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Hip Hop Video Trends 2003
May 31, 2003

George Hagan - - IsmSound affiliate

Okay, we’re almost halfway through 2003 - so I decided to be productive and put all the knowledge I’ve garnered from watching too much BET to good use by compiling a list of the top five trends in urban music videos . Think of it as a Top 10 List à la David Letterman, but slashed in half, and decidedly more ghetto. Enjoy!

Trend #5: Air Travel: The Bentley held down the spot as the must-have video flossing car for a minute, but even that got played out, so now rappers are taking their floss game to the air. Whether it’s Jay-Z manning a helicopter in his “Excuse me, Miss” video, or Cash Money’s Baby in a private jet for his new clip featuring Toni Braxton, flossing has literally reached new heights. What’s next? Pimped-out spaceships?…

Trend #4: The Comedic Breakdown: I know you’ve seen him - the annoying pint-sized comedian screaming “Shaw-taaay” in the Bonecrusher and Clipse videos. And I’m sure you saw John Witherspoon acting a fool as usual in the Field Mob joint. The point is funny men have stumbled on a new avenue to get paid, and that avenue is music videos. On one hand, the humor can be a good thing with the whole world going through so much strife right now, but it gets pretty damn agonizing when you’re seeing the video for the tenth time and have to suffer through the same comedic sequence yet again. So artists if you’re reading, this comic thing is one habit you can’t get rid of soon enough.

Trend #3: Pharrel Williams: You can’t stop them - urban music has now been under siege by the Neptunes for three years running. And now the more ubiquitous half of the duo, Pharrel, is upping the ante and injecting himself in the videos of almost all the Neptunes-produced songs. See Snoop’s Beautiful, Jay-Z’s Excuse me Miss, and all the Clipse joints, and you’ll see Mr. Williams singing hooks alongside the rappers, and on occasion, even rhyming a few bars. Hmmm, maybe Pharrel, Puffy, and Fat Joe can come together and start a support group for video cameo junkies …

Trend #2: Benny Boom and Little X: Watch 106 and Park any day of the week, and chances are you’ll see three or four videos by these two talented music video directors. Little X hails from Toronto, and manned the cameras for Sean Paul’s stand-out “Gimme the light” video – you know, the one that featured the rude bwoys and girls winding and gyrating to the banging dancehall beat. Benny hails from Philadelphia, and handled the directorial reins for LL’s Neptune-laced “Love You Better” video and the latest Clipse banger, “Hot Damn.” Both Benny and X mastered their craft at Big Dog Films, the independent production company founded by Hype Wiliiams – since we’re on the topic, where the hell is Hype Williams anyway?
Honorable mention goes to Chris Robinson on the video directing tip – Chris hooked up the new Busta single featuring Mariah Carey– you know, the one with the ill comic strip animation and a cameo from Michael Jai White (the guy from the Spawn movie) - Chris also hooked up last year’s revolution-inspiring “One Mic” video for Nas.

Trend #1: Thug Emotions: The number one video trend this year has to be rappers showing their softer side. Some examples – Fat Joe, the Bronx Gangsta himself putting out the ladies single “All I Need” reassuring wifey that he isn’t fooling around on tour, Mr. Cheeks letting the honeys know he got a crush on them, Nasir putting out a video for the kids telling them to believe in themselves and shoot for the stars. With all the real drama going on everywhere in the world, this lighthearted approach is definitely a breath of fresh air. As long as the balance is maintained, and artists like M.O.P. and Freddy Foxxx don’t put out any R&B lovey-dovey joints, all will be fine in the world.

To conclude, I have to say my pick for the best video of the year to date has to be DJ Kay Slay’s lead single “Too Much For Me” from his Street Sweeper Album. The video has no crazy special effects or big budget camera tricks – just a straight-up, performance driven clip that captures that authentic summer park jam vibe with ‘nuff cameos from rap heavyweights like Raekwon & Nore - and of course with Amerie singing the hook looking as fine as she wants to – how can Slay go wrong? Plus props go to the Drama King for showcasing the less publicized aspects of the art like Graffiti and paying respect to Afrika Bambaata and The Zulu nation - the Godfathers of this rap game. This hip-hop head says: let’s have more artists repping the true elements of the hip-hop culture. Peace


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