During their 16 year career, Atlanta-hailing rap group OutKast established themselves as one best duos in the history of the genre. The group not only played a seminal role in establishing the South is one of the hip-hop’s great wellsprings, they also pushed the genre boundaries in bold new ways by incorporating elements of techno, blues, psychedelia and gospel into their signature sound. OutKast also produced some of the very best music videos of the late ‘90s and early 2000s.
The duo’s video for “Ms. Jackson” became an instant sensation when it was released in 2000 because of how cleverly it addresses the songs thematic concerns. Instead of having Andre 3000 and Big Boi directly apologize to the mother of an ex-girlfriend, director F. Gary Gray has the pair attempt to make amends with a futile yet heartfelt act of contrition: trying to repair a faulty roof in the middle of a rainstorm.
Being a rumination on the pain of being in a shaky romantic relationship and hollow and isolating nature of fame, “Hey Ya” is one of OutKast’s saddest songs. However, its darkness can only be understood by focusing on its lyrics; its melody and chorus are pure ecstasy. It's Bryan Barber directed music video ignores the track’s unsettling undercurrents altogether by recontextualizing it as something the Beatles might’ve played on Ed Sullivan after “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”
OutKast has always occupied a luminal space within the hip-hop mainstream. The group is undeniably part of the culture, yet they are also idiosyncratic enough to stand outside of its strictures. That dichotomy is full display in Dave Myers’ “B.O.B.” The video has plenty of beautiful dancers, decadent clothing and lavish cars but it also features a psychedelic color palette, warp-capable low riders and a gospel choir so good they can shut the club down.
Although most remakes of classic movies are almost offensively terrible, Bryan Barber’s update of “West Side Story” is pretty great. The reason being, “Roses’” eye-popping color palette, delightfully choreographed dance numbers and slew of celebrity cameos make it different enough from the original to justify its existence.
“The Whole World”
Many directors would have utilized a muted color palette and a dour tone when creating the music video for a song that deals with him the impact of the 9/11 terrorist attack. Bryan Barber, however, went in another direction. His eerie circus themed clip captures the shocked and anxious mood that gripped the nation at the time without referring to the attack directly.