Hip-hop and music videos have always been a perfect couple.
Ever since The Sugar Hill Gang released the first ever rap single with “Rapper Delight” and paired it with video images, it was destined that this genre would not be a fad as many critics panned it to be in its early years.
Over the years since that famous “Rappers Delight” video, hip-hop artists have upped the ante and have produced some of the most iconic videos in history. So, we’re going to take a trip down memory lane and bring you the top nine hip-hop videos of all time.
9. “Jesus Walks” by Kanye West
No matter where one stands on Kanye, no one can disprove the fact that “Jesus Walks” is a visual triumph for Yeezy. It was both stunning and powerful, and it showcases just how much of a genius Kanye is when it comes to both his music and his videos.
8. “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five
Before Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five released “The Message,” hip-hop was all about the party. Then, in 1982, the legendary hip-hop crew from the Bronx dropped this truthsayer, which detailed the struggle of crime, poverty, and violence in inner-city America. It was truly a revolutionary video, and it showed the music world that hip-hop did indeed have a conscious.
7. “You Gotta Fight For Your Right (To Party)” by The Beastie Boys
You must fight for your right to party! That was the message the upstart Beastie Boys wanted to make when they created the video to this 1986 classic. “You Gotta Fight For Your Right (To Party)" surpassed all expectations and became one of the biggest hits of the year, and the video to the single was also a classic. With the Beastie Boys tearing the door down and trashing the apartment, this group kicked down the racial barrier and showed that white guys do indeed know how to rhyme.
6. “HUMBLE.” by Kendrick Lamar
The video to one of the best hip-hop tracks of all time is a young buck on this list. However, the video to “.HUMBLE” must be considered as one of the best hip-hop videos ever created. Visually in a league of its own compared to its contemporaries, one cannot get enough of this slice of hip-hop history.
5. “The Real Slim Shady” by Eminem
The images of this video will sit with a listener for decades. “The Real Slim Shady,” the single that launched Eminem into the Mount Rushmore of hip-hop artists, is both disturbingly weird, funny as heck, and beautiful at the same time. It was this combination that made this video one of the best of all time and required viewing for any hip-hop purist.
4. “It Was a Good Day” by Ice Cube
This track was hailed as an instant classic when it was released in 1993. “It Was a Good Day” detailed a day in the life of Cube in which all of the sour deeds South Central was known for dissipated for just one day. No one was shot, he scored a triple-double on the basketball court, he won at craps, and he didn’t even have to use his AK. No one will ever forget the lyrics or the video to this song, and it is still visually fresh today as it was 25 years ago.
3. “Ready Or Not” by The Fugees
Even to this very day, it feels like The Fugees should still be here created legendary hits. As it stands, sadly, this fabled hip-hop group had a short lifespan; but at least they left the hip-hop world with a classic video, “Ready or Not,” which was the group’s biggest hit, and the video, which showcased the group rapping in a submarine, is an iconic piece of hip-hop video history.
2. “Walk This Way” by Run D.M.C. and Aerosmith
Any list of the best hip-hop videos of all time that doesn’t include “Walk This Way’ is simply not a legitimate list. No one will ever forget the iconic scene when Steven Tyler busted through the wall to give the smash single, and hip-hop in general, it’s first real taste of pop crossover success. That is why "Walk This Way" is an important chapter in the history of hip-hop.
1. “California Love” by 2Pac feat. Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman
By the time the “California Love” video hit the airways, the West Coast had an iron grip on the hip-hop world. Afterward, the genre would never be the same, and for the better. “California Love” was simply a triumphant spectacle for hip-hop as it cemented that the genre could have mainstream success.