Honorable Mention: Michael Jackson — Remember the Time; Busta Rhymes featuring Janet Jackson — What’s it gonna Be; Bobby Brown — On our Own; Mc Hammer — Here Comes the Hammer
10) Tupac — How Do you want it? (The XXX version)
Adding this video above some of the ones in the Honorable Mention, I know is pure travesty but, the thing is, everyone of us has a little nasty in them and there wasn’t a more nastier video than THIS version.
9) Camp Lo — Black Nostaljack
On January 28, 1997, Camp Lo released their debut album Uptown Saturday Night. The uniqueness of this LP was seen immediately with their album cover which pays homage to mainly the late Ernie Barnes’ ‘Sugar Shack’ painting with a slight re-imagining. (The original painting was used as the cover art for Marvin Gaye’s I Want You album.) So Camp Lo pays further homage with the video for ‘Black Nostaljack’ being an re-imagining of “Good Times” which is only fitting since James Evans, Jr.’s (J.J.) paintings were from Barnes.
8) Janet Jackson — Rhythm Nation
Nothing much can be said with this magnum opus. This song, and video, skyrocketed Janet Jackson into the stratosphere. The concept is as simple as it comes — a new republic. A new nation, one of pure rhythm.
7) Wu-Tang Clan — Gravel Pit
Most people would argue that No. 1, this shouldn’t be ahead of ‘Rhythm Nation’ and No. 2 that it isn’t even the best Wu-Tang video, since many would give that distinction to ‘Triumph.’ However, my counter is that it pays homage to “The Flintstones” which plays right into my love of cartoons and then four words: Tamala. Jones. Half. Naked.
6) Ol Dirty Bastard — Baby I Got your Money
Admittedly, I was a little lost when this video first came out because, well, I hadn’t seen Dolemite before. Now, that I have seen Rudy Ray Moore’s greatest starring role, I love this video even more because, well, I’m actually fond of Dolemite.
5) Tupac — Do for Love
What gets forgotten sometimes is that Tupac was an artist. There are at least two poems that comes to the top of my mind that I have myself written trying to mimic Tupac’s style. Whether I was successful in doing so or not, that’s for another day but the video for ‘Do for Love’ was created after ‘Pac’s death. So director Bill Packer went with an artsy style that I appreciate.
4) Notorious B.I.G. — Sky’s the Limit
Like No. 5 on the list, ‘Sky’s the Limit’ was shot after posthumously. I fell in love with this video immediately because, well, the kids. And you gotta love kids right?
3) Michael Jackson — Smooth Criminal
What makes ‘Smooth Criminal’ one of the greatest videos of all-time is because, well, Michael Jackson knows how to make a video. But ‘Smooth Criminal’ was ripped right out of Jackson’s film Moonwalker which you may or may not have seen. That alone tells you a lot that everyone knows the video, but less know about the film (which also starred Joe Pesci).
2) Michael Jackson — Thriller
People will be shocked, SHOCKED, that ‘Thriller’ is only No. 2. ‘Thriller’ is probably consensus the G.O.A.T. when it comes to music videos. It’s really a short film, narrated by the legend himself Vincent Price. Praise for this visionary classic can be found elsewhere but it will be a blatant disrespect if it’s NOT Nos. 1 or 2.
1) Ghostface Killah — Daytona 500
The first thought on your mind is ‘you on something bruh’. Well, since it’s MY list I can manipulate it the way I see it. And I’m sure there will be some sounding off when this is read but I’m going to tell you why I chose ‘Daytona 500’ as MY favorite music video. And yes, it goes back to cartoons. I’m not much of a fan of “Speed Racer.” Not even sure if I’ve seen two complete episodes ever. So besides Racer X, the Mach 5 and Chim-Chim, the most memorable “Speed Racer” moment for me comes at the beginning of this video — when Speed turns towards the camera while being in the clutches of some baddies and raps:
“Say peace to cats who rock MAC Knowledge Knowledges/Street astrologists, light up the mic God acknowledge this.”
What better way to represent a verbal race akin to the Daytona 500 but with the greatest race car driver of all-time (albeit animated) Speed.