The 2011 MTV Video Music Awards are stacked to the deck with worthy nominees, as newcomers and veterans alike are all looking to add the shiny accolade to their mantle. So which of the contenders in Best Hip-Hop Video category will walk away with a statue and bragging rights?
Chris Brown checks in with a nomination for “Look At Me Now,” featuring Busta Rhymes and fellow nominee Lil Wayne. Kanye West hits the list with the Rihanna-assisted “All Of The Lights.” Lil Wayne brings Cory Gunz along for the “6 Foot, 7 Foot” clip. Nicki Minaj adds to the pool with “Super Bass” making a splash. Lupe Fiasco and his hit “The Show Goes On” rounds out the list.
There's not a first-time nominee in the bunch. Kanye dwarfs his competitors with a total of 16 VMA nominations and two wins before this year; Chris Brown has had six nods and one win, and Lil Wayne has seen nods and one win before 2011. Lupe Fiasco and Nicki Minaj have been nominated in the past as well, although far less frequently than the others.
While the videos amongst the nominees vary in scope and mood, each of them boasts epic production value and are attached to hot selling singles.
Who can forget Lil Wayne’s Hype Williams-directed clip for “6 Foot, 7 Foot” which borrowed from the forward thinking sci-fi flick "Inception"? Weezy being flanked by part of his YMCMB crew marked the New Orleans native return to the scene in a big way. Supportive fan @opkicksnlaces tweeted, "cmon....its in the headline ppl. "GAME CHANGER" i nvr heard anyone say that about a jay video or song" – with the user referencing an earlier RapFix story. Another fan @5LettersYMCMB_ chimed in with, "...the video creative as f--" while @KushKingTyler added, "6 foot 7 foot video was amazing."
Wayne’s Young Money compatriot Nicki Minaj and her colorful, playful video for “Super Bass” delighted the masses when the Sanaa Hamri-directed clip debuted earlier this year. The sexy clip didn’t just focus on the curvy Pink Friday star, as Minaj provided plenty of eye candy for both genders to gaze upon. Charged fan @RomanSlayss predicted a win for Nicki by tweeting playfully, "And The VMA For Best Best Hip-Hop Video Goes To ......... Nicki Minaj For Super Bass *Camera Pans To Nicki While Super Bass Plays In The BG." User @amydorkface said, "I think Nicki Minaj looks cute in her Super Bass video . Lol" and @love4mtrench humrously added, "i was just watching nicki minaj's video for super bass and my dad asked if she was real."
Director Colin Tilley gave Chris Brown’s “Look at Me Now” clip a '90s rap video feel with guests Busta Rhymes and Lil Wayne in tow. As Breezy’s first rap-styled video, the handsome crooner made sure to display some of his legendary dance moves along with spitting confident bars alongside the featured rap vets. User @tonyminx apparently can't get enough of the clip by tweeting, "This video is great even after I've seen it a million times." Weezy got a shoutout from fan @SamJordanBrowne who tweeted, "lil Wayne looks generally cool in the look at me now video." @LucyWellss quipped, "the look at me now video fascinates me."
Hype Williams assisted Kanye West in delivering the vision for his epic track “All of the Lights” featuring Barbadian songbird Rihanna. Yeezy and Rhi-Rhi posture for the camera under strobe light effects, and Kid Cudi makes a brief cameo. Although the video faced some mild controversy for the potentially seizure-causing images that beckoned British organization Epilepsy Action to warn viewers of the video, an alternate version of the clip was released and warned of the potential dangers. @OnMa_CoolJay approved of Rihanna in the clip by tweeting, "Rihanna in this "all of the lights" video>>>" while @davecatanese made a bold choice by saying, "I'm for All of the Lights for #VMAs11 best hip hop video."
Lupe Fiasco’s cinematic clip for “The Show Goes On” directed by Japanese-born director Hiro Murai shows the Chicago rapper preparing to rock a live venue as the camera follows him from backstage and down the long hallways to the main stage, ending just when Lupe is set to rock before a packed house. @KatiiixMcBieber remarked on the clip saying, "Mike Posner said that he loves "The Show Goes On" video, but Lupe's dressing room is too far from the stage. LMAO" and @iiM_Dakotah stated, "Haha I just noticed that Lupe had on a glove with a skull on it in the Show Goes On video. I knew I loved him for a reason."
No matter who takes home the trophy, there is no doubt that this will be a hotly debated topic well after the announcement.
Who do you have think will take the Best Hip-Hop Video award?
The 28th annual MTV Video Music Awards will air live Sunday, August 28, from Los Angeles at 9 p.m. ET/PT, following the Selena Gomez-hosted pre-show at 8. See the list of nominees, revisit last year's highlights and vote for Best New Artist at VMA.MTV.com.