Major label music videos may have big budgets and big-name cameos, but underground artists often have some of the best videos because of the artist and director’s need to do more with less. The old adage is that it’s not the tools, but how you use them, and independent rappers all over the world affirm that perspective with the dope, resourceful videos on this list. From Chicago artists Supa BWE and Open Mike Eagle, who’s been offering a wave of hilarious videos as part of his The New Negroes show, to up and comers like Brooklyn’s Radamiz, the list runs the gamut of innovative artists.
Lil Peep “16 Lines”
The footage used in Lil Peep’s “16 Lines” was shot in April of 2017, just seven months before the bold artist’s untimely death. The low frills video shows Peep melodically rhyming in dour fashion in a New York City hotel and in a car on the road, presumably in between show dates. The clip reflects the DIY nature of artists like Peep. He led a crop of resourceful young rappers and singers who were unencumbered by any expectations of waiting on a label or haggling about set locations or a treatment. He simply had his videographer Wiggy with him and decided to record right then and there — and it got out to a fanbase who loved it.
Open Mike Eagle, “Woke As Me”
This list could very well be the Open Mike Eagle list, as he’s been batting .1000 with the videos released from his The New Negroes show with Baron Vaughn. But it’s his collaboration with Phonte for “Woke As Me” that makes the list, as the two satirize today’s woke industry and fixation with conspiracy theories. The video starts with Phonte committing a cardinal sin of calling Mike “sleep” in front of the barbershop, which sets off a debate between the two while a pair of attendees play the fictional Wokken videogame, dueling hilarious social archetypes such as “Info-Warrior,” “Campus Crusader,” “Hotep,” and “Sex Worker.”