Over the last 10 years, the visuals in the hip-hop industry have gradually changed forms, and the interactions have steadily increased in numbers. In the early 2010s, a lavish video that showcased luxury cars, high-priced mansions, and wads of cash would usually be enough to garner millions of views and keep viewers coming back to feast their eyes on society’s upper echelon lifestyle. We have a plethora of music video examples that focused on that aesthetic.
As the years went on, what became more visually appealing were short skit videos with interesting storylines like Rihanna‘s “B*tch Better Have My Money” and Drake‘s “Hold On We’re Going Home.” Ultimately the nature of the social media era took its course, and viral videos yielded unprecedented numbers in views and interactions. Vevo has been a top tier platform for artistes to release their new music videos since the late 2000s. Today, the streaming giant unveiled its top 10 Hip Hop Videos of the Decade to close out this final quarter of the 2010s.
According to HipHopDX, Vevo’s Vice President of Music & Talent, Jordan Glickson, told them that “Since our launch 10 years ago, Hip has continued to grow exponentially,” Glickson said. “Hip Hop culture is pop culture, touching every corner of our consciousness. These 10 videos reflect that, as well as highlighting Hip Hop’s diversity as both a genre and a culture. From new artists to veterans, viral sensations to stadium anthems, and solos to superstar collaborations, our biggest hip-hop videos show the breadth of styles that Vevo viewers are watching, over and over and over again.”
On that note, let’s take a look at Vevo’s Top 10 Hip-Hop Videos of the Decade.
10. Post Malone & Swae Lee – “Sunflower”
People are hardly surprised to learn that this music video made the list. Swae Lee and Post Malone were looking at a hit the minute they started recording this track in the studio. Not only was the song itself a sensation, but it was a part of the soundtrack for the “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” movie, which allowed it to spread to wider reach and demographic.
9. Rae Sremmurd – “Black Beatles” ft. Gucci Mane
Undeniably one of Rae Sremmurd’s biggest hits, Black Beatles, was a fast-rising banger that came out of nowhere. At the time of the song’s release, Rae Sremmurd was enjoying the perks of a booming career, and they utilized the rockstar theme that they were known for to its fullest in this track that paid homage to the famous Beatles Band who are arguably the biggest crossover acts out of England to date. What also gave the song a huge leap on the charts is the featured artist Gucci Mane who had the spotlight on him at the time, following his release from prison less than four months prior to this collaboration. “Black Beatles” became Gucci’s first number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100 as a featured artist in November 2016.
8. Tyga – “Taste” ft. Offset
One of Tyga‘s biggest hit to date “Taste” has garnered over 848 million views and is still climbing. The popular single was all the rave when it was first released in May of 2018, and it became a summer banger shortly after. The buzz surrounding the song was not short-lived as it continued to earn streams and views throughout the rest of the year and in 2019. The song that marked a career comeback for the Last Kings rapper peaked at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was Tyga’s first chart entry in three years. The song also features Migos rapper Offset, who would have lured in the group’s fanbase as well. The visuals also had all the elements of a boujee music video.
7. Future – “Low Life” ft. The Weeknd
Future usually captivates his audience with anything he puts out, but when he enlisted the likes of Grammy-winning R&B artist The Weeknd, it introduced a whole other niche of fans to his work. “Low Life,” which was directed by Zac Facts, is a brilliant production that became a quick hit in the Hip-Hop and R&B industry in 2016. Currently at over half a billion views, “Low Life” is one of those tracks that will never get old. Though the creative direction exhibited limited color, the grayscale theme really worked for the concept.
6. Eminem – “Love The Way You Lie” ft. Rihanna
Who could forget the summer of 2010 when Eminem and Rihanna’s faces were plastered everywhere from our televisions screens to our computer screens to our phone screens. It was impossible to outrun their mega-hit “Love The Way You Lie,” which was constantly featured on BET, MTV Jams, MTV Hits, you name it. The creative picture that was directed by Joseph Kahn features a toxic couple and their highs and lows – a portrayal that both Eminem and Rihanna both seemed to relate to well based on their passionate performances on the track. The story in the visuals had many prolific moments that could make for an excellent movie trailer. No wonder this video has over 8 million likes is closer to 2 billion views than 1.
