Do you remember the time where people really cared about music videos? Before everyone in the world had a Canon 7D camera and people were a YouTube clip away from being a star, you really had to be famous to get your mug on a camera. And if you were famous, record labels would pay big bucks to make sure that famous mug gets seen in the best light possible. Budgets for music videos used to be sky high.
Back when having the #1 video on TRL or 106 & Park meant something, and back when you had to wait for these shows to see your favorite videos instead of just googling them now, music videos were events. Sure it is a lot more convenient, but lets go back to a simpler time and break down some of the most bank-breaking music videos in hip-hop history.
Kanye West ft. Lupe Fiasco – “Touch The Sky” Cost: $1,000,000
Synopsis: Kanye West channels all-time great daredevil, Evel Knievel, as he attempts to fly across the Grand Canyon. Cameos from Tracee Ellis Ross, Pamela Anderson, and Nia Long as some of Yeezy’s excited fans made for some unforgettable visuals. This video might be most remembered for sparking one of Kanye’s most memorable award show moments by confronting Justice at the MTV Europe Music Awards. After losing out on video of the year, West exclaiming “aww hell naw! this video cost a million dollars, fam! I had Pamela Anderson, I was jumping across canyons and Shyte!”
Kanye West – “Stronger” Cost: $1,200,000
Synopsis: Kanye didn’t let losing out on an award stop him from making another video that cost, “a million dollars, fam!” With Hype Williams behind the lens, this video was shot in the A Bathing Ape and Harajuku stores over nine days in Japan. Drawing heavy influences from Japanese Anime films like Akira, this was one of Ye’s finest moments on camera.
MC Hammer -“Here Comes The Hammer” Cost:$1,300,000
Synopsis: Do you really need a synopsis on an MC Hammer video? You now the drill. Explosions, dancers, hammer pants. You know how this story ends.
Blackstreet ,Janet Jackson ft. Eve, JaRule “Girlfriend/Boyfriend” Cost: $1,500,000
Synopsis: The quickest way to feel real old is to look at this video and realize that these cheesy graphics cost this much money. This may not look like much now, but back then this was like seeing a “double rainbow!”
TLC “Unpretty” Cost:$1,600,000
Synopsis: Back during the TRL reign, getting your video retired was pretty a big deal. This big budget clip for TLC’s “Unpretty,” did just that all while delivering a message that still rings true today.
Missy Elliott “She’s A B***h”Cost: $2,000,000
Synopsis: Missy Elliott spared no expense when it came to making music videos. Between eye popping visuals like “Get Your Freak On,” “Work It,” and ‘Supa Dupa Fly,” it was “She’s A B***h” that ended up costing the most coin. Between exotic vehicles, elaborate dance scenes, and extremely detailed cosmetics, we hope she kept the receipt on this.
Will Smith “Miami” Cost: $2,000,000
Synopsis: Will Smith has been rich forever, word to Ricky. The video starts off with one of the Fresh Prince’s buddies complaining how cold it was in Philly. And as easy as it takes most people to order a pizza, Will rounds up his homies and takes his talents to South Beach. What you know about that?
Busta Rhymes ft Janet Jackson Cost: $2,400,000
Sypnosis: Admit it, back in the 90s this what we all thought the year 2012 would look like. This futuristic look at sex through the eyes of Busta Rhymes and Hype Williams was filled with innuendo as Busta transforms into a sperm-like creature, and playing heavily into the theme of wetness. Giggity goo.
MC Hammer 2 Legit 2 Quit Cost: $2,500,000
Sypnosis: MC Hammer’s music videos would put shame to many Superbowl halftime shows. The pomp and circumstance of Pastor Hammertime’s videos in his hey day were some of the most ballerific scenes ever captured on cinema.
Puff Daddy ft. The Notorious B.I.G.- “Victory”Cost: $2,700,000
Sypnosis: New rule, if you are going to say “we making a movie” to mean any type of party or video and it looks nothing like this, you fail. Puffy set new standards for music videos with the epic “Victory,” featuring Busta Rhymes and a recently deceased Notorious B.I.G.. Cameos by Danny DeVito and Dennis Hopper put this 8-minute video over the top, and paid homage to the film, The Running Man.