The beautiful thing about music videos back in the day is that, more often than not, they depicted places you wish you were with people that you wish you knew doing things you wish you were doing. And from a hip hop and R&B perspective, people were still on the come up and were really about the music more so than the business of music. So it wasn’t a big deal for other famous people to show up on your album or at your concert or at least a cameo in your video. At least, that’s how I play it out in my head. In most hip hop videos today, the people in them just don’t look, well, cool. They don’t look so much like they’re doing what you wish you were doing or are with people that you wish you knew. It all seems so contrived; how many Bentleys can you really look at? I don’t want to see Britney Spears singing the hook on a Mobb Deep joint because it might have “crossover appeal.” I don’t even know what that means anymore. Meanwhile, people in the videos of the 1990’s could make a Jeep Wrangler or even a Geo Tracker look like the best time in the world.
And that’s how I felt about Da Brat’s “Give It To You” video. My college roommate and I threw a party celebrating the fact that he had passed calculus (long story) and I had moved out the ghetto (longer story). We hired a band and sent out classy invitations, but we also served chicken wings and red Kool-Aid for which we refused to measure the sugar–basically, we just kept adding sugar until it wouldn’t dissolve in the water anymore. And though we never explicitly said it, we were probably trying to recreate a lot of the feelings felt in this video. Continue reading