10 Best Hip-Hop Videos of 2013
In 2012, rappers made great attempts to avoid making the stereotypical booty videos and create astounding visuals that offer more than just a cursory glance. Some offered a compelling story line like J. Cole’s ‘Crooked Smile’ and Kendrick Lamar‘s ‘Poetic Justice.’ Others opted for movie inspired treatments like Iggy Azalea’s ‘Change Your Life’ clip.
Veteran rapper Jay Z took it to a new level and created a visual art project that saw himself on display for people to ogle at in a gallery. Meanwhile, the young bucks also took their artistry to the next level and created in-your face videos like Drake’s ‘Worst Behavior’ or A$AP Ferg’s opulent clip ‘Shabba.’
Overall, it was a great year for music videos. So peep our list of the Top 10 Best Hip-Hop Videos of 2013.
Tyler, the Creator always brings unique visuals to his often emotionally depressed songs. For his self-directed video for ‘IFHY,’ the Odd Future leader is a deformed action figure harassing his Barbie in a dollhouse. Things get upbeat at the end, with a brief mini-clip for the Hodgy Beats-produced banger ‘Jamba.’ It’s ambitious yet odd video from Tyler.
Drake released several astounding videos in 2013 including the boastful ‘Started from the Bottom‘ and the cinematic vid for ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home.’ For the 10-minute long video for ‘Worst Behavior,’ Drizzy travels to Memphis to hang with his pop Dennis Graham who steals the show. From his all white suit, to his glorious mustache (which trended on Twitter), to his slow-motion dance steps, Graham was styling and profiling on you cats. It’s good to see Drake pay respect to his father and Memphis, a city that has influenced his sound and style.
In Remy Banks’ funny video for ‘GLDCHN,’ two up-and-coming rap families — Banks’ World’s Fair Crew and Bamz’s Tanboys — come together in Los Angeles to help a doughy “rap addict” kick his habit of being a badass rapper. The clip features palm trees, the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the back alleys of L.A. Throw your W’s up.
J. Cole’s ‘Crooked Smile’ is a powerful short film dedicated to Aiyana Stanley-Jones, a 7-year-old child who was innocently shot and killed during a police raid of her brother’s house in Detroit. Directed by Sheldon Candis, Cole plays a father who witnesses the death of his daughter when drug enforcers invade his home. It’s an ambitious video that makes a bold social statement about the problematic drug laws that has devastated so many families in the U.S.
‘Can’t Hold Us’
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis had an enormous year with their platinum-selling album, ‘The Heist.’ The video for ‘Can’t Hold Us’ is cinematic clip featuring dog-sledding, pirate ships and wild animals. The video’s crescendo comes near the end when Macklemore performs in front of roaring crowd in their hometown of Seattle. In 2013, nothing was holding back this Seattle duo.
‘Change Your Life’
Props to Iggy Azalea for breaking out of the rap video tropes and making videos with interesting visuals. Her ‘Death Proof’-inspired ‘Work‘ and the Bollywood-themed ‘Bounce‘ were among the standout videos of 2013. For ‘Change Your Life,’ the Aussie rapper takes it to Las Vegas for her ‘Showgirls’-inspired clip. The blonde bombshell shows off her awesome body in revealing swimsuits as well as get her freak on with T.I. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Poetic Justice’ is a beautiful video about innocent love that tragically ends in violence. Recalling a scene from the classic “hood” flick ‘Boyz N the Hood,’ the Compton rhymer imagines meeting the girl of his dreams before she gets cut down by a bullet. Lamar was praised for not following the rap video tropes of casting a light-skinned model to play his love interest. Instead, he chose the lovely Brittany Sky who displayed a beauty that was poetic and gave the video its justice. Bravo.
Undoubtedly, 2013 was the year of the A$AP. Harlem rhymer A$AP Ferg brought a new aesthetic to the rap genre with his debut album, ‘Trap Lord.’ For his dancehall-meets-trap music banger ‘Shabba,’ Fergenstein flaunts his opulence with his fellow A$AP Mob crew. Near the end of the video, the man of the hour Shabba Ranks, himself, makes a cameo as well as Snoop from ‘The Wire.’
Art imitates life in Jay Z’s fantastic performance art film, ‘Picasso Baby.’ Directed by Mark Romanek, the visual features Hov physically interacting with folks who attended his six-hour performance at New York’s Pace Gallery. There were plenty of awkwardness throughout especially when visual artist Marina Abramovic and Hov press their foreheads against each other as if they were playing some type of tug of war. Jay Z’s ‘Picasso Baby’ was certainly one of the most unconventional rap videos of 2013.