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Jennifer Lopez's Best Hip-Hop Songs And Moments, Ranked

In celebration of Jennifer Lopez's 49th birthday this week, VIBE Viva ranked her greatest hip-hop tracks and moments throughout the decades. 

Before Jennifer Lopez landed the “role of a lifetime” in 1997 as the late Selena Quintanilla-Pérez in the biopic Selena, we were introduced to the aspiring singer-actress as Janet Jackson’s backup dancer in the video for “That’s The Way Love Goes” and as a Fly Girl on In Living Color, which was rooted in hip-hop culture.

Naturally, when Lopez ventured off into music, those influences followed her as an artist. “I love the hip-hop, I love the R&B; it’s gonna manifest itself in my music,” she told MTV News in 2013. Nearly 20 years after the release of On the 6, Lopez’s hip-hop collaborations have made her a familiar face within the community.

In celebration of the multi-faceted star’s 49th birthday this week, VIBE Viva ranked her greatest hip-hop tracks and moments throughout the decades.

Check it out below.

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13. “I’m Glad” (2002)

Don’t let the elegant harp strings on “I’m Glad” fool you. The mid-tempo track samples Schoolly D’s “P.S.K. What Does It Mean?” Schoolly D has been recognized as the OG gangsta rapper; therefore, sampling anything from his discography proves that the World of Dance judge is a real G.

Co-written by Lopez herself, “I’m Glad” still goes hard to this day, and the accompanying Flashdance-inspired video ranks among her best.

12. “I’m Into You” feat. Lil Wayne (2011)

The island-flavored “I’m Into You” is hands down one of the most underrated songs of Lopez’s discography. And Lil Wayne’s clever wordplay is impressive, e.g., “You’re way too fly, I could be your jet fuel.” The second single released off Love? failed to crack the Top 40 in the U.S., which is absurd since “I’m Into You” is the perfect soundtrack for sipping piña coladas with the crew all summer. Reaching No. 9 on the U.K. Singles Chart, the Stargate-produced track further solidified Ms. Lopez’s international appeal.

11. “Get Right” (Remix) feat. Fabolous (2005)

Without a doubt, the lead single off Rebirth brought the funk, but Fabolous’ verse took it to the next level. “I ain’t Mr. Right, I’m Mr. Right Now,” he raps over those infectious horn riffs. Co-produced by On the 6 collaborator Corey Rooney, “Get Right” was a bit unorthodox at the time, but it translated into a classic J.Lo sound. Bonus points for the multiple characters (from a DJ to busy bartender to an exotic dancer) Lopez portrayed in the original video.

10. “Dinero” feat. Cardi B and DJ Khaled (2018)

Music lovers nearly lost their minds when rumors started swirling that J.Lo and Cardi B were joining forces for a dream collaboration and they did not disappoint when the single officially dropped. In a nutshell, “Dinero” is the ultimate hustler’s anthem, with production notes from DJ Khaled.

On the fiery track, Lopez flaunts her millions and flexes her rapping skills at the same time. “They say money talk/but my talking bilingual,” she declares in the second verse. As expected, Ms. Belcalis Almanzar does her thing, offering fans a glimpse into her fabulous life. But the former Love & Hip-Hop: New York star stays true to her roots, e.g., “Two bad bitches that came from the Bronx/Cardi from the pole and Jenny from the block.” Iconic.

9. “Control Myself” with LL Cool J (2006)

J.Lo and Uncle L’s musical chemistry was so amazing the first time around in “All I Have” in 2002 that the duo reunited four years later on “Control Myself,” an homage to hip-hop’s golden era. Case in point: The beat samples and the vocals interpolate Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force’s “Looking for the Perfect Beat” and “Planet Rock,” which automatically places this collab in the Top 10.

8. “Jenny From the Block” (Trackmasters Remix) feat. Jadakiss and Styles (2002)

By the time Jenny’s This Is Me… Then hit store shelves, the Bronx-bred superstar was still riding high off the success of making history as the first entertainer to have a No. 1 movie and album in the same week with The Wedding Planner and J.Lo, which produced the hits “Love Don’t Cost A Thing,” “I’m Real” and “Play.”

However, Lopez set out to prove that fame and fortune haven’t changed her. She enlisted Jadakiss and Styles from The L.O.X. to create the now-iconic “Jenny From the Block” — a precursor to 2014’s “Same Girl” — which utilizes Boogie Down Productions’ “South Bronx.” “I stay grounded as the amounts roll in,” she insists on the first verse. It’s impossible not to sing into your hairbrush whenever this bop comes on.

7. “All I Have” feat. LL Cool J (2002)

Lopez’s dazzling Las Vegas residency is fittingly named after her smash hit “All I Have,” which stayed at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for four consecutive weeks. Built around a sample of Debra Laws’ classic R&B ballad “Very Special,” Jen and LL deserve an award for their superb portrayal of soon-to-be ex-lovers as they go back and forth over calling it quits. When the rap legend pleas, “Pride is what you had, baby girl, I’m what you have,” Jennifer’s reaction is savage AF: “You’ll be needing me but too bad.”

