Over here at XXLMAG.com, the hip-hop website thinking peple actually read(a), we don’t really come up with new ideas. No. We’re just swagger-jacking fools without any novel thoughts in our craniums. You can think of us as D-List mixtape rappers or D4L. We lack width and depth. And—unless we’re named Byron—we don’t publish everyday.
But we do know how to jack. Hell, if we can’t jack your idea, then we’ll jack your staff(b). What’s worse, we’ll jack each other(c).
In keeping with unalterable tradition, I’ll be jacking Noz’ video post idea from a while back, which he jacked from the Village Voice’s Tom Breihan, a guy I don’t dislike as much as everyone else does(d).
So, without further ado:
(Another) 10 Great Rap Videos
1. Public Enemy: ” Night of The Living Baseheads”
When this song came out, it was like a nuclear blast. That incessant, dilating siren, pumping and pumping, but never quite blowing up; Chuck’s voice, a message and instrument in of itself, commanding, demanding and reprimanding. Then the video comes in at an now-unimaginable six minutes (Doug E. Fresh you’re on).
They just don’t make ‘em with this intensity and creativity anymore. MC Lyte as a television journalist, just because. Flavor Flav as, well, Flavor Flav, when that was actually something Black folk could get behind. And Beeper Tie!
I would say this is the best PE video ever, but why shoot another shot across Noz’s brow?
2. MC Lyte: “Lyte As A Rock”
The children who claim that hip-hop turned commercial when 2Pac died are surely among the most idiotic strain of plebes to bring down the value of any hip-hop conversation. It’s not as if MC Lyte said, “No, let’s forgo the bangin’ original version of this song and make a video for a crappy house-oriented remix.”
But still. Low production values notwithstanding, this video is straight on some Lion, Witch and Wardrobe, Clan of the Cave Bear, Untouchables, Black Gestapo-ness. And, good Barney, the negroes are dancing! (Children, this is what is known as vision.)
3. dead prez: “Hip-Hop”
This video speaks for itself. What more can I say?
Besides, I’m still dealing with the dichotomy inherent in the fact that my favorite two rap duos (ever) are dead prez and The Clipse(e). Like, seriously. I gain as much pleasure from this as I do that “Mr. Me Too” joint that got the internets going nuts yesterday.
Oh, yeah: Hell Hath No Fury coming soon. Tell a friend.
4. Fugees: “Ready Or Not”
I’m pretty sure that every record company exec that has had to watch a million dollars spent on a music video rues the day the Fu-Crew said, “You know what? Let’s redo that ‘Fu-Gee-La’ video like the rich fucks were are now!”
Clef: I could be in jail and you gotta break me out.
Pras: We can bust down the wall.
Lauryn: It should be artistic. Wide lens shots, close-ups, slo-mo, panning camera angles.
Clef: Can I ride a motorcycle again? I like motorcycles.
Pras: And a submarine. We could have a submarine, too.
Lauryn: A submarine?
Pras: We’re rich, bitch.
Go through your research. They set off the over-the-top, big budget hip-hop videos craze with this one. And for all the imitators, no one’s come close to duplicating the magic of The Score-era Fugees. No. One.
But you can’t blame some guys for trying. “Joints & Jam” starts off with nice subtle touches—the blowing wind, the invisible fourth wall, the flying emcees—but the last minute is strictly en fuego. Jam session! Negroes dancing!
In another Fugee moment, the Peas said, “You know what? Let’s redo that ‘Joints & Jam’ video like the rich fucks were are now!” Hence, “Let’s Get
Retarded It Started.”
(If you can’t find joy in these two videos your life is worthless. Go kill yourself.)
6. Ludacris: “Blueberry Yum Yum”
I really wanted to include “Saturday (Oooh! Oooh!)” for the cuffing fowl, blinking hoopties, smiling canines, thugged out little wiggers, treehouse party and the line, “If I recollect right, then you sound like dirt,” which I totally love(f). But then I found this.
Now, I’m about to peel and filet a honeygreen Dutch—for medicinal purposes only, of course(g). Pardon me if the rest of this post makes even less sense than usual(h).
7. Souls of Mischief “’93 Til Infinity”
You know, I may not say this, but I actually emphasize with some of your horridly erroneous opinions. I once was young and dumb like most of you and argued that the Souls were actually better than Rakim.
Wait. I still feel that way.
At any rate, this video made me fall in love with the Bay way before “hyphy” or Japanese/Korean women. What kind of mystical place was this? Trees? Mountains? Lakes? Farms? West Coast B-boys without jheri curls and Raiders jackets? Oh man, I’m going. Word to Jules Winnfield.
Apropos of nothing but the smoke in my lungs, I came across an instrumental version of this album a few weeks ago. Wow.
8. Das Efx “They Want Efx”
This was one of those weird moments when everyone caught the video before the song was heard. Must have been some record company marketing plan. And it worked. This visuals had heads losing it. When Video Music Box was over, we all ran outside(i) like, “Wtf?”
No one knew what the hell these guys were saying. No one caught the hook. We argued about the group’s name (Live Effects? Las Effects?). Had no idea they were down with EPMD. But we knew that they were from BK, rocked 40 Belows and had flow for days. We caught this one on the re-run. Again. And again.
Not for nothing, Dead Serious is one of the hardest, most succinct hip-hop records. Ever.
9. Shyne “Bad Boys”
Perhaps due to the mass amounts of rum and weed I imbibe whenever in the Caribbean(j), all I ever remember of my time there looks exactly like this video. Down to the blowtorches and automatic rifles in the street. And some thick-bottomed chick who’s always named Nicole or Angela.
I ain’t lied to you yet(k).
10. Jay-Z “Can’t Knock the Hustle”
“You Must Love Me” aside and “Big Pimpin’” accounted for, this is the epitomal Jay-Z video. Classy, gully, troubles with women(l), driving some of the hottest cars New York has ever seen, dropping some of the hardest verses rap has ever heard. And that look he flashes shorty at 3:01? Priceless.
No matter how man times I see this video, I still expect to find that they’ve gone back in and Lucas’d the limo explosion at the end. It’s really the weak moment in an otherwised untarnished five-minutes of upper echelon hip-hop ish(m). Don’t get it cuffed up.
P.S. — In totally unrelated news, Gucci Mane, who can’t rap, obviously has nothing to live for.
What the cuff is he thinkin’?
(a) I’m lying to myself again, aren’t I?
(b) Which would require you to be part of a staff somewhere. Otherwise, you’re not even good for a punchline.
(d) I, for one, find his earnest cluelessness refreshing.
(e) Maybe it’s the refreshing use of the word “cracker.” Because I’m a racist. Obviously.
(f) In a perfectly healthy and heterosexual manner.
(g) It helps with my glaucoma.
(h) Beacuse, as you well know, I really care what you think.
(i) Because only an idiot would be outside when Uncle Ralph was on.
(j) You can get two fistfuls of herb for 10 dollars US in Jamaica but can’t find a fresh Newport. Go figure.
(k) I only lie to my girl.
(l) Always the woman’s fault. Always.
(m) Okay, maybe the gun bursts from the Benz coulda been more brolic.