(With all the hoopla over Erkyah Badu getting killed in the “Window Seat” video I thought I’d bring this back…)
Fans may still be arguing whether or not hip-hop is dead, but over the years rappers have played with the image of their own deaths to add shock value to their music videos. Here are five examples that had people talking.
5) 50 Cent, “Think About Me” Directed by Chris Robinson
Curtis got his real life ex-girlfriend, Vivica A. Fox, to act out any revenge fantasies she might have had, slashing his tires and literally blowing up his spot cuz they both got hot.
4) Nas, “Hate Me Now” Directed by Hype Williams
Crucifixion ain’t no fiction but after Nas and P Diddy imitated the Passion Of The Christ in this clip, Mr. Combs had second thoughts. But before he could gracefully bow out the clip aired on MTV. An irate Diddy stormed the offices of Nas’ then manager, Steve Stout,and cracked a bottle of haterade over his head.
3) Tupac, “I Ain’t Mad At Cha” Directed by Tupac Shakur & Kevin Swain
In the most tragic example of art imitating life, the beginning of this video features Tupac being shot in a drive-by and later dying in an ambulance. The single was released two days after his actual death. The coincidence just fueled the Makaveli mystique and belief that Tupac was still alive after his murder.
2) Jay-Z, “99 Problems” Directed by Mark Romanek
While MTV usually denies videos depicting violence, the Mike Jordan of recording got a pass for this third clip from The Black Album, which featured him getting perforated by gunfire on a street corner. Jay-Z explained that the shooting was analogous to the “death” of Jay-Z, and the “rebirth” Shawn Carter.
1) Kanye West, “Flashing Lights” Directed by Kanye West and Spike Jones
West proved to be a student of the “psychic violence” made popular in movies like Seven. We’re disturbed by what’s implied rather than shown. In the second of three videos for this single Yeezy is tied up in the trunk of a Mustang parked in the middle of the desert. His half-naked girlfriend kisses him on the cheek and as the camera pulls away, she takes a shovel and proceeds to show him how much she digs his style. Even though Kanye has a flair for the dramatic we never thought that he would take it this far…