6. “I’m Gonna Be Alright” (Trackmasters Remix) feat. Nas (2002)

Containing replayed elements of Luniz’s “I Got 5 On It,” the third and final single off J to tha L-O! The Remixes isn’t your average breakup anthem. The entertainer shows resilience on “I’m Gonna Be Alright,” which features rap titan Nas. The Trackmasters remix peaked at No. 10 on the charts during the summer of ‘02, and it went on to become Lopez’s sixth Top 10 hit. With its haunting melody and lyrics depicting an unhealthy relationship, the slowed down tempo on “I’m Gonna Be Alright” allows listeners to get deep in their feelings.

5. J.Lo and Diddy’s VMA Red Carpet Appearance (2000)

Lopez and then-boyfriend Diddy became the most stylish VMA couple of all time when they walked the red carpet on Sept. 7, 2000. The Bronx Barbie turned heads in an all-white ensemble that included big hoop earrings, a bedazzled bandana and a Sean John crop top. On the brink of becoming a global phenomenon, Lopez walked away with her first Moonman that night, but the actress-turned-singer’s appearance with the hip-hop mogul gave her street credibility.

4. Cameo in Diddy’s “Been Around the World” with The Notorious B.I.G. and Mase (1997)

J.Lo knows how to make an entrance. When the Nuyorican bombshell appears as Princess of Tunisia (a fictional country) in then-Puff Daddy's “Been Around the World” video, the storyline suddenly becomes more interesting. The pair’s sultry dance sequence (skip to 8:12) went on to become an unforgettable moment in pop culture.

3. “Ain’t It Funny”(Murder Remix) feat. Ja Rule and Caddillac Tah (2002)

Craig Mack’s “Flava In Ya Ear” turns 25 next year, but it’s still one of the most recognized tracks in hip-hop history. It also laid the foundation for the “Ain’t It Funny” remix, which was released as the lead single off 2002’s J to tha L-O! The Remixes. The original version first appeared on Lopez’s sophomore album, and it took a Latin approach.

“This song was totally different, but it was still about the same thing,” Lopez explained to Sway Calloway during an interview that was featured in 2003’s The Reel Me. “Ain’t it funny that you wanted this and now fate has brought us to the point where I don’t want you no more.” The latter served as the premise for the remix, which became her third chart-topper. Within the first five seconds, Ja shouts “It must be the a** that got me like that,” referring to J.Lo’s famous derriere, which set the tone for the entire record.

2. “I’m Real” (Murder Remix) feat. Ja Rule (2001)

The original and the remixed versions of “I’m Real” are as different as day and night, but it’s also the secret sauce behind the massive success that followed both songs. Featured on the reissue of 2001’s J.Lo, the remix marked Lopez’s foray into hip-hop music. Jen’s soft coos and "R-U-L-E’s" gruff flow are a surprisingly perfect match on “I’m Real,” which samples Rick James’ “Mary Jane” and Mary Jane Girls’ “All Night Long.” The formula worked because it instantly became a summer anthem. Oh, and Lopez’s Juicy Couture pink velour tracksuit was (and still is) epic.

1.“Feelin’ So Good” feat. Fat Joe and Big Pun (1999)

Before #GoodVibesOnly was a hashtag, “Feelin’ So Good” was all that and then some. The hip hop-coated track brought balance to On the 6, which mainly consisted of ballads and mid-tempo songs. It borrows from Strafe’s popular 1984 hit “Set It Off,” giving the record its old-school hip-hop vibe. Furthermore, Fat Joe and the late Big Pun’s verses are nothing short of rap perfection. J.Lo, Pun and Joey Crack coming together on one track is a moment to cherish, especially since Pun died a few days after the single was released.

Produced by Sean “Diddy” Combs, the feel-good song only reached No. 51 on the Billboard Hot 100, but it paved the way for Lopez to be able to work with the likes of other high-profile rappers, including Rick Ross, T.I., Flo Rida, Pitbull and French Montana. “Feelin’ So Good” is a quintessential J.Lo record because it’s all about living life to the fullest, which seems to be Lopez’s personal motto.

 

Princess Gabbara is a multimedia journalist and storyteller. She’s a former reporter for the Lansing State Journal, part of the USA TODAY Network, who has written for outlets such as BitchMedia.org, Shondaland, Bustle, The Boombox, Ebony magazine, Jetmag.com, Essence, Sesi, and Greatist. Follow her on Twitter/Instagram: @PrincessGabbara.

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12 Hip-Hop And R&B Collaborations With BTS We Need ASAP

K-pop music has steadily grown into a cultural phenomenon that has spread from Korea and attracted a massive, diverse audience across the globe, with a few of Korea’s hottest exports like EXO, Pentagon, NCT-127, Blackpink, and Monsta X gaining momentum in the United States. However, South Korea’s own BTS are global musical juggernauts that stand far above everyone else.

