40 of the Best Hip-Hop Videos of 2019 (So Far)
Music videos are the perfect opportunity for artists to flex. Those stunts can reveal themselves via celebrity cameos, exceptional post-production, blowing a bag on the budget, artistic creativity or simply showing off your bankroll. For artists, it's a moment when their fans and followers—whether passive or die-hard—are fully engaged. They've got the spotlight and only a few minutes to make the most of it.
Rappers have been pushing their creative bounds via their visuals in 2019, serving up shareable, meme-able, rewind-worthy clips (among a pool of less-notable productions that will go unaddressed here). Lil Nas X leads the pack with his video for the biggest song of the year, "Old Town Road." For his star-studded clip (featuring Chris Rock, Vince Staples, Rico Nasty and a gang of others), Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus play cowboys who time travel from America's Frontier Era to hee-hawing in 2019. The video is so cinematic that its YouTube description dubs it an official movie. Stunt.
YG also reverted to the past for his "Stop Snitchin" video, taking it back to the days of slavery to make a point that resonates for many to this day. Meanwhile, Cardi B literally bared all in the eye-popping video for "Press," also showing her love for Offset in the video for their "Clout" collaboration. And Megan Thee Stallion turned up for the heat for her "Big Ole Freak" visual. Hot Girl Meg, indeed.
Others attempted to innovate the music video space. YBN Cordae depicted his single "Have Mercy" as a Choose Your Own Adventure style double video. His fellow 2019 XXL Freshman Tierra Whack chopped up French fries and served them to a humanized papa potato in "Unemployed." Sick. Elsewhere, Joyner Lucas called for the resurrection of fallen heroes in a massive swap for some living counterparts in "Devil's Work," making for perhaps the year's most controversial video.
Hollywood folks have been popping up in music videos this year as well. Tyler, The Creator enlisted the services of Tracee Ellis Ross for "Earfquake," J.I.D tapped actor Ansel Elgort to star in his "Off Da Zoinkys" flick and Logic landed a cameo from funnyman and Eminem impressionist Chris D'Elia for his Slim Shady collab, "Homicide." Hilarious. DaBaby also brought comedic relief with his "Suge" and "Pony" videos, but the biggest music video laughs of the year so far come courtesy of Junglepussy's "I'm in Love." Just trust us on this one.
There were some bittersweet on-screen moments, too, like Nipsey Hussle's final music video for "Higher," with DJ Khaled and John Legend. Yet whether somber, joyful or injected with a message (J. Cole's "Middle Child"), hip-hop music videos in 2019 have been on-point. Check out XXL's picks of the best of the best below.