The 6 Best Music Videos Of 2016

5. David Bowie, “Blackstar / Lazarus” (dir. Johan Renck and David Bowie)

The final pair of videos from a man who has come to be defined for his fearless creativity over five decades, Bowie’s final visual statements show a man at his peak form even in his dying days. Directed by Johan Renck but creatively helmed by Bowie himself, both “Blackstar” and “Lazarus” are explorations of mortality (mirroring the key themes of the album they come off of) through occultist symbolism and a colour scheme filled with rich greens and greys. A worthy set of final videos from a visionary that will be remembered for years to come.

4. Danny Brown, Pneumonia (dir. Simon Cahn)

Few people are as gifted at the art of musical chaos as Danny Brown, as “Pneumonia” director Simon Cahn seems to have realized. Cahn sets one of the wildest songs of the year to an equally surreal video, switching between VHS footage of politicians (including Danny himself) and Brown being dragged, slammed and carried through the air by a set of chains (due to Danny’s other role in the video as a politician, it’s not hard to see the puppet imagery). In music videos, the most successful ones are the ones that can visually compliment the song best. “Pneumonia” is a perfect example of that sweet spot where audio and video play off each other impeccably.

3. Radiohead, “Daydreaming” (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)

It probably wouldn’t be hard to guess that when Radiohead and Paul Thomas Anderson collaborated, the result would be fantastic. Anderson not only has been collaborating with Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood for nearly a decade now to phenomenal results every time, but this is a band who has perfected their craft working with a filmmaker who is just as much a master of his own field. But what surprised me is that Daydreaming is just as much one of the best videos of the year as it is a film school lesson. “Daydreaming” is a clinic in perfect pacing, as Anderson flawlessly builds tension as the song itself does using Thom Yorke and a series of doors and stairs. A must-see not only for fans of Radiohead, but for anyone looking to make movies in the future.

2. Frank Ocean, “Nikes” (dir. Tyrone Lebon)

Taking a look at the list of favourite films that Frank Ocean named in his Boys Don’t Cry magazine that came along with his newest record Blonde, it’s pretty obvious that the man is educated in the medium. “Nikes” is the result of that, a series of short, unrelated clips full of symbols and references to the song itself while also subtly recognizing films like American Beauty and Mulholland Dr. The selection of photographer Tyrone Lebon is an obvious choice for a piece like this, which completely favours composition over narrative or plot. Shot on grainy, textured film that gives a hazy quality to everything in the video, Lebon’s party clips flow with beautiful naturalism while its more quiet moments feel more quiet and intimate that most full-time feature filmmakers can accomplish. A gorgeous mood piece that is best viewed on a big screen in the dark.

watch the video at http://boysdontcry.co/

  1. ScHoolboy Q, “John Muir” (dir. Aplusfilmz)

“John Muir” is not just the best music video of the year. It may very well be one of the year’s best short films as well. The video tells the story of two young men who rob someone for their car, and chronicles the next 24 hours through a single camera attached to the side of the car. It’s essentially a silent film with “John Muir” as the soundtrack, and it is just as good without the music behind it. All of this can be traced back to the phenomenal direction from the filmmaking crew Aplus, who created a story more interesting, characters more gripping, and cinematography more innovative than 99% of the feature productions being released today. Seriously, someone give these guys $30 million and a studio. If “John Muir” is any indication, they’re a group of filmmakers capable of making magic.

Danny Brown – Really Doe (Featuring: Kendrick Lamar, Earl Sweatshirt & Ab-Soul) (Prod by: Black Milk)

Danny Brown releases a new single titled “Really Doe” off of his new album Atrocity Exhibition featuring Kendrick Lamar, Earl Sweatshirt and Ab-Soul. Danny Brown teased the song produced by Black Milk on his instagram Sunday and later had Hot 97’s Peter Rosenburg drop the world premiere of “Really Doe”. Danny Brown has worked with these group of artist before. Danny Brown has worked with Kendrick Lamar on A$AP Rocky’s song “1 Train”, also on Ab-Soul’s song “Ride Slow” featuring Earl Sweatshirt. Listen to “Really Doe” here.

Danny Brown – Blunt After Blunt (Tuslo Remix)


On the seventh day we’re told that God rested, but after much personal debate I’m convinced that on the seventh day the Lord actually invented Trap music. Relative newcomers to the scene, trap producers Tuslo released their own spin on the wildly eccentric Blunt After Blunt by Danny Brown. I’ve had this remix going on loop for about an hour now, and I’m sure that my landlord is already in the process of finding a way to kick me out of my complex for a noise ordinance. Stream the aforementioned track above and stay tuned for more from the new kids on the block.

