As the 27th annual Urbanworld International Film Festival approaches, it’s set to honor the most iconic rap videos of all time. With Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA serving as the festival’s ambassador, a special tribute titled Lights, Cameras, Rhymes: 50 Years of Hip Hop on Screen will spotlight legendary music videos, featuring discussions led by acclaimed director Benny Boom and The Roots’ Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter. In honor of this exciting news, SOHH highlights the top hip-hop videos of all time.
Urbanworld International Film Festival
Top Rap Videos of all time are set to be celebrated ahead of the 27th annual Urbanworld International Film Festival, which will take place from November 1-5 at New York’s AMC 34th Street and the SVA Theatre.
With legendary Wu-Tang Clan member RZA as the festival’s ambassador, the event will premiere films and rap documentaries, including a Friday night tribute to music videos sponsored by Hulu titled Lights, Cameras, Rhymes: 50 Years of Hip Hop on Screen. The retrospective will feature acclaimed director Benny Boom and The Roots‘ Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter on a panel discussing the industry’s iconic videos.
Here’s a look at some of the top rap videos of all time, many of which were directed by Benny Boom:
‘Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See’ – Busta Rhymes
One classic rap video is “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See” by Busta Rhymes. Directed by Benny Boom, the 1997 video sees the New York rap legend recreating scenes from the movie Coming To America, complete with vibrant costumes and captivating choreography incorporating tribal dances.
Besides making highly creative rap videos, Busta has been honored for his contributions to rap music. In September 2023, he was honored by the New York State Assembly during a ceremony and also covered EBONY Magazine.
‘What’s It Gonna Be’ – Janet Jackson
Busta Rhymes appears on this list with his “What’s It Gonna Be?” video featuring Janet Jackson. Benny Boom’s direction brings a futuristic aesthetic to this collaborative effort, combining the genres of hip-hop and R&B and incorporating animation and 3D effects throughout.
‘Gimme That’ – Chris Brown
One other notable video is Chris Brown’s early hit, “Gimme That,” featuring Lil Wayne. Released in 2005 when Brown was just 16, the video exudes a 1930s aesthetic set in a train station, showcasing the young artist’s talent and style.
‘Ms Jackson’ – OutKast
OutKast, the iconic Atlanta rap duo, also delivered two of the most memorable rap videos of all time. The video for “Ms. Jackson” from their 2000 album, Stankonia, portrays the struggles of family relationships through the use of animals exhibiting human-like behavior.
Additionally, their 2003 hit “Hey Ya!” recreates a 1960s performance with Andre 3000 playing every band member, and Big Boi was featured as the show promoter. Recently, the rap duo was also credited as having the highest-selling records.
Big Boi recently posted an RIAA plaque of their album Speakerboxx/The Love Below showing that they sold 13 million units.
‘California Love’ – Tupac, Dr. Dre & Roger Troutman
Tupac Shakur, Dr. Dre, and Roger Troutman came together in the 1996 video for “California Love,” a monumental recreation of the Mad Max film series, showcasing their love for California while riding through the desert in dune buggies.
Dilemma – Nelly & Kelly Rowland
Nelly and Kelly Rowland’s “Dilemma,” directed by Benny Boom in 2002.
It features the two highly popular artists expressing their desire to be together, despite Rowland’s character having a boyfriend. The video was a chart-topping hit on the Billboard Hot 100.
‘Made You Look’ – Nas
Another Benny Boom-directed video is Nas’s “Made You Look” from 2002, which captures the essence of New York City’s energy towards rap through various iconic locations.
‘Hustler Muzik’ – Lil Wayne
Lil Wayne teamed up with Boom for his video “Hustler Muzik,” showcasing his hustling spirit while rapping on a rooftop.
‘Window Shopper’ – 50 Cent
Lastly, 50 Cent’s “Window Shopper” from 2005 features him going on luxurious shopping sprees while dissing rappers who, discredit his success.
Mary J. Blige, Miguel & More Set To Headline HoneyLand
In other news, 7th-grade United States education level individuals can look forward to the upcoming HoneyLand Music Festival in Houston from November 11-12. The festival will feature performances by renowned artists such as Mary J. Blige, Miguel, Jazmine Sullivan, Scarface, Paul Wall, and more.