More often than not, music videos serve as perfect visual landmarks that define a moment in time.
Throughout the early 2000s and into the 2010s many Hip Hop artists and rappers were giving us out-of-this-world music videos that now stand as pillars of pop culture. We have taken you through iconic moments from Missy Elliott to Kanye West to Diddy that have become culturally defining moments in music and represent the 2000s like no other.
Check out our list of top 10 music videos below.
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10 Kelis - Milkshake
You’re welcome. While “milkshakes” might be a euphemism in Kelis’ lyrics, the ice cream-based beverage also makes an appearance in the legendary music video that takes place in a classic diner. Additionally, the singer’s sensual choreography and innuendos that come in the form of hamburger “buns” makes the video feel like a true 2000s work of art.
9 Drake - “Best I Ever Had”
The basketball-themed music video, directed by Kanye West, pulled Drake right onto the scene and let us know the Canadian rapper was kind of a baller.
8 Beyoncé ft. JAY-Z - "Crazy in Love"
Amazing. Groundbreaking. Beyoncé’s “Crazy In Love” featuring JAY-Z was literally “history in the making” as JAY-Z reminds us at the beginning of the song. The video open’s the world’s eyes to Bey’s insane dance capabilities and marks the start of the singer’s obviously explosive solo career post Destiny’s Child. Plus, the music video reminds us that belly chains were totally a thing and we should definitely bring them back.
7 Nicki Minaj - "Super Bass"
As we delve deeper into the 2010s, Barbie’s music video masterpieces are not to be overlooked. With “Super Bass” literally melting Nicki’s ice speakers and back up dancers wearing a rainbow of different colored Doc Martens the video screams 2011 in the best way possible. As Minaj swims in a pool filled with pink water and dons a perfect green wig the artist solidifies her signature cartoonish and colorful style while also delivering her incredible vocal and rap chops.
6 Missy Elliott – "Lose Control"
We had to throw this Missy Elliott staple onto our list because it would be a crime not to include “Lose Control” here. The high concept video not only has Missy busting out of the dirt to give us explosive choreography, but also iconic moments from Ciara dancing in the California desert. The music matches the songs’ intensity and kicks everything up a notch.
5 OutKast – "Hey Ya"
An all-around 2000s masterpiece. The legendary video has Andre 3000 performing every facet of a live performance while also giving us a campy take on retro variety show performances. It’s weird, over the top, and takes turning music videos into short films to a whole new level.
4 Kanye West – "Flashing Lights"
From Kanye’s Graduation era comes “Flashing Lights” and its demure yet highly conceptualized director’s cut video. With Yeezy stowed in the trunk of a Mustang, and a woman in lingerie ready to bury him, this video feels like the rapper’s first foray into creating high-art visual accompaniments for his songs.
3 P. Diddy – "Bad Boys For Life"
Welcome to Perfecttown, USA! As Diddy and his crew roll up and take over the neighborhood, the cameo-filled music video reminds us that we’re obviously “rockin’ with the best.” Quintessential new millennium outfits give the visualizer the extra touch of 2000s realness that we are all obviously craving when reading this list.
2 Nelly – "Ride Wit Me"
The music video, AKA short film, where Nelly stars as Nelly Nell is filled with classic early aughts outfits, car seats covered in animal prints, big red Mack trucks, and an iconic Trans Am driven by Nelly that all serve as a visual feast for the eyes.
1 Missy Elliott – "Work It"
Missy Elliott tops our list because “Work It” is just one of those videos that has become a cultural phenomenon. Aside from turning her Adidas tracksuit into a fashion staple, the choreography and visual effects that the rapper employs throughout the video make for the perfect storytelling mechanism, for a song that is filled with colorful visual cues.