BTS, also known as Beyond The Scene or Bangtan (Bulletproof) Boys, have made the biggest splash of all groups from Korea since their debut EP, 2 Cool 4 Skool (2013). The seven-man union, formed by Big Hit Entertainment in 2010, are three rappers and four vocalists: RM (the leader), Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, Jungkook, and Jin, respectively. With their homegrown, in-house writing and production, they developed a familiar but unique style that combines hip hop roots with the best of Korean and American pop music, and a splash of R&B. It’s presented with pastel colors and an alluring brand of soft, non-conforming masculinity, precise choreography, and deep layers of musical talent. They’ve also earned a staggering amount of accolades, including being named one of the “25 Most Influential People On The Internet” and “Next Generation Leaders” by TIME, the first Korean group to hold an RIAA certification and the first to have been nominated for a GRAMMY, along with four Billboard Music Awards and more honors.

Their hip-hop roots run deep as they started as a teenage rap group, with RM, Suga and J-Hope initially being battle rappers. A trip to Los Angeles, however, as documented on the reality series American Hustle Life, proved they had a very long way to go with understanding of the culture among other skills. Thankfully, after a boot camp style schooling from west coast legends Coolio and Warren G with choreographer Jenny Kita, they’ve grown tremendously as evident on their debut LP Dark And Wild (2014).

Since then, BTS has collaborated with hip-hop stars like Wale, Desigiiner, Krizz Kaliko, Nicki Minaj, and recently, JuiceWRLD on “All Night,” an exclusive from the soundtrack to their new mobile game, BTS World. The boys are riding high after their Gold-selling album Map Of The Soul: Persona, their new film Bring The Soul, and news of a collaboration with R&B/pop singer Khaled on the way. The BTS A.R.M.Y. (Adorable Representative M.C. for Youth) is excited for the possibilities of fresh new collaborations with other hip-hop and R&B artists. Read below for VIBE’s list of the 12 hip-hop and R&B collaborations with BTS we need ASAP!

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Drake

Toronto’s own megastar may be a controversial, polarizing pick because of the criticism of him (allegedly) riding on newer artists’ popularity to bolster his own career and “wave riding” international genres and artists without giving the proper credit. Regardless, based on Drizzy’s Billboard chart-topping history, a BTS and Drake collaboration would be nearly guaranteed to be a home run.

Musically, Drake is versatile enough to match elegant harmonies with Jin, V, Jungkook, and Jimin (imagine a remix to the steamy “Singularity”) and go bar for bar with ease next to RM, J-Hope, and Suga over  production from 40. His tracks with artists like Bad Bunny, popcaan, Wizkid, Romeo Santos, Black Coffee, and Giggs have all been solid, but BTS pairs the best with October’s Very Own because they both excel at creating bubbly, up-tempo and mainstream-friendly pop records, late night, vibey and confessional R&B songs, and explosive rap jams for the crowd who craves pure lyricism. And after the two had a warm meeting at the VMAs, fans shouldn’t be surprised if we see something on the horizon very soon.

Lil Uzi Vert

The tone and direction of BTS and Lil Uzi Vert’s most electrifying hits are the difference between night and day. On the flipside, they share much more common ground than you’d think with their high energy songs and performances, and an eye-catching penchant for their colorful, eccentric fashion looks and charismatic, light-androgynous swagger with the dance moves to match.

BTS’s recent effort with Juice WRLD, “All Night,” has already shown how well the group can pair with the hip-hop superstars from America’s Soundcloud generation, especially with the right producer in tow (Pro Era’s Powers Pleasant). With Lil Uzi Vert, we can expect a hit that carries the same pop and crossover appeal with that glittery sheen Uzi displays on “That’s A Rack.” However, if they really want to blow our collective minds, it would be a fresher look for BTS to see how the Bangtan spitters RM, Suga, and J-Hope would fare on the aggressive, high-octane end of Uzi’s versatile playground. They obviously can be as explosive on wax as evident on their first full length album, Dark and Wild, and in a more recent context, “IDOL” and “Mic Drop.”

BTS could fit with a respectable number of Uzi’s contemporaries as their cadences, flows, and gender fluid style are the products of its time. The Philly rapper stands above the pack however because of his smooth versatility to rock out, no matter the genre or direction of the song. If these two forces of nature got together, this could be an unprecedented crossover song for both of them.

Black Hippy

Kendrick Lamar and BTS have been tied together through a combination of minor controversies, and frequent collaborator, producer Teddy Walton attended a show and declared on Twitter that he wanted to work with the group. Obviously a Kendrick Lamar and BTS collaboration would turn heads, but who said he’s got to be the only one who gets to have all the fun?

If we live long enough to get a whole collaboration between BTS and Kendrick, Jay Rock, Schoolboy Q, and Ab-Soul, it would be the greatest gift that a hip-hop fan never knew they needed. RM, Suga, and J-Hope all are very nimble and clever lyricists who can go bar for bar with Black Hippy while the other four vocalists are no stranger to blending in on a pure hip-hop song. Also, their collective versatility ensures we wouldn’t get the same song twice.

When it comes to content, the catalogs of both groups contain plenty of songs that go into a wide range of topics, be it personal or social commentary, braggadocios raps, and just strictly for the turn up. Musically, BTS’s flows and vocals are versatile enough to ride over either a beat by Terrace Martin, Sounwave, or DJ Dahi.

