"The Symbol" - Action Bronson
If there's a "best of" list that Bronson can't be a part of, I haven't found it yet. "The Symbol" is exactly what fans have come to expect from the Queens emcee. It's weird, it has personality and, most importantly, it's hilarious.
"Make Some Noise" - Beastie Boys
In 2007, I would have listed the Beastie Boys's infamous "(You've Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)" somewhere near the top of hip-hop videography. Today, I've decided to make my Beastie Boys entry the more recent "Make Some Noise". Featuring the all-star cast of Seth Rogen, Danny McBride, Elijah Wood, Rashida Jones, Will Arnett, Rainn Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, Mary Steenburgen, Ted Danson, Amy Poehler, Steve Buscemi, Chloë Sevigny, Maya Rudolph, Kirsten Dunst, David Cross, Orlando Bloom, Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, and Jack Black, this video is for the ages. It may also hold the record for the most white people in a hip-hop video ever. Let me know if I'm wrong.
"Pass the Courvoisier Pt. II" - Busta Rhymes
Spa fight scenes, a ton of alcohol, Mr. T and the most unnecessary Jamie Foxx cameo in the history of anything - not to mention the best scene I've ever seen Mo'nique in - make this the quintessential Busta Rhymes video. (Although I probably could have lived a happy life not seeing Pharrell dry hump a woman under a pool table.)
"No Sex" - Chris Rock
So it's not really a "hip-hop" song, but Rock's musings are as relevant today as they were back when this record was released in 1999. Cornbread: still ain't nothing wrong with that.
"Magic Clap" - The Coup
Unfortunately, I expect a lot of you are unfamiliar with The Coup. As such, I'll keep it simple: if The Roots committed themselves to The Tonight Show full time, never to release another album as long as they lived, The Coup would be hip-hop's greatest band. Generally pigeon-holed into the "social rap" sub-genre that Common has been trying to branch out of in recent years, the group meshes political rap over well-constructed funk beats to create something truly unique and entertaining.
"Magic Clap" is a bizarre song that called for a bizarre video. It features the multi-talented Patton Oswald. Enjoy.
"Bad Boy For Life" - Puff Daddy
Before Diddy was flexing his comedic abilities in "Get Him To The Greek," he was stunting on Ben Stiller with Black Rob and Mark Curry in Perfectown, USA. It's bizarre how buried this gem has become since its release in 2001. The production and performances rank amongst the best of each emcee's career. Seriously though, does anyone know who Mark Curry is?
"Love This Town" - Dizzee Rascal
It didn't occur to me until I started writing this article that many HNHH readers probably aren't familiar with Dizzee. So, before, we jump into this particular video, lets play a little catch up.
An English emcee of the highest caliber, Mr. Rascal gained notoriety in his homeland with his debut album, Boy In Da Corner, which beat out Radiohead's acclaimed "Hail to the Thief" for the Mercury Prize back in 2003. The entirely self-produced LP is generally considered to be the first to popularize Grime, a subgenre of hip-hop that would ultimately evolve into what's today known as dubstep. It also spawned the classic single "Fix Up, Look Sharp", which you might recognize from Slaughterhouse's latest BET Cypher. If that isn't enough to get you interested, Chris Rock also named the album the 25th greatest hip-hop album of all time. So don't knock it until you've tried it.
"Love This Town" is not from the acclaimed Boy in the Corner, but instead Dizzee's latest album, The Fifth. The project has a heavy pop-influence, so I don't expect the music to find much love here. The video, however, is a different story. The first minute is a bit slow, but give it a chance. I promise the build-up is worthwhile.
If you're interested in hearing more of Dizzee's music, I'd recommend starting here.
"The Full Retard" - El-P
Veteran emcee/producer El-P has had one hell of a career. He's worked with some of the best in the industry, dropped several top quality solo albums and, as one half of Run the Jewels, earned a special place near the top the of the hip-hop totem pole. That being said, El Producto's greatest accomplishment might be the fictional Mr. Killums. A squirrel with a taste for violence, drugs and fellatio, Killums is given the freedom to run wild in "The Full Retard," the flagship single for P's Cancer 4 Cure LP. Warning: this ones' not for the easily offended.
