2013 has been a good one for us and we’ve decided to close out the year a little differently from now on… We’ve compiled our lists of the dopest things that came out these last 12 months and we’re sharing with you all what we liked the most in 2013, including lists for the best albums and our favorite live shows we attended. We’re not ranking these things, this is just a simple compilation of what we like the most and because we were founded in 2012, “12” is now our go-to number and limit for these lists.
We’re starting with our favorite videos of ’13; find those by hitting the jump.
Arcade Fire – “Afterlife”
Director: Emily Kai Bock
Arcade Fire returned with a dance-y, artsy album chock-full of great tracks. The video for their song “Afterlife,” written and directed by Emily Kai Bock in a collaboration with The Creators Project, is cinematic and tells the tale of a family dealing with personal problems and letting their minds take them elsewhere. The song itself is great, but the video takes it to another level.
Arctic Monkeys – “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?”
Arctic Monkeys’ song about the troubles of drunk texting got the perfect video treatment with a drunken Alex Turner walking and sending messages to a lover, who his mind imagines doing all the wrong things with the people he comes across on his journey to her home.
Caleb James – “Do It For Save Money 2.0”
The track in itself is dope, incorporating R&B and Hip Hop so the switch of the visuals according to the change in the song works well. The video features cameos from Save Money crew members like Vic Mensa and Chance The Rapper but the female talent on this is also worth noting.
J. Cole feat. Miguel – “Power Trip”
Directors: Nabil and Mike Piscitelli
The video to J. Cole’s first single off his sophomore album is one you have to see from start to finish. The video starts with the NC native looking uneasy at a strip club (of all places), with the following scenes showing how his crush on a girl led to him looking like that at that joint. Peace out, Miguel.
Kendrick Lamar feat. Drake – “Poetic Justice”
This one is more of a traditional Hip Hop video. A party is shown through slow-mo shots of K Dot and his people enjoying a night together but the video really turns around with its use of markers of things to come (like those seen in old black & white films) with an eventual shooting changing the entire vibe of the video.
The Orwells – “Who Needs You”
Director: Eddie O’Keefe
This is Rock music how you’d wish it’d always sound like thanks to its catchy guitar riff and a chorus that’s worth chanting and jumping for. The sound is very much like vintage The Strokes and so are the visuals, bringing to mind the video for “Last Nite.” Images projected behind the band range from Abe Lincoln to Elvis to Frederick Douglas to the Chicago flag and other icons of US culture, making for an excellent backdrop as the guys play the song.
Retrospect feat. Chandler London, J Arthur, Dot Kom, ShowYouSuck – “Can I”
Director: Adebowale Adesuyi
This video has a bit of everything. Starting with a recreation of the shoe-stepping scene from Do The Right Thing, this video is a great showcase of local talent in a classic collaboration music video. Everyone’s individual verses are dope and so are the individual scenes that accompany them.
Schoolboy Q feat. Kendrick Lamar – “Collard Greens”
Director: Jerome D
Nothing gets us more turnt up than Schoolboy Q’s “Collard Greens” featuring Kendrick Lamar. The video starts out with shots of Schoolboy Q as a “talking head” and scenes from a small party (cameo from Macklemore and people in luchador masks) but then it cuts to a pool party. Dope change of scenery.
Scheme – La Clika
Director: Beast Factory Films (Sense Hernandez and Tony Shane)
This one’s a little different from the rest of the videos on this list since we were actually around for the making of much of this video. Scheme’s ode to his clique has shots of him rapping and surrounded by flags of all sorts of nations plus some clips of a Mexican parade that give this video a prideful feel and makes it worth the views.
Treated Crew – “U.O.E.N.O. (Remix)”
Director: T.E.H.O. & Noir Film Crew
The video is cinematic and draws from the iconic Belly with some re-enacted scenes. The video continues with some memorable shots of the Treated Crew guys interpreting the song and the cut to Mano’s reaction to that Tesla at the end caps it off well.
Vic Mensa – “Did It B4”
Director: Austin Vesely
Shot and directed by Austin Vesely, “Did It B4” was our introduction to Vic Mensa’s INNANETAPE and while the song itself ultimately didn’t make the cut for that project, the video definitely does land on our list thanks to the trippy scenes of Vic rapping in a cemetery, the “white noise” screens in the background for some of the other shots and of course when you get to see Vic’s brain getting inspected… by himself.
Young The Giant – “It’s About Time”
Director: David Vincent Wolf
The video for Young The Giant’s latest single “It’s About Time” starts out with a very normal look, just black and white shots of the band performing the song. The video gets better right after the first verse when special effects are incorporated and a lot more theatrics are used.
This section is meant for videos that… well, just see for yourself and figure it out.
Robin Thicke – “Blurred Lines”
Wale – “Clappers”