Missy Elliott

For over 20 years, Missy Elliot has been a maestro of the clubs, the streets, the bedrooms and the Billboard charts for herself and a long list of some the greatest solo acts and groups who have ever done it. Her and BTS would be a very strong tandem because of her own experience in working with R&B and pop groups like Playa, 702, Destiny’s Child, and The Pussycat Dolls.

Missy’s no stranger to working with top artists from across the globe as she has created with Little Mix, Lady Sovereign, and MC Solaar. A BTS collaboration would not be so far out of her comfort zone because they both share a connection with their colorful, vibrant, eclectic music and imagery with their versatility with rapping, singing, and dancing.

Their effort could create a unique moment because both are great creating danceable hits using a wide variety of sounds from different genres (“Get Ya Freak On”/”hip-hop Phile”). We could also get some very sultry standouts as both are known for having sensually sweet voices and have great chemistry with partners. (“The Truth Untold”/”Crazy Feelings”). And if that doesn’t entice you, imagine the insane possibilities for their video treatments and their choreography at their live shows.

Tech N9ne

On the group leader RM’s solo mixtape Rap Monster, he tapped Strange Music’s resident crooner Krizz Kaliko for the soulful tune “Rush” back in 2015. Considering how far BTS as come along since then, it’s about time that fans got to hear one of rap’s most wicked lyricists, Tech N9ne, create a monster masterpiece with the group.

Albums such as Dark And Wild (2014) offer the group at their most aggressive while recent tunes like 2018’s “MIC Drop” and the Steve Aoki remix with Desiigner feature their most explosive lyrical performances, proving doubters why they’d make such a strong pairing. With Tech N9ne being one of the greatest rapid-fire spitters of all time and BTS, collectively, being able to switch flows and spit just as fast, we'd be likely to get a raging, lyrical barnburner. Possibly with Tech N9ne’s frequent collaborator Krizz Kaliko back on board as well.

On the flipside, Tech N9ne has shown tremendous versatility in his content and beat selection over the past 20+ years with thought-provoking deep cuts like “Show Me A God” and fun, loose bangers like “Caribou Lou.” And the soundscape on BTS songs like “Boy Meets Evil” and “Am I Wrong” from their 2016 album Wings are the kind that demonstrates not-too-bubblegum, yet not-too-hardcore sound where Tech can shine. If we can get a “BTS Cypher 5” on their next full-length album with Tech N9ne, we should all lose our collective minds.

Bad Bunny

Beyond Korea, K-pop has extended its reach into Latin America, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and brown folk in the United States. Coincidently (or not), we’re also witnessing the ongoing reign of Urbano and Latin Trap music, including one of the brightest, most eclectic stars of them all, Bad Bunny. That said, a Bad Bunny and BTS collaboration would be the international answer to the 1980s classic Run-DMC and Aerosmith tune “Walk This Way”, that music needs right now.

Despite the language barrier, it wouldn’t be impossible for them to create an international smash as BTS are known to enjoy various genres of Latin music. Working with Bad Bunny would be a fun match because they are both known for their flamboyant, colorful styles that defy gender norms, and electrifying flows. Bad Bunny’s talents would add a unique flavor that would bring more attitude, flair, and exciting, bouncier flows if paired with BTS. And while K-pop and Latin music collaborations aren’t anything new (Super Junior and Leslie Grace already beat them to the punch with “Lo Siento”), the impact could possibly be greater if done for a worldwide audience in the Western music world.

Beyoncé

It doesn’t take a music industry genius to know that if some wise guys or gals came up with a world tour with Beyoncé and BTS together, there would be no stadium big enough to hold both the Beyhive and the A.R.M.Y.

Beyonce’s voice is powerful enough to add an extra compelling layer of emotion to a song like “Listen,” and dynamic enough to get the party rocking like she’s done with “Get Me Bodied.” BTS already has the range, depth, versatility, and work ethic as a group to meet Beyoncé’s high level of singing and performing and it would be interesting to see what the band would look like with choreographer JaQuel Knight or how Beyonce’s moves would look under the guidance of J-Hope and Jimin. Hearing and seeing these two together for the first time would be a matchup of the century.

Boyz II Men

One of BTS’s biggest co-signs they’ve unexpectedly earned this year was from Boyz II Men’s Shawn Stockman, when he covered Jimin’s solo cut “Serendipity” while playing his guitar on a video he posted on Instagram. And that’s a high honor considering how BTS are the same fruit off The Jackson 5’s R&B/pop tree as the Philly trio.

Out of the many iconic groups that precede them, Boyz II Men is the best choice for a collaboration because the four vocalists and the trio’s voices can work cohesively together as they have a balanced range of pitches. And if need be, Boyz II Men are no stranger to singing in different languages as they covered k-pop songs on 2005’s Winter/Reflections and 2011’s COVERED -Winter. The only disappointing part is knowing that Michael McCray’s deep, sultry bass won’t be present after he revealed his battle with multiple sclerosis in 2016. Still, both groups have the musical range to appeal to both Asian and black audiences at the same time, so seeing them work together would be an amazing passing-of-the-torch moment.

H.E.R.

