Any decent journalist can recite Marshall McLuhan's line "the medium is the message," which is especially fitting when it comes to the best music videos of the year. As an artist, how you choose to portray your music onscreen says a lot about your creativity and thought process.

Creating a memorable music video these days is hard work but the visuals below are proof that if executed right, the results can go viral. Although the videos XXL selected for the 20 Best Hip-Hop Videos of 2015 didn't premiere on TRL or 106 & Park because those platforms don't exist anymore, there's no reason to let the visual to your favorite song become a throwaway. In fact, the meme-generating game of some of these videos surpasses the audio it accompanies.

This year, a select few rappers weren't afraid to think outside of the box when it came to transforming their sonic work into a visual masterpiece. Chance the Rapper brought rap to Broadway with "Sunday Candy," Missy Elliott showed fans she's still got moves in "WTF," Drake had the internet in stitches over his salsa moves in "Hotline Bling" and Lil Dicky made being fiscally responsible into a hilarious art form with "Save Dat Money."

These are the most creative, cool and calculated hip-hop videos of the last 12 months. Which one is your pick for the top spot of the year? We're sure it'll be a difficult decision to pick just one. Here are the 20 Best Hip-Hop Videos of 2015.

  • "Play No Games"

    Big Sean

    Inspired by the ‘90s hit show, Martin, Big Sean takes viewers down memory lane with his Mike Carson-directed video for “Play No Games.” With cameos by French Montana and Martin Lawrence, Sean Don, along with Chris Brown and Ty Dolla $ign, recreate scenes from the popular hit show. - Roger Krastz

  • "Hotline Bling"


    One of the most talked about and imitated videos of 2015 is Drake's "Hotline Bling." Directed by Director X, Drizzy shows off his dancing skills in a futuristic room full of vibrant colors and beautiful women. The visual helped show a more playful side of the Toronto native and created a meme blitz that will last well into 2016. - R.K.

  • "L$D"

    A$AP Rocky

    A$AP Rocky invites you to take part in a trippy experience in his video for “L$D.” The Dexter Navy-directed visual follows Pretty Flacko throughout a setting of bright lights and psychedelic vibes as he spaces out with his main chick. - R.K.

  • "Downtown"

    Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

    Back in August, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis released the Broadway-inspired “Downtown” video featuring rap veterans Melle Mel, Kool Moe Dee and Grandmaster Caz. The duo take it back to the ‘80s with everything from the wardrobe to the rides. They even got retired slugger Ken Griffey Jr. to recreate his 1989 rookie card photo. The visual proves once again Macklemore and Lewis’ ability to create a refreshing effort that makes a mark. - R.K.

  • "$ave Dat Money"

    Lil Dicky

    One of the most innovative videos of 2015 is Lil Dicky's "Save Dat Money." Based around the title of the song, the rapper creates an epic visual without spending a dime. You can't help but laugh as he knocks on the door of mansion after mansion looking for a place to set up shot. From the concept to Dicky's comedic ways, this clip is a must-see. - R.K.

  • "Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)"

    Run the Jewels Feat. Zack De La Rocha

    Run the Jewels released a stellar album in 2014, the follow-up to their self-titled a year prior. A few months after the project dropped, Killer Mike and El-P released the video for the Zack De La Rocha-assisted single -- he's the frontman for Rage Against the Machine. "Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)" pointing a spotlight on racially motivated violence in America. The video features two exhausted men -- a white cop and an unarmed black man -- in a struggle that you will not be able to take your eyes away from. - Emmanuel C.M.

  • "Dope Walk"

    A$AP Ferg

    A$AP Ferg turns his epic New York Fashion Week experience into a visual for "Dope Walk." What makes this clip cool is the concept. The Harlem-bred rapper uses FaceTime to contact supermodel Cara Delevingne while the he goes from event to event. Kanye, Beyoncé, Justin Bieber, A$AP Rocky, Big Sean, Rihanna and more make cameos in this unique effort from the A$AP Mob member. - Emmanuel C.M.

  • "Baby Blue"

    Action Bronson Feat. Chance the Rapper

    Action Bronson and Chance the Rapper remake Eddie Murphy's classic 1988 film Coming to America for the video for "Baby Blue." Bronson plays young Prince Akeem in some of the film's most memorable moments (the barbershop haircut, Sexual Chocolate's performance, Samuel L. Jackson's robbery scene), which displays the New York rapper's comedic side. And let's not forget Chance's verse is amazing. - Emmanuel C.M.

  • "Sober"

    Childish Gambino

    Childish Gambino generally always makes interesting music videos. For "Sober," he didn't disappoint as he tries his hardest to spit the best game to a beautiful woman. He dances, does magic tricks and everything he can to win her affection but unfortunately, she's not having it and walks away. It's a really sad story. - Emmanuel C.M.