"The Real Slim Shady" - Eminem
Some things in life are so significant that you can't forget them. "The Real Slim Shady" is the only music video I can vividly recall watching on MTV when it premiered. Biting, hilarious and timely, the lyrics and accompanying visuals have become iconic for all of the right reasons.
"Ass Like That" - Eminem
Two Eminem videos for the price of one. "Ass Like That" is generally considered a low point for Slim's career, but the video almost makes the venture worthwhile.
"The New Workout Plan" - Kanye West
Yes, there was a time where Kanye West was allowed to smile in music videos. It's shocking, but it's true. Don't get me wrong, Kanye is still the greatest, and I firmly believe he'll be remembered as hip-hop's most influential figure, but it would be nice if he'd revisit his lightheartedness once in a while. "The New Workout Plan" was the perfect radio single: catchy and easily digestible while maintaining the artist's singular voice. This extended video ranks up there amongst the funniest of Ye's career, and has arguably gotten better with age. Thanks to Kanye's workout plan, you can still be the envy of all your friends.
"Stand Up" - Ludacris
Okay, time for a little bit of ranting.
Back in 2003, no one - not even God his (or her) self - could have convinced me that Ludacris wasn't the best rapper in the South, if not the world. We're talking about the guy who recorded this, and this, and this, and this. Back then, most rappers could have put their entire catalogues up against 'Cris's guest features and stillcomeupshort. Hell, I stand by the belief that Southern Fried is the best album intro in hip-hop music to this day (bonus points to anyone who can spot a young 2 Chainz in the video). So watching this video today is a mixed experience: joyous with a side of disappointment. Come on, Luda. Consider this an open letter. We need another "Stand Up", or at least another "Runaway Love".
"Party On Fifth Ave" - Mac Miller
The lyrics to "Party on Fifth Ave" would have been great for a traditional party scene, but kudos to Miller and his video production team for pushing the concept further. There are few things in life that are guaranteed to get a laugh, and I like to think old men wrecking vehicles is one of them.
"Baby, I Got Your Money" - Ol Dirty Bastard
Before the creator of the first YouTube mash-up was in grade school, ODB and Kelis were re-cutting the classic blaxploitation film Dolamite for our viewing pleasure. Created in the mid-90s, they took a throwback approach when everyone else was reaching for the future. Thanks to this (there isn't even an attempt at seamless cutting), "Baby, I Got Your Money" has stood the test of time and become a hip-hop classic.
"I'll Be Dat" - Redman
It's be irresponsible to write an article about comedy in hip-hop without bringing up Redman. "I'll Bee Dat" is not only one of the most clever videos in hip-hop conceptually (although Bob Dylan did take it to the next level last year), it's also hands down one of the funniest.
"A Christmas Fucking Miracle" - Run the Jewels
Christmas is a time of joy and celebration. It's also the season of embarrassing holiday cards and depressed mall Santas. "A Christmas Fucking Miracle" highlights the latter, featuring a welcome re-appearance from Mr. Killums for a special kind of nativity scene.
"Tamale" - Tyler, The Creator
Odd Future are hardly strangers to bizarre video concepts, and any number of their visuals could have made this list. Hip-hop has no greater "fools" than Tyler and company. That being said, "Tamale" made the cut because it's everything you would expect from Wolf Gang cranked up to 11. Fast, colorful, bizarre and even a little sickening, the gang's all here.
"Birthday Song" - 2 Chainz
It's always refreshing when an artist is self-aware. 2 Chainz knows exactly how crazy 2 Chainz is. This is the guy who spent half of his career going by "Tity Boi", after all. "Birthday Song" stands out because it grabs all of the conventions of a house party video and throws them into the surreal. Not only do we get a row of bored men receiving synchronized lap dances and Kanye riding a child's bicycle, there's also not one but two tity cakes. Two?! Damn, Chainz, way to spoil your audience.
"Imdabes" - GMCFOSHO
There's good, there's great and then there's "dabes". GMCFOSHO may not be the emcee the people deserved, but he's the emcee we needed. Why beat-boxing suns never became a trend is beyond me.