The rollout of music has evolved over the years, but nothing beats a dope visual. After emotional and mind bending formats gave way to music videos in the 80s (thank you Michael Jackson), artists are almost challenged to match a stunning story to their tunes.
Take Kendrick Lamar’s recent video, “DNA.” Directed by Nabil Elderkin and The Little Homies, we meet Kung Fu Kenny, the rapper’s resilient persona directly inspired by Don Cheadle’s character in Rush Hour. The acclaimed actor also had a starring role in the video, with the two going round for round lyrically before he meets his demise. There’s a lot to process, but Cheadle’s presence adds star power and continues the blueprint for celebs stepping outside of their comfort zones.
There are plenty of acts that own the celeb-cameo schtick, like Jay Z, Kanye West and of course the late Michael Jackson, the creator of what many call “mini-movies.” Take a trip down memory lane with these standout cameos by our favorite actors, models and personalities that shined in front of the camera and over the baseline.
Let us know your favorite celeb cameos in the comment section below.
50. Rihanna, “Paranoid” by Kanye West (2010)
A baby faced Rih dreams of revenge in this underrated avant-garde video.
49. Christopher Walken, “Weapon of Choice” by Fatboy Slim (2001)
Most importantly, the Grammy-winning track features vocals from the legendary Bootsy Collins.
48. Eddie Murphy, Iman, Magic Johnson & Tiny Luster, “Remember The Time” by Michael Jackson (1992)
The song is also reportedly dedicated to the most glamorous celebrity of them all–Diana Ross.
47. Teyana Taylor, “Fade” by Kanye West (2016)
The video that launched a million revenge body goals.
46. Robin Williams, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin (1998)
The late comedian appeared in the video to the only a cappella song to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
45. Rupert Grint, “Lego House” by Ed Sheeran (2011)
This was cute, in a single, white male kind of way.
44. Kim Kardashian, “Bound 2” by Kanye West (2013)
The visual proclamation to his wife spawned the hilarious parody by James Franco and Seth Rogen.
43. Nia Long, Tracee Ellis Ross and Pamela Anderson, “Touch The Sky” by Kanye West & Lupe Fiasco (2006)
Thanks to this cameo, “Nia Looooooong” might be the only way to say the actress’ name these days.
42. Taraji P. Henson, Wood Harris, Bill Duke & Steve Harris, “Testify” by Common (2005)
Henson’s performance left us wanting a full blown film from G.O.O.D. Music.
41. Kerry Washington, “Bad Habits” by Maxwell (2009)
Lust has never looked so good.
40. Jennifer Lopez in Janet Jackson’s “That’s The Way Love Goes” (1993) and Puff Daddy’s “Been Around The World” ft. Mase (1997)
Back then, Jenny from the block was an ambitious dancer stealing scenes left and right.
39. Stacey Dash, “All Falls Down” by Kanye West (2003)
The political pundit was just one of many memorable cameos in Kanye’s video vault.
38. Zoe Kravitz, “I Know” by Jay Z (2008)
The actress takes on three different lost souls on the Pharrell-produced jam.
37. Shaq, “Vanilla Twilight” by Owl City (2010)
Yea, pretty random.
36. LeBron James, “Death of Autotune” by Jay Z (2009)
Directed by Anthony Mandler, the visual featured cameos from James and Harvey Keitel.
35. Tracy Morgan, “Notorious B.I.G.” by Notorious B.I.G. (1999)
Morgan provides the laughs in this classic video.
34. Kylie Jenner, “Come And See Me” by PARTYNEXTDOOR (2016)
Long story short, Party decided to see Kylie for once.
33 Kevin Hart, “Lean Back” by Fat Joe & Remy Ma (2004)
Hart helps remake the line from Biggie’s “One More Chance” video, which happens to have plenty of memorable music cameos.
32. Blac Chyna, “Rich $ex” by Future (2015)
This random cameo only boosted convos about Angela Kardashian.
31. Djimon Hounsou, “Love Will Never Do (Without You)” by Janet Jackson (1990)
The then model was the apple of Janet’s eye in this black and white video.
29. Ben Affleck, “Jenny From The Block (Track Masters Remix)” by Jennifer Lopez (2002)
Then-husband Ben had no qualms about being the topic of her This Is Me…Then album or this super 2000s video.
28. John Legend, Anna Nicole Smith, Tracee Ellis Ross, Vida Guerra, GLC & Fonzworth Bentley, “The New Workout Plan” by Kanye West (2004)
Next to MJ, Kanye really enjoyed celeb cameos.
