It needs to be said that hip-hop music has always been wildly innovative, but we've also suffered from a few lulls over the years. Particularly in the music video department, there's been a tendency towards repetition. Or, as the great 2Pac once eloquently pointed out, things can get a little boring when the same video vixens (we call them "vixens" now) are showing up in all of the videos. And The Roots and dead prez have both made satirical videos, pointing out the monotony in popular rap.
But we're here to celebrate those rappers who opted for a different route, which is partly why we enlisted the help of the one and only DJ Rosenberg. Co-host of Hot 97's “The Morning Show” and one-half of the brilliant Juan Epstein podcast duo (DJ Cypha Sounds represents the "Juan" portion), Rosenberg is more hip-hop than roughly 89 percent of the world's population. So when he spoke with us about the aesthetics of a truly trippy rap video — and gave us some suggestions — we listened. And for that we thank him, just as we thank the many stoner rappers, artsy rappers, underground rappers, backpack rappers (and plain, ol' regular rappers) on this list for going against the grain. Here are the 17 trippiest hip-hop videos ever. And yes, 17 is a pretty random number, but once you experience all of the epic randomness in these videos, you'll understand.
1. Busta Rhymes, "Gimme Some Mo"
Ah, yes. The great Busa Buss. One of the most brilliant, beloved rappers ever changed the game when he teamed up with Hype Williams (one of our favorite music video directors-turned filmmakers) and started making videos. Busta Rhymes really needs his own list — since pretty much all of his videos are the trippiest videos ever — but for now we're picking this Psycho-inspired awesomeness as our favorite. Also, can we please have Rah Digga back now?
2. *A Tribe Called Quest, "Jazz (We've Got) Buggin' Out"
Now, Busta's video is so much more interesting when you go back and watch this one. This 1991 track from A Tribe Called Quest got a seemingly simple video that suddenly turns trippy in the end. The bugged-out eyes are a great reminder of the fact that Busta had some powerful influences back in the day.
3. *Gravediggaz, "Diary of a Mad Man"
Back in 1994 the Gravediggaz album 6 Feet Deep became a seminal work in the "horrorcore" rap subgenre. The supergroup (comprised of Prince Paul, Frukwan, RZA, and Too Poetic) teamed up with Shabazz The Disciple and Killah Priest for "Diary of a Mad Man." Themes of religion, dark magic, and street life mesh together in the haunting, black and white visuals.
4. *Pharcyde, "Runnin'"
The beat is a classic, the song is infectious, but if you have a fear of clowns, this may not be the video for you. Still—clowns and all—there's an amazing, dream-like quality to the video that makes for an awesome visual experience.
5. Goodie Mob, "They Don't Dance No Mo"
No disrespect to Outkast, but Goodie Mob is the trippiest rap group to come out of Atlanta. Long before The Voice, Cee Lo Green was being weird and awesome, and rocking footy pajamas in rap videos (sort of).
6. *Psycho Realm, "Stone Garden"
Embraced by Cypress Hill in the early '90s, Psycho Realm came on the scene with a West Coast/gothic vibe that resulted in some pretty intense lyrics and videos. "Stone Garden" opens with some über-trippy hospital scenes (which may have gone on to have some influence on Eminem's "The Real Slim Shady" video).
7. Geto Boys, "Mind's Playin' Tricks On Me"
We can't talk trippy rap videos without the Geto Boys. "Trippy" is really putting it lightly here—paranoia, fear, and intimations of suicide make this one a powerful, eerie video to experience.
8. Missy 'Misdemeanor' Elliott, "The Rain"
If you're grown out here in these streets, you can probably remember the first time you saw this video. You didn't know what you were looking at, you didn't know why there was a garbage bag theme, but you knew you were in love. Like Busta Rhymes, Missy's video catalogue is worthy of its own list. She's the reigning queen of trippy rap visuals, and for that we thank her.
9. Eminem, "My Name Is"
When we first met Eminem back in 1999, some of us were skeptical... and weirded out beyond belief. But the Detroit rapper went on to become one of the biggest deals of all time. His contribution to the world of bizarre rap videos (which went along perfectly with his tripped-out lyrics) is immense, but it all started here.