Danny Brown – Smokin’ & Drinkin’

It’s a rare and fantastic day when Detroit-born emcee Danny Brown blesses us with a new visual, and today is that day.  “Smokin’ & Drinkin'”, which appears on Mr. Brown’s 2013 effort Old, is an homage to those age-old intoxicating past-times. The visual is frenetic and crazy, but that’s exactly what we’re supposed to expect from Danny.  Oh, yeah, and if you ever get a chance to see Danny Brown live, absolutely do it. He has one of the most insane sets I’ve ever seen.

Review: Lucki Eck$ – Body High

I have been intrigued by Lucki Eck$ from the first time I heard Alternative Trap.  There was something unique about his cadence and his beat selection, but what drew me in from the start was the way he could tell these vivid stories in such a laid-back monotone way. It almost makes one question the authenticity of the stories he shares, but then again, it is probably best not to know where an artist draws the line between the truth and a fabricated lifestyle. You will either end up disappointed or astounded at the reality of what’s really going on.

On Lucki Eck$’s sophomore release, his lyrical content gains a layer of depth and realism unreached by his debut album.  He goes into detail about the chemicals he’s pushing and consuming, namely that Xan. The album starts off with 4th Commandment Broken, which is a cavalier reference to Biggie’s Ten Crack Commandments. He touches on the aforementioned topic of selling drugs and taking them himself.

“Number four, I know ya heard this before, never get high on your own supply.”

Things don’t really get popping on the album until the SKYWLKR-assisted joint, Finesse. Firstly, homie snapped on the beat, tailor making the perfect sound to match Eck$’ unusual flow. The topic of discussion on this track is the more glamorous side of the drug trade. He tends to stray away from the struggle with addiction and sticks to rapping about slanging, making money and robbing his competitors. It is not a positive message, but it is definitely a contrast from tracks like Xan Cage and Slow Down.

“You like getting high, and I like getting money, but I don’t like jail so don’t overdose on what you get from me. Just slow down for me…”

He closes the album out with his third installment of Count on MeCount on Me II was one of my favorite tracks off of Alternative Trap, so I was looking forward to hearing this one too. This track is similar to Finesse as far as lyrics go, but the Hytman-produced beat is a departure from his usual production selection. The way Lucki lazily spits bars over this production makes  this song feel like it was made in some hazy video game cloud world.

This whole project reads as a lucid Xanax-fueled dream and the production from the likes of Skywlkr, Vela Seff, Vela Seg, Keef Brain, Nuri and regular collaborators Plu2oNash, Hytman and Mulatto Beats set the tone perfectly with their cloud-like production. From Alternative Trap to Body High, it is clear there has been sonic progression and probably some life lessons along the way. To put things in perspective, Eck$ just turned 18 and since his first project he’s been travelling around the nation on tour and has probably experienced a bit more than the average 18 year old.

 

Peep what he just decided to release yesterday with Detroit’s own Danny Brown and stream Body High if you haven’t heard it yet below.

Danny Brown – Contra

Danny Brown talked quite a bit about the “Old Danny Brown” on his most recent album Old, he even proclaimed the song Side B (Dope Song) was actually going to his last song about dope, but not his last dope song. Either way, Mr. Brown is throwing it back to his old self with a vinyl re-release of his 2008 project Hot Soup. This track is a remix produced by fellow Detroit native, Apollo Brown. Pretty dope collab if I do say so myself (intentional bad “dope” pun…). 

DANNY BROWN THE OLD & RECKLESS TOUR (ST. LOUIS)

1833 + Knuckle Rumbler + Superior Objectives Present

DANNY BROWN
The Old & Reckless Tour

With Special Guest
KITTY

Along With
DJ MAHF & STEDDY P
HEEZY [Nasty Rumor]

Mon. April 29th| All Ages
Doors 7:00PM | Show 8:00pm

Old Rock House

1200 S. 7th St.
St. Louis, MO

DANNY BROWN THE OLD & RECKLESS TOUR

1833 + React Present

DANNY BROWN
The Old & Reckless Tour

With Special Guest
KITTY

Thu. April 25th| 17+
Doors 9:00PM | Show 10:00pm

Bottom Lounge

1375 W Lake
Chicago, IL