Love Yourself, ‘Tear’ (2018) from their Love Yourself trilogy is a prime example of how the group's collective vocal ability isn’t limited to pop music. They’ve proven with songs like “Singularity,” “The Truth Untold,” and “Magic Shop” that they’re just a proficient in contemporary R&B and neo-soul as they are at everything else. And while many contemporary American acts could sound great with BTS, perhaps the one that would be the most refreshing is H.E.R., whose deep, sensual, and gripping style will grab you by the ears and hold you by the heart. Both have the vocal range and deeply layered content to create an emotionally rich affair that could wind up either in the form of duets with either one of the singers or full group collaboration. We might not get a strong pop song from them, but considering how strong their emotional appeal and relatability is with their music if brought together, we don’t need them to make one at all.

Chris Brown

BTS’s lead dancer and singer Jimin has mentioned on a few occasions that he is a Chris Brown fan and he’d like for him to work with the group one day. In fact, three members once danced on stage to Breezy’s “Take You Down” and the crowd couldn’t get enough. Imagine how insane that same crowd would be if he were with the group on stage.

Aesthetically and musically, BTS has the most similarities to Chris Brown when it comes to their intense work ethic, creativity, natural dancing skills, and their knack for seamlessly weaving through hip-hop, pop and R&B on their albums. The obvious difference is that Brown is highly skilled at all those things, where some of the individual members are weaker in at least one of those aspects. It can be argued that J-Hope, Jimin, and RM are literally Chris Brown if you were to separate him into three people because those members, individually, carry all the things fans love about Brown’s music and performances.

Based on all of this, a BTS and Chris Brown collaboration would be insane because their styles would perfectly gel, which could create real chemistry that we could see and feel on stage.

J. Cole

It’s been documented that BTS, especially the leader RM, are fans of J. Cole as they once sampled his James Fauntleroy-assisted “Born Sinner” for their song “Born Singer.” If you were to listen to some of RM, J-Hope, and BTS’s earlier work, you can even see how they were inspired by Cole through their content and flows. Since the group is far more of a polished act nowadays and has cultivated their own style, a J. Cole and BTS collaboration would be something special.

Just as J. Cole garnered a cult-like following through his music and the way he addresses social and mental health issues, BTS has done the same thing for the past several years on wax, interviews, and more famously, in their speech in front of UNICEF in 2018. A joint record between the two could be a powerful track that cuts through like a hot knife on butter. Or we could even get a chance to hear Cole, Suga, RM, and J-Hope perform lyrical surgery on a “BTS Cypher” or on a J. Cole album where really gets in his bag like “MIDDLE CHILD” or on the Dreamville posse cut “Down Bad”. BTS has the language and versatility to match with J.Cole, so this would be an exciting effort from both acts.

Janelle Monae

This may look unorthodox on paper as BTS and Janelle Monae’s respective approaches to music and performing come from different, but related musical influences from black music. A closer look at the two however shows that they still share a parallel space. They often defy gender norms with their outfits and soft color schemes, giving some of the most vibrant, creative visuals you’ll see in this generation with videos like “Boy With Love” and “Pynk.” Also, both are vocal allies of the LGBTQ community and people of color.

Musically, Monae is an multi-faceted artist who can sing, dance, and even trade bars with the best of them as heard on “Django Jane.” And the way she uses her vocals and bars to create \ soul-stirring moments on socio-political songs like “Cold World” and “Americans” as BTS has done on “21st Century Girl” and “Am I Wrong.” Together, Monae and BTS could be a freedom fighting force on wax and create a groundbreaking moment that will cross racial and gender barriers across the world.

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6 Pop Culture Tributes In Normani's Jam-Packed "Motivation" Video

Since its release this morning at midnight (Aug. 16), Normani has been the name on everybody's lips. The former Fifth Harmony member dropped a video for her latest single, "Motivation," which shows off the 23-year-old's incredible dance moves and also pleasantly pays homage to some of our favorite visuals and pop-culture moments from the 2000s.

"Motivation" was produced by ILYA, and Normani revealed that Ariana Grande was one of the song's co-writers. The video was directed by Daniel Russell and Dave Meyers, who is as iconic (and throwback) as it gets. Take a look at a few moments the video pays homage to below.

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106 & Park (0:00- 0:29)

BET's music countdown show is the basis for the visual. A teenage girl is shown running into her living room, and she is eager to see if one of her favorite music videos will be shown. To her delight, Terrence J and Rocsi announce that Normani's video will be playing.

Beyonce, "Crazy In Love" (0:30-0:42 and 2:43-3:08)

A given considering Normani's vocal appreciation of the Queen Bey. To start the video within the video, 'Mani is seen strutting down the street a la 'Crazy In Love' with denim bottoms and a white tank, serving us life on a silver platter.

She also served us sexy choreography in the rain, a likely homage to Bey's iconic video. The bedazzled outfit screamed 2000s, but there was no denying there was Bey influence for the scene.

Ciara, "1, 2 Step" And/Or Ashanti, "Happy" (0:45- throughout)

Normani storms into this scene with energy, which prompts everyone else to get in formation and dance with her, reminiscent of when Ciara showed us how to 1,2 Step. Much like in the homage, everyone rallies behind CiCi to have some fun.