10. Kid Cudi, "Day 'n' Night"
Mr. Solo Dolo came on the scene back in 2008, a Cleveland native living in Brooklyn who got the ultimate co-sign from Kanye West. The somber sounds of Day 'n' Nite might be attributed to the fact that the song was inspired by troubles he was having with a family member who passed away shortly after the song's release. Some of that darkness gets manifested in the visuals, but there's also a playfulness at work here that we really love.
11. Frank Ocean, "Pyramids"
Director Nabil really outdid himself with this unforgettable video. Frank Ocean's brilliant single from channel ORANGE was brought to life in the strip club of your nightmares, and it was epic. Demonized skrippers flipped the concept of the sexually-charged rap video on its head, and the visual experience for the audience mimics tripped-out Frank's own experiences in the video. John Mayer's cameo towards the end only made it weirder. And by "weirder," we obviously mean "cooler."
12. Kanye West, "Black Skinhead"
Another favorite for trippy video fans, Kanye came back on the scene last year with Yeezus and slayed all. Granted, everyone couldn't get into the new sound, but those of us that loved it, really loved it. The "Black Skinhead" (or "BLKKK SKKKN HEAD") video was dark, twisted, and intense—all while remaining somewhat minimalistic, with a computer-generated version of Yeezy at the center of it all. Yeezy also released an interactive version on his website.
Sidenote: every Yeezy fan should check out his incredible interview with the Juan Epstein podcast.
13. Iggy Azalea, "Pu**y"
Before the amazing, Clueless-inspired video for "Fancy," Iggy was just a young, underground rapper struggling to get some airplay. We can't imagine why radio didn't take to this record (ahem) but we will say that any video explicitly referencing the... uh... things she's referencing in this video—while featuring a bunch of kids — is pretty trippy, and even offensive depending on your feelings. But then again, maybe she's just talking about kitty cats.
14. *Tyler the Creator, "Yonkers"
Thanks to DMX, Yonkers has always seemed like a pretty scary place. But Tyler the Creator took our fears to new heights when he dropped these visuals. Prepare to be terrified... and weirdly intriqued. And for a slightly less dark — but equally trippy video — check out Tyler's video for "Tamale" (a song which also features one of the most powerful verses anyone's ever written about their father, probably).
15. Earl Sweatshirt, "WHOA"
Yes, the Odd Future fellas have got the trippy hip-hop video game on lock. Earl Sweatshirt's "WHOA" video almost feels like a tribute to what is probably the trippiest movie ever, Gummo. When he starts dancing with that 45 year-old-ish ballerina outside of his trailer, you just know things have gone too far. It's awesome.
16. Angel Haze, "Werkin Girls"
Creepy, stone-faced kids? Check. Frightening Freddy Krueger hand prop? Check. Weird kidnapper dude with an aluminum foil mask under his shades? Check. If you haven't been checking for Angel Haze, consider this your introduction. She's talented, trippy, and her latest video for Battle Cry is equally dope.
17. Flume & Ghostface Killah, "Space Cadet"
One way to make a dope rap video is to team up with an Australian electronic musician. Flume got Ghostface to feature on his new track, and the collaborative video is one of the coolest we've seen so far this year. Plus, don't you want a little cartoon Ghostface Killah of your own? Of course you do.
*Rosenberg's Top Trippy Picks
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For the bulk of every Rocky and Bullwinkle episode, moose and squirrel would engage in high concept escapades that satirized geopolitics, contemporary cinema, and the very fabrics of the human condition. With all of that to work with, there's no excuse for why the pair and their Soviet nemeses haven't gotten a decent movie adaptation. But the ingenious Mr. Peabody and his faithful boy Sherman are another story, intercut between Rocky and Bullwinkle segments to teach kids brief history lessons and toss in a nearly lethal dose of puns. Their stories and relationship were much simpler, which means that bringing their shtick to the big screen would entail a lot more invention — always risky when you're dealing with precious material.
