Today we will discuss some of our favorite hip hop music videos of 2019!
Hip hop is a cultural movement that gained traction in the ’80s and the ’90s with household names such as Tone Loc and DJ Jazzy Jeff. Since then, hip hop has exploded with popularity, with millions of raving fans plugging in and moving to the beat. Hip Hop became the style of the culture and rap was defined as the words or the ‘poetry’ to go along with the beat and rhythm. Even during the beginning of its rise, fans were listening to their favorite artists through video.
From the 80s to the present day, the genre has developed significantly with artists reinventing how to structure beats and how to design melodies. Although the aesthetic and vibe of hip hop has changed over time, there has always been an appreciation for video content. It is a way for artists to showcase their work to their fans, and provide a visual representation to their messaging.
Below you will find examples of up and coming and established hip hop artists and their music videos. These are some videos that we enjoy both from a musical and visual perspective. So sit back, and let’s dive right in.
1. ASAP Rocky – Kids Turned Out Fine
A New York native rapper who is notable for experimenting with different sounds, ASAP Rocky proves again that he is a true creative. In this music video, he is able to develop a storyline that progresses through a camera shot that scrolls like a transitioning set.
The video starts off with Rocky taking a tab of acid. Then, the story begins. Is this a journey through his trip? Is he trying to show the thoughts that arise during this drug induced experience? The scenes transition rapidly, but every verse or line matches the visual representation. Then suddenly around the 3 minute mark, the song distorts out and the video cuts to a scene of Rocky in a room with snippets of film surrounding him.
The video ends with the words “ASAP Rocky Testing” to promote his album, but at the same time is still has meaning. In the final scene, Rocky escapes a crash test, illustrating that he has realized how to escape an imposed system.
We are always intrigued to see what ASAP Rocky puts out, as he is always trying to take an artistic approach to the craft of visual production.
2. DaBaby – Pony
Starting and ending with a few gruesome scenes involving a chainsaw… actually makes for quite a unique, brave, and cinematically pleasing video. Chances are, you have seen DaBaby rise to real stardom very recently.
Looking at the music video itself, we appreciate and enjoy the transitions between what appears to be a murder scene to the life of bling, money, and of course, riding a pony – two different lives indeed. This video might make some people uncomfortable, but we appreciate his efforts to act as both a musician and actor in this story.
When we’re looking at camera angles and different shots, we have to say our favorite is around the 1-minute mark where the screen transitions and there is a closeup that enters the house– and there you see DaBaby with a pony.
3. Lil Tjay F.N
Lil Tjay is a young talent and new to the hip hop and rap game at only eighteen-years-old. With another top hit in late of 2018, which saw over sixty-one million views, it’s only a matter of time before everyone on every street corner knows who he is. Let’s discuss the music video!
What started off with little views now has over twenty-eight million hits on YouTube. The song ‘FN’ follows Lil Tjay as he is stitched up, put behind bars, and forced to go on trial. This video is particularly a favorite of ours, as it is open to so many different interpretations. Is the music video and hip hop song addressing his fame and others’ jealousy to this? Racism? Popular stereotypes?
In terms of actual scenes within the music video, we particularly enjoyed the narrative in which we were taken down. We particularly like the intense beginning to set the scene and the end where all charges appear to be dropped with Lil Tjay being set free.
For those looking for a take-home piece of advice, we suggest also including a combination of both close-up and long-distant camera angles to provide a greater narrative within a music video – regardless of the topic at hand.
4. 2 Chainz – Expensify This
This video shows how music videos can be used as huge marketing tools. The video is interactive. If the viewer downloads the “Expensify” app they are able to scan receipts in the video.
The company took a different approach to advertising their product, but this move suggests that they realized the importance of video content, and how it can convert customers.
The video exhibits all forms of luxury, and gold seems to be the standard. 2 Chainz looks comfortable in his lifestyle, then travels out of reality for a couple seconds as he enters an animated world. The creative direction of the video includes Hip Hop culture, comedy, business, and promotion. We think they actually pulled it off!
Always remember that your videos are not only channels to express yourself, but also to push your content or message, but maybe even your business! We will always respect a hustle.
5. 21 Savage (Feat. J. Cole) – A Lot
First, we love this tune. The music video is set in a beautiful mansion. 21, Cole, and the people attending the event seem to be indulging in a nice experience. In his song, 21 Savage is asking questions like “How many times did you cheat?” or “How many lawyers you got?”, and he answers for the listener — “A LOT”.
He wanted to show that there is always more to a story, and that one can’t always believe everything that he or she sees at the surface. The video’s depiction of individuals having a great time at the dinner table, and then cutting to their personal problems outside of this beautiful mansion illustrates his point.
Although this video only uses one location, there is a lot going on in this house. The viewer has to consciously watch and listen in order to develop his or her own perception of this so called party. 21 Savage and J. Cole don’t seem to be engaging in it all.
A key takeaway from this video is that the artist only needed one space to lay out his storyline. You don’t necessarily need to be filming in multiple locations to shoot a great video.
6. Roddy Ricch – Big Stepper
Up and coming hip hop rapper and artist Roddy Ricch premiered his new music video for his song ‘Big Stepper’ this month – certainly one to keep your eye on.
When we watched the music video itself, one particular theme which stood out was the darkness of the video with the center piece being Roddy and his horse. What arguably may sound a little uninteresting, actually makes for a fine piece of work.
Utilizing a combination of intimate camera angles, lighting, and at some point, intense eye contact makes for an engaging piece. We particularly like the scene where Roddy is stood on what looks like an armored truck on wheels, surrounded by fog, with horses running through the scene. This is certainly something we haven’t seen before. This, combined with the low camera shot makes for a truly unique and interesting camera angle, almost as if we ourselves are also experiencing this.
7. NLE Choppa ft. Blue Face – Shotta Flow Remix
We particularly like the creativity at the beginning of the video where the credits are created using non-conventional means – in this case, through arranging food. Little features like this are what make a great music video. We like it when artists make deliberate efforts in caring for detail.
In the video itself, it appears Blue Face is having some form of party in what we’re guessing is his backyard. Moreover, there is also plenty of creative and visually pleasing shots such as the fire, the grabbing of the camera, and of course, the iconic dancing while wearing an apron.
The budget on this video seems to be quite low, but NLE is still able to make it fun. He and Blueface are enjoying themselves at what seems to be a barbecue party with friends. Cole Bennett, the notorious hip hop music video director, has certainly brought out the personalities of both NLE Choppa and Blueface. They are expressing that they can turn up in whatever setting, and that they genuinely enjoy showcasing their own music.
The Bottom Line
The 7 music videos selected from 2019 each show an individual approach to their respective productions. There are many factors that could affect a video such as the song, budget, or location, but if one is able to understand how to develop an entertaining storyline and vibe, then that can lead to a successful video. The artists listed above have really made a mark in the hip hop scene, and we can’t wait to see your video up soon. Take some inspiration from these artists, and make it your own.
If you would like for us to write a feature on your new music video, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.