This could also be an homage to Ashanti's "Happy." Videos in the 2000s were clearly all about dancing in front of houses, and with the synchronization of both groups of dancers, we could also lean towards Ashanti being a definite inspiration.

Jennifer Lopez Feat. Ja Rule, "I'm Real (Remix)" (1:42-2:13)

The 2000s were all about the basketball court too, and "Motivation" screams "I'm Real." The OG video features J. Lo and Ja playfully canoodling on the court, which is also what we see during Normani's take on the hit.

Britney Spears, "...Baby One More Time" (1:54- 2:05)

You can't deny that this particular scene has Brit Brit written all over it. The Louisiana native, who is a former dancer and gymnast, pulled out all the stops in her debut music video. Normani (a fellow Louisiana girl as well as a dancer and gymnast) pays homage in a very loaded way.

via GIPHY
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Missy Elliott performs onstage during the 2018 Essence Festival presented By Coca-Cola - Day 2 at Louisiana Superdome on July 7, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Essence

Flipped And Reversed: Missy Elliott's 16 Best Music Videos

When you think about innovative music videos Missy Elliott should come to mind. As one of the most important hip-hop artists of the modern era, the living legend has finally received her roses when it was announced she would be the recipient of the Micheal Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the 36th annual MTV Video Music Awards on Aug. 26.

Elliott is the first female hip-hop artist to receive the honor and after many online petitions, social media callouts and dissected anecdotes, it’s about time. Before it music videos were funneled daily into spaces like YouTube, social media accounts and streaming platforms, we patiently awaited for videos from Missy on TRL or 106 & Park.

With a mix of magic realism and Afrofuturism, Missy (with help from visionaries Dave Meyers and Hype Williams) created a world we wanted to get lost in. Her visuals to 1997’s “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly),” helped set the standard for animated hip-hop music videos that can be seen today with fellow female rappers like Nicki Minaj, Tierra Whack and Doja Cat. There’s also her strong use of choreography in videos like “One Minute Man,” “Gossip Folks” and “Work It” all of which can still pack a dance floor.

But not all of Missy’s visual gems shine in the aughts. Her videos to recent jams like “Where They From (WTF)” and “I’m Better” break her creative glass ceiling.

With that said, the VIBE staff gathered 16 of Missy’s finest videos.

Enjoy the list below. 

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16. “All N My Grill” ft. Nicole Wray, MC Solaar and Big Boi (1999)         Director: Hype Williams

The dramatics in “All N My Grill” almost make you forget Missy is dealing with a f**k boi. Down shots paired with bright threads on Missy and then-protege Nicole Wray give the video a rich cinematic feel. The video isn’t as animated as others on this list, but production by Timbaland makes the song climatic on its own.

In both versions of the video (Big Boi was on the US release, French legend MC Solaar was on the European release), the dancers shine the brightest. With yellow raincoats and hats to match, the dance number provides the right amount of flair for a Missy video. -Desire Thompson

15. “Hit 'em Wit Da Hee” (1997)         Director: Paul Hunter

In a pinstripe outfit from the hat to the pants to a chainmail costume, Missy turns down the brightness of her clothing and visuals to tell a medieval story full of grey, black and silver tones. Set in a castle, Elliott is both queen and king as she showcases her unique sorcery.

The video is also full of dance sequences including a captivating number as the rain pours down. Showcasing her versatility, Missy diversified her music video palette by taking viewers to a new section of her creative mind. - Camille Augustin

14.  “Hot Boyz” ft. Nas, Eve and Lil Mo (1999)           Director: Hype Williams

Right before the year 2000 came to fruition, Missy aimed to round out 1999 with a pyrotechnic show that amplified flames to the rhythm of the beat. The proceedings begin with Nas’ opening verse as Eve and her effortless flow is a masterclass on breath control and captivating wordplay. 

Background dancers keep the ante of the melody on an energetic level, even Missy gets in on the choreography which remained a staple in her music videos. With a swoop of hair over her eye, Missy remained sultry and mysterious for her significant other, taking charge of her iconic short haircuts during that time. Mary J. Blige and Ginuwine also make an appearance as a fiery blaze serves as the backdrop to round out the Hype Williams-directed visual.  -C.A. 

13. “Sock It To Me” ft. Da Brat  (1997)         Director: Hype Williams

Throughout Missy Elliott’s canon of visuals, she always made sure to turn up the vibrancy of colors. This was the case for “Sock It 2 Me.” From the cherry red outfits, hair, and even that Mega Man-inspired space suit that many believe paved the way for Gmail's logo. 

Like the otherworldly visual productions for Elliott’s videos, “Sock It 2 Me” landed viewers in a completely different universe as she, Lil’ Kim, and Da Brat escaped menacing robots. Timbaland also makes an appearance, reminiscent of a mad scientist in the lab having cooked up another certified hit. -C.A. 

