On December 31, BET showed their Top 100 videos of the year. It was a block of television that ended at 10 p.m. and began, if I'm remembering accurately, around 48 BC.
I'd planned on watching all of it, absorbing the videos and then using that information to reach some grand, great point about rap or pop culture or rap and pop culture in 2012 or maybe even life or maybe even MY life. Mostly though, mostly I just spent a lot of time fast forwarding.
I tried watching it live first; that lasted about 40 minutes, long enough to realize that (1) it is very nearly impossible to watch TV when you have children, and (2) Chris Brown recorded WAY TOO MANY songs for me to feel like this whole Going To Church thing is anything more than a waste of time (he was in four of the countdown's first eleven videos, and would eventually be in twelve videos total, more than any other artist). I set the DVR up to record all of the episodes, then spent the following few hours doing very important things like sending semi-entertaining tweets to famous people, checking real life mail and online mail, and playing a video game with my sons called Skylanders, a positively infuriating thing to do. I'm trying to beat levels and those two dummies are trying to gather up all of the fruits and shit because "My Skylander is hungry, daddy, and I don't want him to be sad." GTFOH with your fruits, bro.
While the countdown served mostly to affirm what most everyone already knew (that BET is maybe not the best place to go if you want to listen to a consistent stream of "good" rap music), it did contain ten highlights:
1. Azealia Banks' spazzy "1991" earned a spot at 96, which was pretty great, though it seems hard to mention that without mentioning that she was the only female rapper not named Nicki Minaj to be the sole proprietor of a song on the countdown. (Note: J. Cole's "Nobody's Perfect" was on there, and the wonderful Missy Elliot is on that, but only in guest feature capacity.)
2. Elle Varner's "Refill": Even more ridiculous in video form.
3. Rick Ross's ultrahype "Hold Me Back" was number 47, and there has never been an instance when that song has come on and someone has gotten sad. It is MARVELOUS. If you played that song loud enough, I'm almost certain I could pick up my car and throw it to the moon.
4. Wife sat in for a few minutes. While there, Trey Songz's "Sex Ain't Better Than Love" came on (59). The only commentary she offered before she got up and walked away: "Is that Kim Kardashian there? Yep, it is. I hope she's the sex and not the love....I'm so disappointed in Kanye."
5. Big K.R.I.T.'s "I Got This" (80) is undeniable. There was a time when critics only considered him in a He's Just A Derivative Of Pimp C context, and I guess that'll always be at least alittlebit true, but he seems to have grown admirably into his own space. He is excited without being angry and, lots of time, intelligent without being annoying.
6. The wonderfully charming, wonderfully wormy Wiz Khalifa popped up a time or two (83. "It's Nothing, featuring 2 Chainz, which was YAY!, and 48. "Work Hard, Play Hard," which was WHOOPS). I don't know that any rapper is better at making you feel like you're true best friends with him/her than Wiz. His smile is my whole everything.
7. Machine Gun Kelly's "Wild Boy," featuring Waka Flocka (40): Maybe the most underappreciated single of 2012. I remember meeting MGK shortly after he had signed with Bad Boy and feeling entirely underwhelmed. Then that night I went and watched him perform at this teeny tiny venue and he very nearly exploded into the universe. It was SUPER fun. The point: none, except maybe that he's great. I don't know.
8. A$AP's "Goldie" was 35. That's the EXACT spot it should've been. I have to assume that happened completely by accident.
9. 2 Chainz's "Riot": 18. Check.
10. In Tyga's "Faded" he spurts, "Fuck her to my own single": Is that, like, THE ULTIMATE for rap groupies? Because it seems like it kind of has to be, right? Somewhere, some poor girl is bragging about giving Project Pat a handie while listening to "Chicken Head," I just know it.
The top five spots played out like this:
5. Drake's "The Motto": YES (but you certainly could've slid in "HYFR," which finished at 11).
4. G.O.O.D. Music's "Mercy": Okay, sure.
3. Usher's "Climax": Probably, though I'd guess Miguel's "Adorn" (6) is approximately 4,000 times better.
2. French Montana's "Pop That": NO. Total rip of DJ Chose's "Pop That" which was recorded more than a year earlier and received significant enough radio play to assume that someone from Montana's camp had heard it. Bonus: The video for Chose's version was also a pool party scene.
1. "Ni**as In Paris": Sure.
Even fast forwarding through most of the flotsam, the entire thing still took several hours. What's worse: No secrets to the universe were revealed. I suppose that makes sense but, I mean, come on: Chris Brown on 12 percent of the entire countdown?