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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Uber-catchy emo-electro quintet Cobra Starship certainly isn't averse to the odd collaboration. The New York-based band has previously teamed up with acts as diverse as Gossip Girl star Leighton Meester on breakthrough hit "Good Girls Go Bad," X-Factor UK winner Alexandra Burke on her debut Overcome, and Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller on his 2011 album Night Shades. Last year, saw frontman Gabe Saporta provide the vocal hook for Eve's long-awaited comeback "Make It Out This Town."Now the party animals have joined forces with one of their hometown's hottest rising DJ/producers, Jeffrey Tonnesen, for a typically anthemic slice of EDM-infused pop: "Star Burst," which has already become something of a staple across the Big Apple's club scene.A long-time friend of the band, Tonnesen retooled their last single "#1 Nite," and has also remixed tracks by the likes of Californian indie rockers Saint Motel ("My Type"), R&B twin sister duo Nina Sky ("Day Dreaming"), and The Cataracs' protegee ("Naked"). Additionally, he has scored runways for Prada, ACNE, and Miu Miu, and taken up residencies at NYC venues Lavo, Marquee and PH-D. The shimmering kaleidoscopic synths, pulsing beats, and triumphant hands-in-the-air chorus of his latest offering suggests that it's only a matter of time before he becomes the latest talented spinner to make the transition to the charts.Alongside the original and reworkings from Immigre X Alpaca, Loczi, and Mayeda, the five-track Star Burst E.P. also features a Cobra Starship remix which strips back to the verses to just Saporta's vocal and piano before adding some skittering hip-pop beats. You can listen to the latter here.Follow @Hollywood_com
When you think of Fox you think of many things. You might think of its early, edgy shows like Married with Children, In Living Color, Cops, or The Simpsons. You might think of its outrageous reality experiments like When Animals Attack, Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire, or Joe Millionaire. You might even think of their dude-centric animation Sundays with Family Guy, American Dad, and, yes, still The Simpsons. But you would never think that the corporate partner of Fox News (with its anti-aborition chatter) would be a safe haven for female viewers. Now every Tuesday is "Ladeez Nite."
But that's what's happening, at least on Tuesday nights, the day of the week that Glee painted pink for the network (for both girls and gays) before moving to Wednesday. It left in its estrogen-soaked place New Girl, whose quirky, funny girl success wrought this season's new fallopian-centric shows The Mindy Project and Ben and Kate (just like Jon had little do with Jon and Kate, this show isn't really about Ben). Now it's adding two more X chromosomes to its roster.
According to Deadline, they've bought a pilot for 2013 from Kay Cannon, a 30 Rock writer and producer who also worked up the script for Pitch Perfect, the hilarious-looking Glee meets Mean Girls movie which comes out this fall. Her show is going to be a Mary Tyler Moore-esque workplace drama about a funny lady who works at a sports show. Sounds like Take Your New Girl to Work Day.
If Cannon's pilot picks up and gets a Tuesday slot, that would mean we'd have four shows created by four women with four female leads in two hours. The more outlets there are for hilarious women on television the better (as long as it's not Whitney), but who ever saw this coming!? Is this Lifetime? No, it's Fox! Stay tuned for NFL Football.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: Fox]
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Never one to pass up an opportunity to perform, Katy Perry hit up El Galleon karaoke bar on Catalina Island for a little bit of singing on Monday night. Perry's song of choice? Will Smith's indelible classic, "Welcome to Miami." Was the rap song an odd choice for Perry? Maybe. But was it also an amazing choice considering that it came from Smith during his glory days? Most definitely.
Perry's rendition of "Welcome to Miami" can't really be classified as good, but let's call it spirited. She managed to spit out approximately 90% of the words and keep the beat throughout. The highlight of Perry's performance, however, comes at the end, when the clearly-not-inebriated-at-all Perry called out for all to hear, "I love my best friend!" Perry's declaration makes it clear that her karaoke night was all about best friend bonding.
In addition to what we'll call Perry's "Girls Nite Out" genre of karaoke, we've classified the top three varieties of celebrity karaoke performances and their biggest perpetrators.