12. “Beep Me 911” ft. 702 and Magoo (1997)          Director: Earle Sebastian 

In the video for her song about questioning the motives of an unfaithful lover, Missy Elliott created a set that looked like a doll-themed club from 2050. Missy leads a cast of collaborators and backup dancers with vibrant, shimmery fashion – a golden dress with a protruding collar behind her neck, a bright orange jumpsuit, a hot pink one-sleeved jacket - and robotic dance moves that perfectly matched Timbaland’s skittery percussion. 

Timbaland and Magoo even join in with shiny suit jackets and oil-slicked hair, and 702 with a trio of pink and black outfits. Missy Elliott’s music always felt like it was from the future, and the video for “Beep Me 911” embodied that forward-thinking spirit. - William Ketchum 

11. “Take Away” ft. Ginuwine and Tweet (2001)          Director: Dave Meyers 

What makes “Take Away” such a touching video is its dedication to Aaliyah. Released after her passing, many wondered how Missy would pay homage to her close friend and collaborator. Meyers and Elliott kept things light and angelic with koi pond/Fantasy Castle settings as a celestial light traveling throughout each scene, almost a reminder that Baby Girl will always be with them and the world.

“Take Away” was also released a month after 9/11. With Missy being a leader in the “two music videos in one” trope, the transition into “4 My People” is an upbeat tribute to the victims of the terror attack. -D.T. 

10. “One Minute Man” ft. Trina and Ludacris (2001)         Director: Dave Meyers 

I was 16 and too young to know the lyrics to “One Minute Man,” so like any normal teen I sang the words when my mother wasn’t around. The frisky track about a man who could only perform for sixty seconds was considered Rated R for the times, but Missy with the help of Meyers made the video for the scandalous single fun. 

Whether it be a headless Missy dancing in the corner, or her sliding across the marble floor with the introduction of the fast-paced “Whatcha Gonna Do,” the video proved to be more stimulating than the one minute some men can offer. (no shade, no tea) All jokes aside, Missy could’ve taken a cliche uber sexual approach, but it’s Missy, when has she ever been cliche or predictable? - Shenequa Golding 

9. “I’m Better” ft. Lamb (2017)        Director: Dave Meyers

“I’m Better” marked Missy’s later offerings to the world of music videos, making it well worth the wait. Precision instantly drips from the choreography as her style jumps from red feathers on top of an all-black fit with thigh-high boots to a shimmering opal lip. With her eyes hidden behind her asymmetrical bangs, she never misses a beat. 

Missy didn’t have to boast about how much better she is because the video proves it. Her three outfit changes (!), platinum blonde, turquoise, and black hairstyles, remind us of the uniqueness only she can deliver. - Alexis Reese

8. “I’m Really Hot” (2006)       Director: Dave Meyers

If a martial arts film and hip-hop dance crew had a child, then Missy Elliott’s “I’m Really Hot” music video would be it. Slightly inspired by Quentin Tarantino’s 2003 blockbuster film Kill Bill: Volume 1, the Bryan Barber-directed (“Braid My Hair,” “Roses,” “Bia Bia,” “Blowin’ Me Up (With Her Love)”) visual takes us to a Tokyo-esque place where Missy’s squad and a Japanese posse battle it out in the streets. For what? Oh, you know, to end the “gum-bumpin’” and settle who really has the dance cred in the streets. 

As the crews go head-to-head in You Got Served style, the dance break slides into Soho’s “Hot Music” where Missy and her crazy talented background dancers make it clear there’s no dance style they can’t touch. Get into the serious krumpin’, Alyson Stoner cameo, and fightin’, flyin’ ninjas! Man, they don’t make music videos like this no mo’. - Christine Imarenezor 

7. “She’s A B***h” (1999)       Director: Hype Williams 

Women are often portrayed negatively for taking control of their own lives and images, and Missy was fine with being the bad girl the video for “She’s A B***h.” 

With an ominous black and white backdrop, stormy clouds, and a magnificent presentation of lights, Elliott looks like a femme supervillain from the futuristic Judge Dredd films: a full-length black trenchcoat, a full-body black leather outfit with straps across her torso, and sunglasses that covered virtually her entire face and wrapped around her bald head. 

She then dons a cowgirl outfit in the way that only Missy can, leads multiple choreographed dance numbers in a black mink with her hair laid. Noted as one of the most expensive music videos ever made for a cool $2 million, "She's a B***h" was also revolutionary in nature. For anyone who wanted to call women b***hes, Missy Elliott was willing to take them on with another example of her brilliant vision and versatility. -W.E. 

6. “Gossip Folks” ft. Ludacris (2005)        Director: Dave Meyers

Missy took us back to school and the cattiness that comes with it. Rocking a matching dark red and pink Adidas tracksuit with a fly pink hat, she leads the choreography by school lockers, in front of her dancers. 

As they are dressed in classic school uniforms with pressed khaki pants and plaid pleated skirts. Jumping from the typical school scenes, we head to the cafeteria where it really goes down as he samples Frankie Smith’s “Double Dutch Bus.”  As she briefly transitions while in an untamed classroom, she gets back on pace as Ludacris is met outside dripped in an alligator suit with matching shoes. This catchy yet relatable hit will forever be ingrained in our brains from the choreo to the style. Thank you, Missy.  - A.R. 

