We need as many excursions from the present moment as we can get these days. Thank goodness for music videos. While many video directors and artists have had to get extra creative of late to account for quarantine restrictions, there were still plenty of visuals filmed before the country went on lockdown.
There was Future’s acting debut in “Life Is Good,” where he and Drake played every day 9-5ers dreaming of becoming rap stars — with cameos from several people, including Lil Yachty. Lil Yachty’s own “Oprah’s Bank Account” video, gave us the unforgettable visual of him in full Oprah cosplay, interviewing Drake and DaBaby. Other notable visuals include Drake’s megamansion in “Toosie Slide,” and DaBaby’s mini-caper film in “Find My Way.”
The prevailing theme for this year’s most impactful visuals has been sweeping narratives and celebrations of pop culture icons. Here are the ten best rap music videos of 2020 so far.
10. Suigeneris — “Brown Justin Beiber”
Suigeneris is the least known name on the list, but that could change with more catchy tracks like “Brown Justin Beiber.” He got our attention with the song title, and kept it with a fun video which showed the young artist partying with friends — including a scene in a giant vat of Flaming Hot Cheetos. For the bravery of that stunt alone, he deserves every one of his 2 million+ YouTube video.
9. Blueface/DaBaby — “Obama”
Barack Obama is the most charismatic President in modern history. Similarly, Blueface and DaBaby are two of the rap game’s biggest characters, and decided to take us back to simpler times with their fun video for “Obama,” which featured a Bill Clinton-oval office “reference” and an Obama impostor legalizing weed in DaBaby’s native North Carolina with a 3-second phone call. That’s not quite how the legislative process works, but we salute the hilarious visual nonetheless.
8. Drake — “Toosie Slide”
The prevailing visual of Drake’s “Toosie Slide” clip is supposed to be him doing the TikTok-ready dance in the hallway of his home, but many people barely remember the dance as much as the fly on the wall access to his gorgeous mansion. He got his MTV Cribs on and let director Theo Skudra lead us from room to room of his Toronto estate. By most any standard, the house is impeccable, automatically making it one of the year’s best videos — and the most confounding, as every luxurious nook of the Toronto estate makes his idle threats seem more pointless.
7. Armand Hammer – “Charms” Feat. KeiyaA
Armand Hammer’s “Charms” visual is an eerie reflection of the times. One can’t help but notice the ominous fog in the orange-tinted distance, which resembles the smoke billowing through cities having a national uprising. Why is it happening? Because as Billy Woods narrates, “I was given this world, I didn’t make it / This a crazy place.” Video creator Joseph Mault, a previous collaborator with the duo, offered viewers a first-person perspective of an uninhabited jungle that’s open to interpretation. Maybe the area reflects a left-behind region — or maybe it reflects an opportunity to build anew. The sprawling jungle, like life, is what you make of it.
6. DaBaby — “Find My Way”
DaBaby opened up his “Find My Way” video by asking if “you ever seen someone become a monster for a good cause,” setting the stage for the Reel Goats-directed mini-movie chronicling he and his girlfriend’s spree of robberies throughout rural California. The Bonnie & Clyde concept isn’t exactly a new video conceit, but “Find My Way” is at the top of the canon. The 10-minute video reaches a crescendo when they’re discovered at a hotel, ending the video off with a bang.
5. R.A.P. Ferreira — “Leaving Hell”
R.A.P. Ferreira’s animated “Leaving Hell” video is a perfect addendum to his intrepid narrative of self-discovery. Most videos that closely follow an artist’s lyrics are obnoxiously literal, but there’s a charm to the Ben Clarkson-directed visual. When the chorus comes in as Ferreira, fka Milo, comes across a giant trumpet in the sky, it’s beautifully evident that the song and video are working symbiotically. The renowned lyricist’s abstract poetics are in tandem with the colorful, multi-dimensional video, and one may not be sure if they want him to keep weaving his tale so the animation continues or the other way around.
4. Joyner Lucas — “Will“
Joyner Lucas is known for left-of-center video concepts, and he decided to pay homage to one of the culture’s biggest legends on “Will.” The song showcases Joyner paralleling the rap star’s legacy with his own walk through life, as the video showcases him culling through Will Smith’s extensive catalog of blockbusters. The video was so impactful that it even got Will Smith to do a remix of the song.
3. RMR — “Dealer” Feat. Future and Lil Baby
RMR went viral with “Rascal,” but his “Dealer” video, featuring Future and Lil Baby, is a more captivating concept. The three-minute visual shows RMR bringing over 18 classic art pieces to life under a golden sky. Who knows where RMR’s country-trap forays will take him, but we can forever thank the unorthodox artist for the visual of Future rapping as the Statue of Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II.
2. Future & Drake — “Life Is Good”
It’s an event whenever Future and Drake link up. They decided to play into the magnitude of their “Life Is Good” collaboration with a fun Director X-helmed video where the two rap gods explore a range of other careers, including mechanics, chefs, and agents at an off-brand Apple Store. The video features cameos from the likes of 21 Savage and Lil Yachty, who joined the often brooding, braggadocious duo in having a little fun with their image.
1. Lil Yachty — “Oprah’s Bank Account” Feat. Drake and DaBaby
Some rappers are prone to title their song after a name referenced on the track. The galaxy brain version of that circumstance is the video for Lil Yachty’s “Oprah’s Bank Account,” where he turned his “you look as good as Oprah’s bank account” punchline into a nine-minute ode to the media mogul. Yachty was bold enough to dress up as Oprah and reenact her talk show, interviewing Drake about “reaching your full light skin capability” via a beard, and DaBaby about his glass-half-full perspective on making repetitive songs. Yachty may not get any calls to star in Oprah’s biopic, but it was fun to see all three artists make light of themselves.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.