For the most part, Mr. Peabody & Sherman handles the regeneration of its heroes aptly, allowing for emotionally substance in their unique father-son relationship and all the difficulties inherent therein. The story is no subtle metaphor for the difficulties surrounding gay adoption, with society decreeing that a dog, no matter how hyper-intelligent, cannot be a suitable father. The central plot has Peabody hosting a party for a disapproving child services agent and the parents of a young girl with whom 7-year-old Sherman had a schoolyard spat, all in order to prove himself a suitable dad. Of course, the WABAC comes into play when the tots take it for a spin, forcing Peabody to rush to their rescue.
Getting down to personals, we also see the left brain-heavy Peabody struggle with being father Sherman deserves. The bulk of the emotional marks are hit as we learn just how much Peabody cares for Sherman, and just how hard it has been to accept that his only family is growing up and changing.
But more successful than the new is the film's handling of the old — the material that Peabody and Sherman purists will adore. They travel back in time via the WABAC Machine to Ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and the Trojan War, and 18th Century France, explaining the cultural backdrop and historical significance of the settings and characters they happen upon, all with that irreverent (but no longer racist) flare that the old cartoons enjoyed. And oh... the puns.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a f**king treasure trove of some of the most amazingly bad puns in recent cinema. This effort alone will leave you in awe.
The film does unravel in its final act, bringing the science-fiction of time travel a little too close to the forefront and dropping the ball on a good deal of its emotional groundwork. What seemed to be substantial building blocks do not pay off in the way we might, as scholars of animated family cinema, have anticipated, leaving the movie with an unfinished feeling.
But all in all, it's a bright, compassionate, reasonably educational, and occasionally funny if not altogether worthy tribute to an old favorite. And since we don't have our own WABAC machine to return to a time of regularly scheduled Peabody and Sherman cartoons, this will do okay for now.
If nothing else, it's worth your time for the puns.
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The human face is a beautiful thing - when it's not contorted in a bass guitar-related gurn. So what is a bass face? Well, it's kind of like a sex face, sustained while hammering the old four-string.
While Haim's Este tops the current league charts for most grotesque bass face, her predecessors make for some compelling case studies.
Paul McCartney, for instance.
Some people know Macca as a Beatle. BF spotters know him as one of the original chronic gurners. Bass face: he's still got it!
Then there's Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols.
We don't know if it was the speed, the glue or the raw exertion of punk rock, but Sid's iconic bass face became an essential primer for bass face copycats to follow.
Then there's Flea from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Never one for a lacklustre performance, Flea's face moves around almost as much as he does.
And last, but not least, the legendary stylings of Parliament-Funkadelic's Bootsy Collins have influenced a slew of imitators. Just in case his bass doesn't bring all of the funk, his face always packs a little extra.
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There's an allure to imperfection. With his latest drama Lawless director John Hillcoat taps directly into the side of human nature that draws us to it. Hillcoat finds it in Prohibition history a time when the regulations of alcohol consumption were subverted by most of the population; He finds it in the rural landscapes of Virginia: dingy raw and mesmerizing. And most importantly he finds it in his main character Jack Bondurant (Shia LaBeouf) the scrappy third brother of a moonshining family who is desperate to prove his worth. Jack forcefully injects himself into the family business only to discover there's an underbelly to the underbelly. Lawless is a beautiful film that's violent as hell striking in a way only unfiltered Americana could be.
Acting as the driver for his two outlaw brothers Forrest (Tom Hardy) and Howard (Jason Clarke) isn't enough for Jack. He's enticed by the power of the gangster figure and entranced by what moonshine money can buy. So like any fledgling entrepreneur Jack takes matters into his own hands. Recruiting crippled family friend/distillery mastermind Cricket (Dane DeHaan) the young whippersnapper sets out to brew his own batch sell it to top dog Floyd Banner and make the family rich. The plan works — but it puts the Bondurant boys in over their heads with a new threat: the corrupt law enforcers of Chicago.