5. “Where They From (WTF)” ft. Pharrell Williams (2015)       Director: Dave Meyers 

Whew, the comeback.

Missy literally shines in “Where They From (WTF).” Her disco ball fit with diamond-encrusted lips locks us in and we haven’t even gotten to the choreography yet. 

The creative vision behind yet another Dave Meyers visual will make you say “WTF” (What The F**k) as you watch Elliot body choreography, seamlessly switch between outfits, and turn into a puppet. Missy said she was waiting for the right time to release her puppet performance idea with “WTF” being it. Pharrell lives through a puppeteer as he or it glides through his verse. As she is rooted in the up-tempo beats, the fast-hitting hit deserves nothing less than a round of applause. - A.R. 

4. “Get Ur Freak On” (2001)           Director: Dave Meyers

There are some who are comfortable in the box, while others work diligently to think outside of it. Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott was neither aware of the box or let anyone’s limiting parameters define her, and proof of this can be seen in her star-studded video “Get Ur Freak On.” 

Elliot opted for a gritty underworld with superior fighters trained in hand-to-hand combat as the scene. You could always count on Elliott and Myers to add some special effect, whether it be the way Elliott’s head zig-zags outside of the screen or her hanging from a chandelier with one hand. “Get Ur Freak On” is easily one of Missy’s best. - S.G. 

3.  “Work It” (2002)       Director: Dave Meyers 

There was a lot going on during the Making The Video episode for “Work It.” Bees were flying around the set, greenscreens were used during multiple takes and there a strong dose of homage to the golden age of hip-hop. Still, it was hard to look away from the TV because I just had to see the finished product of what would be one of the biggest videos of the year. A lot wasn’t explained to the cameras as Missy and Meyers went through each shot and dance number. Halle Berry’s cameo wasn’t mentioned until the very last minute and none of us realized that the chorus’ was actually flipped and reversed. 

But the outcome was beautifully paced and included so many special effects that remain fresh to this day. Watching the “Work It” video in 2019 feels just as new as it did 17 years ago. The single and video might be her biggest crossover, but we knew Missy had so much more to offer. 

2. “Lose Control” ft. Ciara and Fatman Scoop (2005)         Director: Dave Meyers

By 2005, Missy Elliott had shown the world she makes memorable, electrifying music and her videos intentionally echo that. So after more than a decade in music, she had nothing to prove to anyone, which left room for her and video director Dave Meyers to have even more fun. 

With an old-western world as the theme, a fleet of dancers accompanied Missy, Ciara and Fatman Scoop in the desert. The high-octane video kept up with the fast pace and energy of the song. Viewers burned calories simply watching Missy head on top of an agile and energetic and dancer, proving once again that Missy doesn’t disappoint.  

1. “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” (1997)        Director: Hype Williams 

“The Rain” is the piece that started it all for Missy’s legacy as a music video icon. A short-haired Misdemeanor Elliott joined  Hype Williams and his signature fisheye lens to showcase her moves inside of an inflated black garbage bag, her slick dance moves, and an assortment of bright, colorful ensembles. 

The video also had cameos by Timbaland, Tamara "Taj" Johnson-George of SWV, Yo-Yo, Lil' Kim, Total, 702, Da Brat, Lil' Cease and Puff Daddy - a who’s who of black music at the time of its 1997 release. 

“The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” was foundational both for her and for hip-hop as a whole, capturing Missy completely in her element: comical and wacky, but still fly and silky smooth, comfortable in her own skin the whole way through. 

Honorable Mentions  “Tipi Ti On My Cappi Town” - Pootie Tang ft. Missy Elliott and Prince Paul  (2001)  Director: Chris Rock/Louis C.K. 

You probably don’t remember the cult classic that is Pootie Tang and that’s totally fine. But the bright and bold creative style in the film was a perfect pairing for Missy as she starred as herself to sing along aside the film’s inaudible hero. Prince Paul and Missy contributed the track “Tipi Ti On My Cappi Town” with the full version hitting the internet in 2013. One can only imagine what a full music video with these two would look like. - D.T. 

😂🤣🤣😂😂 where is Pootie Tang🤷🏾‍♀️🤦🏾‍♀️😂🤣 pic.twitter.com/oQ1YQjjxId

— Missy Elliott (@MissyElliott) June 27, 2019

“Pass That Dutch” (2003)  Director: Dave Meyers 

How many hip-hop videos (scratch that… videos periodt) can we say have successfully combined Riverdance/Irish step dance to a Timbaland beat with the concept of canoodling with otherworldly life forms, gettin’ jiggy in a cornfield and Bratz dolls? Only Missy can dream it up and pull it off. 

With her frequent collaborator Dave Meyers, the supernova once again delivers an out-of-this-world visual that completely tramples expectations, and brings us a delightfully weird, yet stand-out moment in video history. Also, let us pour one out in remembrance of Aaliyah, Tupac, Biggie, Big Pun, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes and the victims of 9/11, who are memorialized in the beginning of the video with Missy’s song, “Baby Girl Interlude/Intro.” - J’na Jefferson 

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