As another year of the Willenium comes to a close, there are now more ways than ever to watch rap videos, and they (along with videos from other genres) are arguably more relevant than they have been in years.
Some have refined, innovative concepts, others are literally shot on cell phones. Either way, you can't open your window without seeing a rap video these days! Here are our picks for the five best of the year.
5) Jay-Z – “Picasso Baby”
Director: Mark Romanek
Jay-Z has been successful for a long time. Like many such people, he's often searching for new ways to challenge himself. And so, he followed the release of his successful cell phone app/album with a “performance art film,” that united several different artists in different mediums to watch Jigga rap “Picasso Baby” for, um, six hours.
4) R.A. the Rugged Man – “The People's Champ”
Director: Brood Baby
R.A. the Rugged Man prides himself on being the wildest man in the room, and “The People's Champ” is set in a boxing ring, making visual his recurring themes of combat sports and '80s action films. The video is perfect for the fast paced song, a good introduction (or reintroduction) to the Rugged Man.
3) Busta Rhymes featuring Q-Tip, Lil Wayne and Kanye West – “Thank You”
Director: Director X
With the limitless potential of CGI and greenscreens, it's refreshing to see four of hip-hop's all-time best unite for a clinic of sorts in how to make a video. And, how great is it to see the oft-too-serious Busta Rhymes looking like he's having fun for the first time in a decade?
2)Macklemore and Ryan Lewis – “Can't Hold Us”
Director: Ryan Lewis, Jason Koenig and Jon Jon Augustavo
Wherever you may stand regarding their other songs, it's hard to not be in absolute awe of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' “Can't Hold Us.” Shot over three months on six different continents, its ambitious visuals not only took home a Grammy nomination and an MTV VMA, but even won the approval of fickle critics Insane Clown Posse.
1) Earl Sweatshirt featuring Casey Veggies and Vince Staples – “Hive”
Directed by Hiro Murai
Remember the hoopla surrounding Earl Sweatshirt's 2010 “Earl” video, which blew up Odd Future on the internet? “Hive” feels like a spiritual successor, giving some of the year's most memorable, gritty visuals and helping Sweatshirt's album Doris live up to expectations.
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