So the number 9 video on my list is Fatlip’s “What Up Fatlip”. This video was never a staple on MTV or BET, as a matter of fact I doubt it received any air time. There’s no bling, sports cars, or classy ladies shake n’ their things up in the camera. I know that doesn’t sound like a typical rap video but that’s because this video is anything but typical.
In the early and mid 90’s Lip was a member of another not-so-typical hip-hop outfit, The Pharcyde. Best remembered for their hit Passin’ Me By this LA foursome broke new ground by going “hip-hop” while the rest of the West Coast scene went “gansta”.
More than a decade later Fatlip found himself flying solo and re-teaming with legendary film and video director Spike Jonze who had directed the Pharcyde video for Drop (which also happens to be on this list).
Armed with a camera and no budget the two set out on the streets of Hollywood to prove that you don’t need money and flash to make a great video, only a clever idea and the guts to go out in public dressed in a diaper and trench coat.
In this video Jonze manages to capture Lip’s self-deprecating lyrics and attitude in a funny yet endearing way. When Fatlip quips “ain’t got no homies that got my back/ yeah I’m a brother but sometimes I don’t feel black” you can’t help but smile while at the same time feel a slight twinge of sadness. Is it ironic that he’s dressed as a clown during this part of the video? I mean, come on, this guy was in the Pharcyde!
In a genre that’s 99 percent fronting there’s something strangely refreshing about Fatlip’s honesty. He starts off the second verse by expressing his insecurities on how he’s perceived by spitting “Go out like a sucker almost every day/ in the back of your mind you probably think’n I was gay”. Again Jonze finds a comical visual to accompany the somewhat sad lyrics. Just an all around great song and video.
Director Spike Jonze is probably best known for his feature film credits that include Being John Malkovich, Adaptation. and his upcoming Where the Wild Things Are. But before he began directing feature films he was one of the most sought after music video directors. Some of his more memorable videos include Wax’s Southern California, Weezer’s Buddy Holly, Fat Boy Slim’s award winning Praise You, and the Beastie Boys best video Sabotage. By the time we get to the end of this list well hit three more Jones videos.
In the mean time please enjoy this one!