5. DJ Khaled – “I’m The One” ft. Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper & Lil Wayne
Honestly, if there weren’t at least one record by DJ Khaled on this list, we would be forced to question its credibility. Khaled, who is one of the most prolific veterans in the industry, has an ear for bangers, especially when it comes to combining established artists for a hit collaboration. “I’m The One” was no different in 2017 when the brilliant producer thought to reunite The Biebs with rappers like Chano and Lil Tunechi with the special touch of the most talked-about Migos rapper at the time, Quavo. The music video that was filmed on the vast property of a luxury Malibu mansion featured white horses, some of modern hip-hop’s favorite rappers, and with a blonde Justin on the hook, Khaled was looking at over 1 billion views on Youtube only a year after the video was released.
4. Drake – “Hotline Bling”
Drake’s hit single “Hotline Bling” has garnered over one and a half billion views since its October 2015 release. The tuneful single immediately went viral when fans noticed that Drake unearthed some new dance moves in the visuals. This led to infinite social media memes and quips that only brought more attention to the music video that is still referenced today. We’re not certain if Director X just gave Drake a lot of creative freedom or if he saw the potential in the OVO rapper’s viral dance moves, but it definitely worked out in the end.
3. Rae Sremmurd – “No Type”
A few years before Rae Sremmurd broke the internet with “Black Beatles,” they were just two Mississippi rappers introduced to the scene by Mike Will Made It with two back-to-back hits. The first was “No Flex Zone,” and the follow-up and undeniably a step up from their debut single was “No Type.” Swae Lee and Slim Jimmy completely took over the airwaves and social media space with this banger that was released in 2014. The relatively new rappers at the time brought a fresh new vibe to the hip-hop music scene that young listeners really connected with. Their innovative swag and sound tapped into a new market and catapulted the young rappers to stardom. Their official music video has been viewed well over 700 million times.
2. Post Malone – “Congratulations” ft. Quavo
Post Malone can do no wrong when it comes to creating music. The soulful rapper released one of the biggest hits of his career in January of 2017. The low-key music video, which was directed by James DeFina, has been viewed over a billion times since its release a few short years ago and features Migos rap sensation Quavo. The theme of the song is really just congratulating a job well done or a brilliant achievement and it’s because of this that the uplifting song and music video has been used by many people across the world on many occasions just to say “Congratulations.”
1. Silentó – “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)”
It might come as a surprise to some that hip-hop sensation Silentó is the artist to grace the coveted number one spot but not if you think about it in retrospect. Is there really a person in the world that does not know or have ever heard of this song? Probably just a rare few. Silentó’s brilliant dance track was a trip for all ages. Fans became obsessed with the song and dance moves that went viral with epic proportions. From young children’s birthday parties to grown folks’ weddings, to the listeners who would hear the song being played on the radio incessantly and couldn’t help but to go home and find the video only to get caught into the web of sensationalism themselves – it does make sense that Silentó rounds out Vevo’s top hip-hop videos this decade.
“Drake, Eminem, DJ Khaled, Future – none of these artists are a surprise to see on this list,” Jordan Glickson said.
“But Silentó taking the top spot, is a testament to the power of a viral video,” Vevo’s VP Music & Talent continues. “The young Atlanta rapper caught lightning in a bottle when he created a track that was truly enjoyed by people of all ages. This song and its accompanying video became ubiquitous at any gathering, from weddings to bar mitzvahs to children’s parties. Soon everyone was learning to Whip, and Nae Nae and Stanky Leg (not well, mind you), and over a billion and a half views later, Silentó has staked his claim on the all-time video charts.”
Glickson also mentioned that hip-hop, as we know, it will continue to diversify. “From ‘mainstream’ to ‘underground,’ artists are creating and collaborating across sub-genres like never before. Creating party anthems one minute, and lyrical exhibitions the next,” he stated. We can’t wait to see what the next decade holds for hip-hop music videos.