In the 1980s, musicians only scratched the surface of what could be done with the music video. Michael Jackson set the standard and in the 1990s, everyone raced to match or surpass him.
Here are our top 9 music videos of the 1990s.
9. The Roots “What They Do”
The Roots’ perfectly skewered the fantasy world of hip-hop music videos in their 1996 clip for “What They Do,” but found themselves at odds with The Notorious B.I.G. who, according to Roots drummer ?uestlove, thought the video was retaliation for a line in his “Flava In Your Ear” remix verse that many perceived to be a dis towards the group. Big Poppa passed before both sides could set the record straight.
8. The Pharcyde “Drop”
Directed by famed video director Spike Jonze, The Pharcyde were able to pull off the backwards “Drop” video by learning the song in reverse, and shooting the video in reverse. Hands down one of the most creative music videos in hip-hop, and one of the first videos we wrote down when putting this list together.
7. The Notorious B.I.G. “One More Chance”
Not since the classic Kid & Play film had a house party been captured on film so well that everyone who watched it wished they had been in attendance. Sporting cameos from everyone from Heavy D & D-Nice to Mary J. Blige and Aaliyah, “One More Chance” was an instant classic.
6. Snoop Doggy Dogg “Doggy Dogg World”
Snoop’s final video from his debut album took everyone back to the 1970s with cameos from The Dramatics, Pam Grier, Rudy Ray Moore, Ron O’Neal, Fred Williamson, Fred “Rerun” Berry and Antonio “Huggy Bear” Fargas. This was definitely another one of those video shoots we wish we had been at.
5. TLC “Waterfalls”
TLC’s special effects heavy video for “Waterfalls” earned the group the 1995 MTV Video Music Award for Video of the Year. The video features cameos from actors Ella Joyce and Bokeem Woodbine plus Wu-Tang affiliate Shyheim.
4. Wu-Tang Clan “Triumph”
Wu-Tang Clan kicked off their second album with the “Triumph” video which featured the clan (and some Wu-Tang killer killah bees) invading New York City.
3. Busta Rhymes “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See”
Director Hype Williams parodied Eddie Murphy’s classic 1988 film Coming To America for Busta’s 1997 video for “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See.” Williams’ unique style of direction became synonymous with music videos in the 1990s.
2. Michael Jackson “Remember The Time”
Boyz N The Hood director John Singleton shot the second video from Michael Jackson’s Dangerous album, “Remember The Time.” The video takes place in ancient Egypt and stars Eddie Murphy and Iman as the pharaoh and his queen. Magic Johnson, Tom “Tiny” Lister, and Imani from The Pharcyde also appear in the video.
1. Missy Elliot “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)”
Missy Elliot’s reign as queen of weird music videos began with this Hype Williams directed clip. The oversized garbage bag suit, the fish eye lens, the distorted mouths and eyes… “The Rain” proved that hip-hop videos could be more than just a bunch of dudes mean-mugging the camera.