Limp Bizkit were everywhere in the early 00s. Like, everywhere. Performing on Top Of The Pops. Bagging number one albums and singles. Soundtracking Wrestlemanias. You could barely move for Fred Durst bouncing around your television screen from around 2000-2003. While Bizkit were already a major deal come the end of the 90s, the obscene success of Chocolate Starfish And The Hot Dog Flavoured Water - which sold, wait for it, a million copies in its first week - not only helped confirm nu metal as the biggest thing in music (Hybrid Theory landing just a week later certainly helped), but installed Jacksonville's finest as its proud, obnoxious poster boys.
These days, it often feels like we have to rely on Eurovision and, um, Doja Cat to get rock music represented on the big stage, but in that era, rock really was dominating the mainstream. The singles charts were stacked with rock bands (seriously, head over to the Official Charts Company site and look up any given week from 2001), nu metal fashion had become a pop culture phenomenon and fucking Staind got a number one album in the UK. Fucking Staind!
Until Linkin Park truly began to take off, however, it was unquestionably Limp Bizkit that reaped the richest rewards from rock's unstoppable rise - so much so that it seems to be a forgotten footnote in their bonkers career that Fred Durst once got up on stage at a major awards show and duetted with Christina Aguilera. Yep, that Christina Aguilera.
The singer was a year on from the release of her debut album and a ways off her iconic (and controversial) makeover into 'Xtina' for the Stripped era. At this point, she was still portrayed by the media as a true 'pop princess' - a sugar-sweet teen idol a world away from those nasty, grubby metallers clogging up the charts. So, imagine everyone's surprise when, during a performance of Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You) at the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards, Fred Durst suddenly rose from his seat in the VIP area of the crowd, swaggered onstage and began rapping the bridge from Chocolate Starfish banger Livin' It Up.
No, it wasn't an unplanned, Kanye-style stage invasion; it was a legit team-up between two of the most unlikely collaborators, and yet more evidence of Limp Bizkit's status as one of the most in-vogue bands on the planet. While Fred somewhat sullied the experience with some aggravating remarks towards Christina, printed in a 2001 Playboy interview (remarks that, in fairness, he retracted a year or so later), the duet still remains one of the most remarkable testaments to nu metal's all-conquering heyday.
Oh, and it also took place at the same awards show where Tim Commerford from Rage Against The Machine scaled part of the set and refused to come down after Limp Bizkit beat Rage to the Best Rock Video award. Like we said, it was a crazy time.
Watch the clip of Fred and Christina doing their thing below: