We pick our 25 favorite videos from 2012, across both major label and indie releases.
25. Waka Flocka Flame – “Rooster In My Rari”; Dir. Morocco Vaughn- So bad, it’s good.
24. Cypress Hill x Rusko – “Can’t Keep Me Down” (feat. Damian Marley); Dir: Kristofer Ström – It’s no secret that both Cypress Hill and Rusko have, uhhhh, tried drugs before, so this intense mushroom trip visual of the urban boom box is a perfect fit for their collaborative EP.
23. Nicki Minaj – “The Boys” (feat. Cassie); Dir. Colin Tilley – The song is whatever. The video? We can’t look away.
22. Phonte – “Eternally” (feat. Median); Dir. Kenneth Price – We think this might be the first time Mormon missionaries were parodied in a rap video. Except the difference here is that Phonte is trying to preach that good music.
21. Xzibit – “Napalm”; Dir. Matt Alonzo – All you rappers that talk tough have never been in a war zone. Xzibit shot his video in one.
20. Rick Ross – “Hold Me Back”; Dir. TAJ – As far as balls-out, hood snapshot videos go, this one took the cake, with a shirtless Rick Ross shaking his titties like the most well-endowed stripper. BET turned this down. We turnt it up.
19. Snoop Lion – “La La La”; Dir. Eli Roth – Not what were used to from either Snoop or Eli, but definitely one of the coolest videos of the year, Rushmore-style.
18. Lil Wayne – “My Homies Still” (feat. Big Sean); Dir. PARRIS – Surreal suburban yard-sale with style-to-spare. Purple elephants would make Kool Keith proud. Or angry, actually.
17. Tyga – “Faded” (feat. Lil Wayne); Dir. Colin Tilley – Another crazy Colin Tilley directed clip, highlighted by NBA Jam style big heads, hypnotic images, and skin tight gold pants.
16. Action Bronson – “The Symbol” – Dir. Rik Cordero – Not quite “Sabotage”, but equally awesome for different reasons. This is the cinematic equivalent of the Rare Chandeliers album cover.
15. Rick Ross – “3 Kings” (feat. Dr. Dre & Jay-Z); Dir. DRE Films – Billed as a “visual piece”, this brilliantly constructed cut-and-paste video references countless classic hip-hop moments in the careers of each Dr. Dre, Jay-Z, and Rick. Sensory overload for longtime fans of the game.
14. 2 Chainz – “No Lie” (feat. Drake); Dir. X – Super visual black and white video that takes an otherwise hood track and adds some clean, artistic flare to it.
13. Jean Grae – “Kill Screen”; Dir. Jean Grae- Ms. Grae’s murder-mystery / secret agent short film is filled with clues and subliminal messages, making it one of the most intriguing rap videos of 2012.
12. Jay-Z & Kanye West – “No Church In The Wild” (feat. Frank Ocean); Dir. Romain Gavras – Occupiers take on the cops in this clip. We haven’t seen this kind of stuff since
Public Enemy era. Power to the people and the beats.
11. Drake – “H.Y.F.R.”; Dir. X – Drake celebrates his “re-bar mitzvah”, as friends from both his Black and Jewish sides comes together to celebrate.
10. Steve Aoki – “Cudi The Kid” (feat. Kid Cudi & Travis Barker); Dir. Jam Sutton – Super fresh video featuring the track’s collaborators, each Steve Aoki, Kid Cudi, and Travis Barker as kids, dodging creepy clowns and angry nuns.
9. Murs – “Animal Style”; Dir. HOBOSTEWD – Murs takes on closeted homophobia on this track, where he plays a gay high-school student, complete with a “gay kissing scene”. Props for Murs for taking a bold risk and helping stamp out intolerance with this video.
8. Aloe Blacc – “You Make Me Smile”; Dir. Eric Coleman – Heart-warming clip of Aloe Blacc and his daughter at Breakfast. Anyone with a kid can relate to this song and this clip.
7. RZA + The Black Keys – “Baddest Man Alive”; Dir. Chris Marrs Piliero – RZA takes on The Black Keys in this homage to old school kung fu flicks. We liked this better than his movie.
6. Evidence – “Falling Down”; Dir. Todd Angkasuwan – The video game “Limbo” was an obvious influence in this side-scrolling, black-and-white clip, as the Weatherman walks in the rain.
5. Macklemore – “Thrift Shop”; Dir. Jon Jon Augustavo, Ryan Lewis, Ben Haggerty – Mack’s ode to thrift store digging was not only a millennial re-imagining of Eminem-levels of visual silliness, but also the biggest indie video to hit in nearly two decades. That’s a cold-ass honkey.
4. Gangrene – “Vodka & Ayahuasca”; Directed by Jason Goldwatch – Decon’s Jason Goldwatch keenly sews together footage of an actual police chase, with his own scenes of Alchemist piloting the vehicle, and Oh No rhyming in the back. Simple, yet very effective.
3. Lupe Fiasco – “Bitch Bad”; Directed by Gil Green – Probably the most socially conscious video of the year, Lupe’s poignant song examines the long-term effects that irresponsible rap lyrics have on children’s minds.
2. El-P – “The Full Retard”; Dir. Timothy Saccenti – El’s evil alter ego comes to life as an uzi-welding, cocaine snorting, murderous puppet. Low budget special effects make this one extra fun to watch.
1. Nas – “Daughters”; Dir. Chris Robinson – Awesome video for Nas’ poignant track, as seen through the eyes of his daughter, Destiny Jones.
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