1. The Cutesy Couple
Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez are far more interested in making googly eyes at one another than they are about hitting the right notes. This performance is all about showing off their relationship, not their vocal skills.
2. The Showoffs
In stark contrast to the above, British boy band The Wanted made sure they proved to everyone in the vicinity that they can really sing... even when they are two (or three or four) drinks deep.
3. The Hot Mess
A variation on the Girls' Nite Out karaoke genre that Perry so aptly demonstrated, the Hot Mess karaoke singer — while having a blast — has no sense of self-awareness. Venus and Serena Williams unwittingly show off this sloppier brand of karaoke while out in Milan.
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[Photo Credit: David Edwards/DailyCeleb.com]
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Katy Perry Karaoke
Of all the strange permutations of reality television that have emerged from the boiling primordial stew of The Real World there is only one that I think might actually be harmful: the crazy pageant girl shows. Toddlers & Tiaras, Dance Moms, King of the Crown, Tiara Girls, Pageant Place, and now we have Eden's World, a new show on Logo that follows around Eden Wood, an 8-year-old pageant vet and Toddlers and Tiaras regular as she tries to make it famous. Have we taken this whole pageant thing too far?
What has always creeped me out about these shows is that they're about children. Most people in the audience aren't watching them because they think pageants are awesome wholesome fun for the whole family. They're watching them with an ironic detachment, rolling our eyes at the little people who think piling a 6-year-olds hair to the heavens and putting her in a sexy Daisy Duke costume is a sincere form of beauty. We're not celebrating these kids, we're gawking at them and putting them down, reveling in our superiority like we're rolling around in a bed of sequins.
Is it fair to do that to these poor kids? They obviously didn't choose to be on the show. Well, they may choose to be on the show, but they are kids. When I was 8, I wanted to wear a cape to school everyday, eat donuts for dinner, and stay up until midnight watching Nick and Nite. Luckily my mother was smart enough to put the kibosh on two of those things (the cape was a huge hit in second grade). Sadly these are kids whose parents want to be on television and can only do it through their children. These kids think they want the cameras around but it's only because mommy tells them to. When they're 18 how do you think they'll feel about having every embarrassing moment of their childhood preserved on YouTube, easily Googlable by every potential mate, employer, and friend. Sure, it might be cute to be Honey Boo Boo Child now, but think about how she's gonna feel about this at 20?
Pageants aren't really about the girls who are in them, they're about the parents who fund them, encourage them, and pack the minivan full of toddlers every Sunday afternoon to attend them. These programs are ostensibly about the parents as well. We rationalize tuning in by saying that we are really laughing at the manic moms so desperate and pathological. Honestly, they're fascinating to watch, but we can't see their craziness without inflicting their daughters in the same mocking gaze.
Eden's World spends way more time following Eden's mother, shrieking publicist, and crazy manager than it does Eden herself. She's the nexus of this storm of adults behaving badly. But without Eden, there is no show. There are two scenes that stick out from the premiere episode, which airs on Monday at 10 PM. In one Eden gets a meeting with A&M Records about a recording contract. When meeting with the execs in her electric blue gown covered in sparkles, tulle, and desperation, she gets up on the conference table and does a "drop it like it's hot" booty shaking dance. The execs giggle nervously, not sure what to say. That's sort of what this show is like: an 8-year-old doing something precocious and embarrassing to the consternation and embarrassment of the world. She doesn't know that it's wrong, she does what she's told and she gets a reaction, so she thinks it's the right thing.
The other key scene is when Eden's manager and publicist get in one of those unavoidable stupid reality show fights that are really more about creating conflict than actually arguing a point. Eden's mother says not to do it in front of her daughter, and takes her away from the fight. Excuse me, you don't want fighting or conflict in front of your daughter? Then why did you sign her up for a reality show? Did you think the show would be about people sitting around a table shooting smiles at each other while they help the poor? No! It's about fighting and being nuts. That is all that reality TV is about these days. And if you don't want your daughter exposed to that, then you need to tell the cameras to pack up and go home.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
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