Each month, we run down the most memorable clips and celebrate artists who are breaking ground with their visuals.
7. Raveena: “Tweety”
Directors: Raveena and Chris Cadaver
In the video for her breezy R&B song “Tweety,” New York singer-songwriter Raveena shrinks herself down to the size of a spoon and wanders through a greenscreen Y2K dreamscape. Surrounded by trippy pastels, she dials on a transparent landline phone, plays “Tweetster” on a floral plastic mat, and sits on a bean bag chair in knee-high boots and a sculpted updo. The cheeky visuals are soothing in a nostalgic way—at one point, Raveena descends a sweeping staircase that leads to a still pool of water, an image that glows and loops like a throwback screensaver.
6. Megan Thee Stallion: “Cry Baby” [ft. DaBaby]
Director: Colin Tilley
Yes, this is Megan Thee Stallion’s fourth appearance in this column in the last six months. And yes, it is still completely warranted. “Cry Baby” is admittedly not the best song from last year’s Good News, but this Toy Story riff makes it exponentially better. Working with “WAP” director Colin Tilley once again, Megan casts herself and DaBaby as dolls who come to life in a toy shop after hours, with the express purpose of getting with each other. There are Hot Wheels going around in manic loops and latex looks galore. No one else is doing bizarro, R-rated variations on childhood favorites like Megan.
5. Chloe x Halle: “Ungodly Hour”
Director: Alfred Marroquín
In Chloe x Halle’s video for the title track from their 2020 album, the duo offer a darkly decadent trip back to the vaguely cybernetic scenery explored in their past few clips. Set in neon-drenched open spaces, shallow pools, and an inexplicable server room, “Ungodly Hour” features enough retro-futuristic android looks and elaborate headdresses to give Fritz Lang a run for his money. The luxuriant clip feels like a victory lap, capping off an era with Afrofuturistic flair.
4. Victoria Monét: “F.U.C.K.”
Director: Kee Hwang
In this homage to Westerns, R&B singer Victoria Monét plays the Jaguar, a lawbreaker on the run for committing, what else, “crimes of shameless, bamboozling sexuality.” When she strolls into a sleepy saloon wearing a bedazzled cowboy hat and smoking a wooden pipe, Monét sets in motion a cat-and-mouse chase with a masked bounty hunter. “F.U.C.K.” includes just enough cinematic twists and turns to keep you guessing who’s actually on Monét’s side—plus an ending that begs for a girl-gang sequel with plenty more bamboozling.
3. Cardi B: “Up”
Director: Tanu Muino
If there’s one thing Cardi B will absolutely do, it’s turn a music video into a playground for orgiastic visuals dripping in high fashion. Her latest is no exception: From stomping on a grave marked “R.I.P. 2020” in her Louboutins to rapping with severed Barbie doll heads tangled in her teased-up hair, Cardi keeps the high-femme, playful imagery at an all-time high. The best look has her wearing a near-nude bodysuit and a mask, sprawled out on a translucent chair held up by a naked guy on his stomach. It’s a consummate snapshot of Cardi: so confidently in control that it looks like an honor just to be her furniture.
2. Tkay Maidza: “KIM” [ft. Yung Baby Tate]
Director: Adrian Yu
An official power ranking of Tkay Maidza’s impersonations of famous Kims in this incredible video: 5) Raging out on a motorcycle to the bass-rattling chorus as Kim Kardashian in the “Bound 2” video (bonus points for replacing Kanye with a crash-test dummy); 4) shaking it at a photoshoot as Kardashian again, recreating the “Break the Internet” PAPER magazine cover; 3) mean-mugging while decked out in the bright-red wig and designer threads Lil’ Kim wore in the 1997 “Crush on You” video; 2) strolling down a faux VMAs red carpet in Lil’ Kim’s iconic purple jumpsuit and pastie; 1) flexing as an ultra-stylish version of the cartoon character Kim Possible (with Yung Baby Tate as green villainess Shego), cutting through a city with her face on every billboard.
1. Bomba Estéreo: “AGUA”
Directors: Jhoy Suárez and Liliana “Li” Saumet
Colombian electro-cumbia group Bomba Estéreo returned after a four-year break last month with “AGUA,” from a forthcoming concept album about the Earth’s four elements. The track is built around Colombian and Canadian songwriter Lido Pimienta and Afro-Cuban group OKAN’s harmonized vocals, with handclaps, synths, and bird calls commingling to evoke the natural world in concert with our own. The video matches the song’s swaying intensity with an astounding, psychedelic journey into the wilds of Colombia. Co-directed by Jhoy Suárez and the band’s singer, Liliana “Li” Saumet, the clip drops you from majestic drone shots of lush mountains to a ritual among personified elemental spirits, each of them adorned with different flowers, body paint, and plants. Through its stunning makeup and vivid pops of color, “AGUA” is a mind-altering visual that sinks you into nature in surreal style.