Hip-Hop has been embedded into the culture since its start on August 11, 1973, in the Bronx, New York. One way fans connected with music was through music videos giving people a way to stay up to date with trends like music and dances. Back in the day, music videos pushed the limits and transformed the culture by publicizing the truth and giving the mainstream an insight into the hip-hop way of life.
Videos connect the art of storytelling with the people offering lasting visuals that have lasted over generations. Visuals have always been important especially in hip-hop because they’ve shifted the trajectory of music. For example, N.W.A.’s videos are known to be iconic because they’ve always shed light on race relations in America and were the first of their kind.
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Other ways videos become important to the culture is when people can remember the moment it world premiered on TV for the first time, what it introduced or the way it looked. “U Can’t Touch This” introduced the world to MC Hammer’s harem pants, and “The Hammer Dance” which had people during that generation rushing to cop the latest gear they had saw on TV and of course, doing the dance. When you think of music videos, you have to bring up Missy Elliott. She is known for her legendary video style from the quality of graphics, the creativeness, to how she stands outside of the box.
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Nothing beats when a video is consistently referenced or brought back into time like the fish eye lens shot in Biggie’s Mo Money Mo Problems or Missy’s “trash bag” ensemble in The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly). Whether it’s cinematic and full of aesthetically pleasing scenes or simplistic, iconic videos create a legacy with the way it was shot creatively, the way it tells a story and the way it creates a long-lasting influence.
Over the years, Hip-Hop has gained global recognition as it is gone from a community audience to becoming more a part of pop culture. August 11 is now officially known as “Hip Hop Celebration Day” in the United States after the U.S Senate passed a bill.
The Bill states, “Whereas, on Aug. 11, 1973, at a Back To School Jam organized by his sister Cindy Campbell and held at the recreation room of 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx, New York, Clive DJ Kool Herc Campbell introduced his innovative style of disk jockeying and, together with the master of ceremonies engaging the crowd with rap on the microphone while partygoers known as B-boys and B-girls danced, introduced a new style. Later known as Hip Hop, which combined the elements of a disk jockey (commonly known as a DJ), a master of ceremonies (commonly known as an MC), music, art, fashion, and dance.”
It also recognized the month of August as “Hip-Hop Recognition Month” and established November as “Hip-Hop History Month.”
Music videos allow the artist’s vision to be shared with the world and when it sticks, it creates an experience that lives on in the culture. Check out some of hip hop’s most iconic videos to celebrate 48 years!
1. The Sugarhill Gang – Rapper’s Delight
The Sugarhill Gang – Rapper’s Delight
2. Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force – Planet Rock
Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force – Planet Rock
3. Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five – The Message
Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five – The Message
4. Kurtis Blow – The Breaks
Kurtis Blow – The Breaks
5. RUN DMC – King Of Rock
RUN DMC – King Of Rock
6. RUN DMC – My Adidas
RUN DMC – My Adidas
7. Salt-N-Pepa – Push It
Salt-N-Pepa – Push It
8. Eric B. & Rakim – I Ain’t No Joke
Eric B. & Rakim – I Ain’t No Joke
9. Slick Rick – Children’s Story
Slick Rick – Children’s Story
10. Queen Latifah – U.N.I.T.Y.
Queen Latifah – U.N.I.T.Y.
11. Naughty by Nature – Hip Hop Hooray
Naughty by Nature – Hip Hop Hooray
12. Lil’ Kim ft. Lil’ Cease – Crush On You
Lil’ Kim ft. Lil’ Cease – Crush On You
13. The Notorious B.I.G. – Hypnotize
The Notorious B.I.G. – Hypnotize
14. Busta Rhymes – Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See
Busta Rhymes – Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See
15. Mobb Deep ft. Lil’ Kim – Quiet Storm
Mobb Deep ft. Lil’ Kim – Quiet Storm
16. JAY-Z ft. UGK- Big Pimpin’
JAY-Z ft. UGK- Big Pimpin’
17. Nelly feat. St. Lunatics – Tip Drill
Nelly feat. St. Lunatics – Tip Drill
18. Missy Elliott – Work It
Missy Elliott – Work It
19. Kris Kross – Jump
Kris Kross – Jump
20. 2pac feat Dr.Dre – California Love
2pac feat Dr.Dre – California Love
21. Dr. Dre ft. Snoop Dogg – Nuthin’ But A G Thang
Dr. Dre ft. Snoop Dogg – Nuthin’ But A G Thang
22. Juvenile – Back That Thang Up
Juvenile – Back That Thang Up
23. Wu-Tang Clan – C.R.E.A.M.
Wu-Tang Clan – C.R.E.A.M.
24. Craig Mack – Flava In Ya Ear (Remix)
Craig Mack – Flava In Ya Ear (Remix)
25. Pete Rock & CL Smooth – They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)
Pete Rock & CL Smooth – They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)