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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David Mitchell's novel Cloud Atlas consists of six stories set in various periods between 1850 and a time far into Earth's post-apocalyptic future. Each segment lives on its own the previous first person account picked up and read by a character in its successor creating connective tissue between each moment in time. The various stories remain intact for Tom Tykwer's (Run Lola Run) Lana Wachowski's and Andy Wachowski's (The Matrix) film adaptation which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival. The massive change comes from the interweaving of the book's parts into one three-hour saga — a move that elevates the material and transforms Cloud Atlas in to a work of epic proportions.
Don't be turned off by the runtime — Cloud Atlas moves at lightning pace as it cuts back and forth between its various threads: an American notary sailing the Pacific; a budding musician tasked with transcribing the hummings of an accomplished 1930's composer; a '70s-era investigatory journalist who uncovers a nefarious plot tied to the local nuclear power plant; a book publisher in 2012 who goes on the run from gangsters only to be incarcerated in a nursing home; Sonmi~451 a clone in Neo Seoul who takes on the oppressive government that enslaves her; and a primitive human from the future who teams with one of the few remaining technologically-advanced Earthlings in order to survive. Dense but so was the unfamiliar world of The Matrix. Cloud Atlas has more moving parts than the Wachowskis' seminal sci-fi flick but with additional ambition to boot. Every second is a sight to behold.
The members of the directing trio are known for their visual prowess but Cloud Atlas is a movie about juxtaposition. The art of editing is normally a seamless one — unless someone is really into the craft the cutting of a film is rarely a post-viewing talking point — but Cloud Atlas turns the editor into one of the cast members an obvious player who ties the film together with brilliant cross-cutting and overlapping dialogue. Timothy Cavendish the elderly publisher could be musing on his need to escape and the film will wander to the events of Sonmi~451 or the tortured music apprentice Robert Frobisher also feeling the impulse to run. The details of each world seep into one another but the real joy comes from watching each carefully selected scene fall into place. You never feel lost in Cloud Atlas even when Tykwer and the Wachowskis have infused three action sequences — a gritty car chase in the '70s a kinetic chase through Neo Seoul and a foot race through the forests of future millennia — into one extended set piece. This is a unified film with distinct parts echoing the themes of human interconnectivity.
The biggest treat is watching Cloud Atlas' ensemble tackle the diverse array of characters sprinkled into the stories. No film in recent memory has afforded a cast this type of opportunity yet another form of juxtaposition that wows. Within a few seconds Tom Hanks will go from near-neanderthal to British gangster to wily 19th century doctor. Halle Berry Hugh Grant Jim Sturgess Jim Broadbent Ben Whishaw Hugo Weaving and Susan Sarandon play the same game taking on roles of different sexes races and the like. (Weaving as an evil nurse returning to his Priscilla Queen of the Desert cross-dressing roots is mind-blowing.) The cast's dedication to inhabiting their roles on every level helps us quickly understand the worlds. We know it's Halle Berry behind the fair skinned wife of the lunatic composer but she's never playing Halle Berry. Even when the actors are playing variations on themselves they're glowing with the film's overall epic feel. Jim Broadbent's wickedly funny modern segment a Tykwer creation that packs a particularly German sense of humor is on a smaller scale than the rest of the film but the actor never dials it down. Every story character and scene in Cloud Atlas commits to a style. That diversity keeps the swirling maelstrom of a movie in check.
Cloud Atlas poses big questions without losing track of its human element the characters at the heart of each story. A slower moment or two may have helped the Wachowskis' and Tykwer's film to hit a powerful emotional chord but the finished product still proves mainstream movies can ask questions while laying over explosive action scenes. This year there won't be a bigger movie in terms of scope in terms of ideas and in terms of heart than Cloud Atlas.
Imagine Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger and Jason and that scary dude from Scream and every other horror character from the past 30 years, all on screen together. Sweet, right? Scary, right? Well, if Bruce Campbell gets his way, you won't have to imagine.
Campbell -- current star of USA's Burn Notice and cult-hero from Evil Dead and Army of Darkness -- told the LA Times that the recent action flick The Expendables -- which had nearly every action star from the past 20 years in it -- gave him the idea to do a similar film, except in the horror genre. We had that very idea when Stallone's action melee' was first release and you can read our ideas for a horror-version of The Expendables here. But for a scoop straight from the horses mouth, read on:
"Yeah, The Expendables, or more like the It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World of horror. I want to get so many horror movie stars that people can't possibly not see the movie. I want to give them other stuff to do. I want to have Kane Hodder be very particular about what he eats. I want Robert Englund to be a tough guy, like he knows tae kwon do or something. I want to find out the hidden sides of all these people. Some will play themselves, some will play alternate characters as well. I may approach Kane Hodder to play Frankenstein. He could be Kane Hodder himself fighting himself as Frankenstein. It could be crazy. It's a silly concocted story that we hope to do maybe in a year or so. My breaks between Burn Notice have been getting tighter because they've been adding episodes. They're trying to trap me like a rat in the TV world, and I might just let them. There's a script, it just kind of blows right now, so no one's really seeing it. We gotta work on it. Definitely shoot in Oregon all on a stage. It's like the 300 of horror comedies. We want to make it a whole world. Someone's gotta take Frank down for good."
Although Campbell was clearly highly-caffeinated during this explanation, the idea sounds awesome.
Source: LA Times
Two cops arrive at an abandoned house where they've heard screaming. They find a woman hunched over and her eyes are plucked out. A seven-foot monster Jacob Goodnight (Kane) then hacks one of the officers in half and cuts the other officer's arm off--but not before he shoots the maniac in the head. That officer Frank Williams (Steve Vidler) recuperates and four years later is assigned to a youth detention program. His first job is to escort some delinquents to an abandoned Blackwell Hotel where a little old historian Margaret (Cecilly Polson) needs volunteers to help her tidy up. Instead one by one the young people become part of the eyeball collection of the psycho who was traumatized by an over-religious mother. Aren’t we all? Yes there is acting in this including from the World Wrestling Entertainment bad-boy Kane who could develop a Freddy Krueger-like franchise as this homicidal religious freak. He grunts and huffs but also sobs and shows a conscience at crucial times. And he's scary not laughable which is always a danger in these kind of films. With what little they have to play off of the supporting team is good especially Craig Horner as an ambitious thief who has maps of all the secret corridors in the hotel. Among the delinquents are streetwise Christine (Christina Vidal) an a--hole bully Michael (Luke Pegler) a tattooed beauty Kira (Samantha Noble) and a seductive shoplifter Zoe (Rachael Taylor). Taylor’s Paris Hilton-like persona makes her one of the victims you can't wait to see get it. Some of the others hardly last long enough worth mentioning even though many of them have characters that are surprisingly fleshed-out before they become popped-out eye candy. See No Evil offers plenty of jump moments squirming gross-out scenes and hide-your-eyes shocks with a plot reminiscent of any of the Friday the 13th or Saw movies. Some of the gore is particularly gruesome and if you don't know what an eyeball looks like when it pops out of your head then you'll certainly have an anatomy lesson here. First-time feature director Gregory Dark known for making music videos utilizes those fast-cut edits muted colors and washed-out tones to create the horror. The camera closes in on bugs flies and even dives into the eye socket of a hollowed-out face. It follows a line of booby-traps in the hotel a jiggling arm that's cut off and even into a hole in the psycho-monster's head which is filled with maggots. Dark is never shy about any of it and gore fans won't be disappointed.