27. Danica Patrick & Dale Earnhardt, Jr., “Show Me What You Got” by Jay Z (2006)
Shot by director F. Gary Gray, the rapper paid homage to the James Bond films, GoldenEye, The World Is Not Enough and You Only Live Twice.
26. Scarlett Johansson, “What Goes Around…Comes Around” by Justin Timberlake (2006)
Ironically, the song was actually about a celebrity that Justin’s friend was dating.
25. Chanel Iman, Joan Smalls & Jourdan Dunn, “Yonce” by Beyonce (2014)
The new girls of fashion proved they can hang with King Bey in this two-minute clip.
24. Lauren London, “Frontin” by Pharrell feat. Jay Z (2003)
Love & Hip Hop Atlanta’s Mimi Faust also makes a cameo alongside never-aging model Lanisha Cole.
23. Beyonce, “Happily Ever After” by Case (1999)
Bey was just 17-years-old when she played Case’s love interest in this 90s classic.
22. Kid Cudi, “T.O.N.Y.” by Solange Knowles (2008)
Cudder got quite the surprise in this lovely jam.
21. Solange, “Ice Box” by Omarion (2009)
The same year, Solo played the love interest in Omari’s breakout hit.
20. Usher, “Naughty Girl” by Beyonce (2004)
In an alternate universe, these two would reign as King & Queen.
19. Lala Anthony, Missy Elliott, Toni Braxton, DMX, Lil Kim, Rosario Dawson, Tank, plus many more, “I Miss You” by Aaliyah (2002)
Baby girl’s closest friends and peers came together to honor the singer on her posthumous single.
18. Ciara, Kim Kardashian & Chrissy Teigen, “MILF$” by Fergie (2016)
Fergie’s comeback game was heightened with a few of her famous friends.
17. Carmelo Anthony, “And I” by Ciara (2004)
Carmelo Anthony played the singer’s love interest from this Goodies cut.
16. Mekhi Phifer, “The Boy Is Mine” by Brandy & Monica (1998)
The ultimate lover’s quarrel featured the young actor.
15. Amber Rose, “Massive Attack” by Nicki Minaj (2009)
This outrageous video had a little bit of everything, including a fresh faced Amber Rose.
14. Claudia Jordan, “I Wanna Know” by Joe (1999)
Another 90s jam with the reality star.
13. Bruce Willis, “Stylo” by Gorillaz (2015)
The action legend takes on the band in this suspense-filled video.
12 Kelly Rowland, “Baby By Me” by 50 Cent (2009)
Kelly was the girl of 50’s dreams.
11. Rita Ora, “Over” by Drake (2009)
The singer was new to the Roc Nation family at the time this video dropped.
10. Trey Songz, “Yo (Excuse Me Miss)” by Chris Brown (2004)
VA boys gotta stick together.
9. Karrueche, “Paradise” by Cassie & Wiz Khalifa (2013)
Welp, who knew?
8. Mos Def in “You Don’t Know My Name” (2003), Method Man in “If I Ain’t Got You” (2003), Derek Luke in “Teenage Love Affair” and Chad Michael Murray in “Unthinkable (I’m Ready)” (2010) by Alicia Keys
Can your fave match the eye candy Alicia Keys had in her 2000s music videos? We think not.
7. Michael Jordan, “Slam” by Michael Jackson (1991)
Legend meets another legend.
6. Quincy and Kidada Jones, “Triumph” by Wu Tang Clan (1997)
The father and daughter make a cute cameo in the group’s apocalyptic world.
Jamie brought out the heavy hitters for his music videos.
4. Shia LaBeouf, “Elastic Heart” by Sia (2013)
The actor pulled off an emotional performance in Sia’s monster hit video.
3. T-Pain, Three 6 Mafia, DeRay Davis & Big Gipp, “International Player’s Anthem” by UGK feat. Outkast (2007)
The memorable video was the last one Pimp C shot before his death in 2007.
2. Drake, “Epiphany” by Chrisette Michele (2009)
Odd, but fitting.
1. Serena Williams, Amandla Stenberg, Zendaya, Winnie Harlow, Queen of Creole Leah Chase, Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton; Eric Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr; and Michael Brown’s mother, Lezley McSpadden, Ballerina Michaela DePrince, Quvenzhané Wallis, Blue Ivy, Jay Z, Chloe and Halle Bailey, twin sisters Lisa-Kaindé Diaz and Naomi Diaz of Ibeyi, Mama Tina, Richard Lawson, Jay Z’s grandmother Hattie White and Ava Clark, “Lemonade: The Visual Album” by Beyonce (2016)
The amount of black girl magic seen throughout the singer’s modern masterpiece truly gives us life.