Unlike many stories of crime life Lawless isn't about escalation. The movie drifts back and forth leisurely popping in moments like the beats of a great TV episode. One second the Bondurants could be talking shop with their female shopkeep Maggie Beauford (Jessica Chastain). The next Forrest is beating the bloody pulp out of a cop blackmailing their operation. The plot isn't thick; Hillcoat and screenwriter Nick Cave preferring to bask in the landscapes the quiet moments the haunting terror that comes with a life on the other side of the tracks. A feature film doesn't offer enough time for Lawless to build — it recalls cinema-level TV currently playing on outlets like HBO and AMC that have truly spoiled us — but what the duo accomplish is engrossing.
Accompanying the glowing visuals and Cave's knockout workout on the music side (a toe-tapping mix of spirituals bluegrass and the writer/musician's spine-tingling violin) are muted performances from some of Hollywood's rising stars. Despite LaBeouf's off-screen antics he lights up Lawless and nails the in-deep whippersnapper. His playful relationship with a local religious girl (Mia Wasikowska) solidifies him as a leading man but like everything in the movie you want more. Tom Hardy is one of the few performers who can "uurrr" and "mmmnerm" his way through a scene and come out on top. His greatest sparring partner isn't a hulking thug but Chastain who brings out the heart of the impenetrable beast. The real gem of Lawless is Guy Pearce as the Bondurant trio's biggest threat. Shaved eyebrows pristine city clothes and a temper like a rabid wolverine Pearce's Charlie Rakes is the most frightening villain of 2012. He viciously chews up every moment he's on screen. That's even before he starts drawing blood.
Lawless is the perfect movie for the late August haze — not quite the Oscary prestige picture or the summertime shoot-'em-up. It's drama that has its moonshine and swigs it too. Just don't drink too much.
Poor St. Patrick. His Day has devolved into a celebration of – and with – alcohol rather than a celebration of the man himself and what he represents: the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. (Thanks, Wikipedia!) And in honor of St. Patrick’s Day 2012, we’re here to perpetuate that modern tradition with a list our favorite drunk scenes of all time. (NOTE: THE CLIPS BELOW CONTAIN VULGAR LANGUAGE AND/OR WILL FERRELL’S BUTT.)
Leaving Las Vegas
A great drunk scene need not be of the comedic variety. Exhibit A: almost every scene of Nicolas Cage’s (career-best, Oscar-winning) performance as a man on a mission to drink himself to death. Several sequences are depressingly memorable, but one of the best involves a little bit of humor, a bar fight and the awesome line “Like the kiln klan king of the rim ram room.”
“We’re going streaking!” With that line – and, of course, the gratuitous display of his ass (which would soon become his go-to move) – Will Ferrell cemented a spot in many a frat guy’s heart and on any list like this one. It also actually might’ve helped launch him into superstardom, as he went on quite a roll following Old School, and this scene was certainly its most memorable.
Much of Superbad revolves around procuring alcohol, and many such scenes that take place after said procurement are instant classics (i.e., Michael Cera and Martha MacIsaac getting, uh, clumsy in bed, or Cera reluctantly singing to a group of coked-out older guys), but the best might be the one that sets the movie apart from straightforward raunch-fests before and since: the hilariously tender scene between Cera and Jonah Hill after a long night of drunken craziness. Boop!
Billy Bob Thornton singlehandedly helped refresh the entire holiday-movie genre with his title mall Santa – an obscenity-spewing, alcohol-swilling curmudgeon out to make money on Christmas, not make kids smile. In one of the movie's best scenes (above), hilarity starts the very second we see Thornton’s character, in Santa attire, roll up the escalator, wasted, with a broken bottle of booze in his hand.
The Big Lebowski
It’s not exactly a drunk scene, per se, but we wouldn’t feel right about not including it: While driving, with a beer in one hand and joint in the other (certainly not something we’d recommend trying), The Dude (Jeff Bridges) tries to flick the joint roach out of his closed car window, lets out one of the more hilarious yelps in movie history when it falls on his crotch, and then does, well, the somewhat sensible thing by using his beer as a fire extinguisher. And then crashes.
“No more yanky my wanky. The Donger need food!” What else can be said? Ever??
Otis Day & The Knights - Shout (video edit) from FunkyRob on Vimeo.
