20 of the Best Hip-Hop Videos of 2016
The importance of a music video to tell the story of a song can’t be dismissed. For many hip-hop fans — especially those who live outside of the U.S. — visuals are how they find new records. A music video could launch a song from internet obscurity to a Billboard-charting hit. The perfect example of this is Aminé‘s “Caroline.” The song was released in March and the video was out in May. By the time summer came, snippets of the video went viral online. By this fall, “Caroline” peaked at No. 12 on Billboard Hot 100 and Aminé was performing on The Tonight Show as a newly signed major label artist. Music videos matter.
There have been some iconic visuals in hip-hop over the years, both for good and bad reasons. Who can forget 2Pac’s Mad Max-inspired video for “California Love,” Jay Z’s ultra lavish “Big Pimpin'” video or the insanely explicit “Tip Drill” video by Nelly that only played on BET Uncut? Spike Jonze, F. Gary Gray and Hype Williams, some of the best directors in the entertainment industry, made their names working behind the camera for hip-hop videos.
In 2016, hip-hop released videos that not only matched the tone of the song but also brought the records to life. From 2 Chainz to Boogie and more, XXL takes a look back at 2016 to pick the best videos of the year. Get your popcorn ready.