Gaudy rap videos entice the fans and create new meanings for the records. It also captures the director's (or the artist's) vision of how the song "looks" like. Nicki Minaj's latest hit single "Pound the Alarm," is a feel-good summer radio banger, produced by the famous Moroccan house-pop songwriter RedOne. To XXL the record hinted fist pumping, flashing lights, and some form of a loud stadium environment. This thought obviously didn't occur to neither Nicki Minaj nor its director Benny Boom, as the video takes place in Trinidad with the Queens rapper decked out in carnival gear, roaming the terrains of Queens' Park Savannah. A fun video indeed, but there seems to be a bit of a mismatch between the song and the visual. With that said, XXL breaks down 10 more mismatching videos... —XXL Staff (@XXL)
Lupe Fiasco, "Daydreamin'" (2006)
The concept of the song—detailing Lupe Fiasco's poetic portrayal of Chicago's urban dwellings while controlling a giant robot—is superb. While it would've been amazing to see Lupe controlling a giant, Transformers-style robot, it was quite underwhelming to see a more casual interaction between Lupe and a miniature robot that behaved like an abandoned puppy. It's still a great song though.
Kanye West, "Love Lockdown" (2009)
It's solemn, it's melancholy, and Kanye's in a state of solitude. So what does African tribesman, and models in flashy body painting have to do with Yeezy's heartbreaks? Don't ask us.
Drake, "Best I Ever Had" (2009)
Boobs, boobs, basketball, thickness, boobs, and more jiggling boobs. XXL's guessing those were the key words that circulated in Kanye West's brain, as he decided to take the director's seat for the video of Drake's mainstream debut. The song encompasses elements of a sweet guy crooning his love for a girl. XXL assumes the fangirls, as well as Drake, envisioned something way less voluptuous and scantily clad. Well, this video certainly introduced the world to some great video models. Not bad at that.
Nicki Minaj, "Massive Attack" (2010)
As the first single off her highly anticipated debut, Pink Friday, the music video received a full-throttle Hype Williams treatment. Colors sporadically splattered across the screen, with expensive toys (whips, helicopters and motorcycles) parading in a desert, the video was grand, but didn't do much to enhance the mediocrity of the song. And Sean Garrett? Yeah, not much to say.
Drake, "Headlines" (2011)
"You gon catch a body like that..." crooned Drizzy off this tough-talking (yet still not-too tough) single off his second album, Take Care. The song was full of braggadocio, and Drizzy boasted his crew's allegiance to him and his movement. That explains who those goons (and 'hood extras) were in the Toronto-heavy video. The song attempted to capture the essence of Drizzy's home city, but Nike gloves and Jewish gangster getups weren't too convincing coming from the same singer who dropped "Best I Ever Had."
Mac Miller, "Smile Back" (2011)
The haters-addressing record off Mac Miller's debut, Blue Slide Park, received a story-driven video treatment. Mac's running aimlessly, and scenes of him partaking in a card gambling gets interrupted as a group of masked bandits appear and take the goods. What's this about again?
Tyga, "Rack City" (2012)
The third single off Tyga's major label debut, Careless World: Rise of the Last King, "Rack City" and its extremely catchy hook became Tyga's biggest record to date. "Rack, rack, city, bitch," an ode to the female's prized anatomy, the video was expected to, well, show some racks. What the fans received was a post-apocalyptic visual, with a fictional plot, which Tyga, his voluptuous girlfriend, and his crew must defend themselves against an evil kingpin. It's cool to be creative, but where are the racks? Where's Kanye when you need him.
Lil Wayne Feat. Big Sean, "My Homies Still" (2012)
This animated visual has hints of '90s Busta Rhymes and Missy Elliot influence tatted all throughout. But aside from the fancy props and bugged-out characters (and camera angles), how it actually correlates to the actual song bugs XXL's psyche. Maybe it's implying how Weezy's not a human being? Whatever the case, both the song and the visual are entertaining, but incongruent.
Childish Gambino, "Fire Fly" (2012)
Off Childish Gambino's popular Camp, "Fire Fly" is a plot-driven video, which only shows a glimpse of Gambino. And that's fine, because the overall video is pretty much a sci-fi journey, way more than a typical rap video. But what does a song about Childish Gambino partaking on a path to display a different style of rap music, has to do with a young protagonist finding an obscure pill to enhance human living? Okay, there are hints of symbolism here and there, but the overall visual feels like a stretch.
Nicki Minaj, "Pound the Alarm" (2012)
The euro-dance, house-pop single off Nicki's latest album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, has all the pop radio record attributes. Plus, it's video showcases Nicki in her native Trinidad, partaking in a carnival, with all the skin, colors, and island beauties that fans can fathom. However, with the video taking place in Trinidad and all, where are the steel drums? The butt-grinding shots? The slow-motion party antics? By no means XXL's seeking for a "Big Pimpin' Part Two" (maybe secretly), but if it's a tribute to Trinidad, fist-pumping tendencies and carnival don't seem like a fitting couple. Just saying.