 million views on the original music video. This performance stands out just like their music video did with intense hair colors and unique outfits, namely G-Dragon‘s lemon drop looking hair, Daesung‘s highlighter pink suit, and Taeyang‘s Medusa looking dreads)! The visual feast for the audience pumps up the song as they’re singing “DANCE” and “BOOM SHAKALAKA.” Transferring that energy to the audience, we even see a sweet serenading reunion with Lee Hyori!

big bang hyori

Something tells me this year’s award show will similarly demonstrate a domination by BIGBANG again.

Who do you think will be taking home awards this year? Leave your predictions in the comments below!