  • "Dope Man"


    Redman plays a hilarious cop in the clip for "Dope Man," off his recent Mudface album. The New Jersey native wears a wig and some funky clothes as he attempts to find out why people are dying with "the ugly face." This visual gets crazier as every scene progresses. - Emmanuel C.M.

  • "Senorita"

    Vince Staples

    Once Vince Staples’ “Senorita” video commences, it’s apparent havoc is about to go down when those haunting keys hit the air. Ian Pons Jewell creates a black-and-white post-apocalyptic suburbia where a tattooed, bible-holding man, who lip-syncs to the rapper’s Future-assisted track, leads his followers to death. The shock factor arrives when its revealed the deadly scene is just a picture perfect family’s entertainment for the day. - Georgette Cline

  • "See You Again"

    Wiz Khalifa Feat. Charlie Puth

    Wiz Khalifa doesn’t go for extravagance in his visual for “See You Again” featuring Charlie Puth. Instead, the Pittsburgh rhymer opts for the simplistic, emo route as the video serves as a homage to deceased actor Paul Walker -- the song appeared on the Furious 7 soundtrack. Walker’s passing combined with the poignant lyrics helped the clip become the most-watched of 2015 with 1.2 billion views. - G.C.

  • "No Words"


    When Hopsin kicks off his “No Words” visual with “Man, rap today fuckin’ sucks bad,” he’s out to offend the rappers on some following shit. The Funk Volume founder uses this clip to mock those in the game creating music with incoherent lyrics. Rap stereotypes abound here. From sipping lean to fancy cars and women twerking, the rhymer uses humor to get his point across. - G.C.

  • "Sunday Candy"

    Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment

    When "short film" takes the place of "video," it's clear that Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment meant serious business when creating "Sunday Candy." The musical-inspired visual finds Chance the Rapper enjoying a casual stroll through town. He hits a local diner, kicks back as he duets with Jamila Woods and chills with his boys. Who knew the Chi-town MC had it in him to pull off such solid choreography while spitting. - G.C.

  • "Wallace"

    Azealia Banks

    Azealia Banks is ingenious when it comes to her videos. The Harlem-born rhymer calls on directors Nick Ace and Rob Soucy (they were at the helm of her "Heavy Metal and Reflective") to create an interactive clip worth your time. Your able to guide Banks' movements once a webcam is activated, become part of the effort when your head is eerily incorporated into the background and make it rain with her lyrics. Ayo technology. - G.C.

  • "Alright"

    Kendrick Lamar

    The larger than life aspect and black-and-white cinematography make Kendrick Lamar's “Alright” a visual you can’t take your eyes off of. The seven-minute clip, directed by Colin Tilley and the Little Homies in Los Angeles, has the air of a Spike Lee joint, incorporating satire into tough issue -- in this case racism and police brutality. Kendrick flies above all the bullshit to post up on a L.A. street lamp, professing love for his black people. - Sidney Madden

  • "WTF (Where They From)"

    Missy Elliott Feat. Pharrell

    Missy Elliott made a slow and steady comeback to hip-hop in 2015, capping the year with “WTF (Where They From)," her first released music video in almost 10 years. Directed by Dave Meyers and Missy herself, the dance-heavy visual channels ‘90s hip-hop vibes and incorporates a creepy, comical puppet version of Misdemeanor and Skateboard P. - S.M.

  • "Buffalo"

    Tyler, The Creator

    Tyler, The Creator is always up for shock and awe and his “BUFFALO” video is no exception. As the Odd Future leader spits his baritone rhymes, the shock jock personifies a paradox of a white-painted man being lynched by a mob of black people. At the video's mid-point, Tyler switches things up, performing a rendition of the song “Find Your Wings” featuring Odd Future in front of a live studio audience straight out of the ‘70s. - S.M.

  • "Wet Dreamz"

    J. Cole

    When making a visual about having sex for the first time, there’s a few obvious avenues to go down. You can either make it look like a corny after school special, complete with a kid fumbling with a condom, or paint homeboy into a hero (you know how that goes). But director Ryan Staake found another lane for J. Cole’s “Wet Dreamz." Using strategic shots of dogs in obedience school, a story unfolds of puppy love that everyone can relate to. - S.M.

  • "Feeling Myself"

    Nicki Minaj Feat. Beyonce

    Shot during the 2015 Coachella Music Festival, Nicki Minaj’s “Feeling Myself” video was a highlight in a year of female rap domination for the Queens MC. How often to do see Queen Bey and Nicki stuffing their faces with In-n-Out Burger and chilling in a blow up pool? The quick cameos from Roc Nation cohorts and behind-the-scenes outtakes make for a colorful pop of fun the viewer doesn’t normally get to see. Unfortunately, the overload of female rap awesomeness can only be found on the subscription streaming service Tidal. For now, get in on their BFF glory with the teaser below. - S.M.

More From XXL