John Belushi and Co. spent much of this beloved college comedy drunk (except for the great “I’m a zit, get it?” scene) – and oftentimes seemed drunk even when their characters weren’t – but the best, most purely fun drunkenness is on display during Otis Day & the Knights’ performance of “Shout” at a Delta House packed with frat guys and their dates ready to sing and dance like fools.
Don’t let the horrendous Russell Brand update taint the 1981 Arthur. In fact, let it prompt you to watch or re-watch the fantastic original, in which Dudley Moore plays the title character, arguably the greatest film drunk of all time (whatever that means). It’s pretty tough to choose just one amazing drunk scene, so we went with several. Because you truly can’t hear that laugh enough.
How about a scene involving what will not be drunk instead of a “drunk scene”? Even though it doesn’t contain anything memorable that meets the basic criteria of our list, Sideways is expressly about alcohol, so it does have some business being on a list commemorating THE drunk holiday, and … OK, we just had to find a way to include Paul Giammatti’s classic anti-merlot line.
The misadventures begin when amateur wine enthusiast Miles (Paul Giamatti) decides he's going to take his old college buddy the charming Jack (Thomas Haden Church) on a relaxing trip to the vineyards of California's Santa Ynez Valley the week before Jack's impending nuptials. It would be nice if it were that simple but in actuality the two comically mismatched friends have some serious mid-life crises to work through: Miles is a sad-sack worrier who has been depressed for the last two years over a failed marriage and several failed attempts to get his novel published while over-sexed Jack faces his faded youth and fading acting career. Their journey denigrates into debauchery as trips like this is are wont to do and Miles and Jack soon find themselves sniffing swirling and downing wine while chatting up the local denizens--including the vivacious wine pourer Stephanie (Sandra Oh) to whom Jack takes a shine and the quiet wine-savvy waitress Maya (Virginia Madsen) who takes a shine to Miles. At the end of the week the guys eventually emerge from a haze of pinot noir sexual escapades and wistful yearnings to collide with the reality of heading back home.
Payne didn't want to cast what he calls "movie stars" for Sideways deciding to go with lesser known actors who could bring out the human drama in a more instinctive way (even though Payne probably could have brought out good performances in just about anyone; look what he did with Jack Nicholson in About Schmidt). Casting the superb Giamatti as the beleaguered Miles however is a stroke of genius: The actor elevates the movie to another level turning in an unbelievably heart-wrenching performance. Sure Giamatti is the king of playing losers having played plenty of them in his career (American Splendor
Duets) but it's the surprisingly sweet and gentle way he becomes the guy who maybe just maybe gets the girl that knocks you out. Madsen as Miles's would-be paramour Maya also comes out of nowhere to give a very genuine portrait of a woman who's dealing with her own divorce while looking for some companionship. The actress has finally been given the chance to shine after a lot bad television (anyone remember
Just Ask My Children? My point exactly) and the movie's the better for it. As the other two players in the quartet Church whose been out of the loop since his days on TV's Wings does a wonderful job as Jack the cad who actually has a heart while Oh (Under the Tuscan Sun) adds a nice touch as the gullible Stephanie just looking for Mr. Right.
How about these quirky indie writer/directors these days getting all mushy and romantic? Charlie Kaufman started the trend this year with his terminally hip but eternally tender Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and even David O. Russell's I Heart Huckabees
has its gooey moments weird and existential as they were. Now it's Alexander Payne's turn--and he's hit the jackpot. Based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Rex Pickett Payne along with writing partner Jim Taylor has crafted another exquisite slice-of-life movie to follow his brilliant efforts About Schmidt Election and Citizen Ruth but has also delved into the heart-ripping love story genre; Sideways is so painfully aching at times it hurts. The characters give eloquent soliloquies rather than come off as just talking heads spouting dialogue--Maya's explanation on why she loves wine so much; Miles' take on the delicate beauty of the pinot noir grape; Jack's tearful pleading with his friend to save him all hit home. Then of course there's the wine. Payne so vividly paints the artistry the tastes the pure love of wine as well as stylishly filming California's wine country that connoisseurs and novices alike will appreciate this movie. Heck anyone who just likes to drink the stuff is going to be mesmerized by the intimacy of it all. Speaking of which where's that bottle opener?