The list of nominees for the 2016 VMA’s were dropped on Tuesday and one of our favorite categories of speculation is the award for ‘Video of the Year’. This is the category where artists from every genre, each with their own loyal fanbases, are tossed together to compete. Typically, it’s a battle between the industry’s current biggest icons, and this year, there’s some added drama to the mix, with Kanye West‘s in-famous “Famous” video being one of the nominees. Adele, Drake, Justin Bieber, and Beyonce round out the bill. Who do you think should win the 2016 VMA for ‘Video of the Year’? Since the vote is, after all, determined by us, let’s talk about the contenders before casting your votes here!
In typical Queen Bey fashion, the release of “Formation”, its politically charged music video, and her Super Bowl Halftime performance which occurred the following day all amounted to quite a lot of press, attention, and admiration. Beyonce’s fans, many who are underrepresented in the face of music today, felt they had been given a voice when Beyonce chose to directly address police brutality, racism, her Louisiana creole roots, and her culturally oppressed ancestors. Mediated by lines such as “I might get your song played on the radio station, cause I slay”, “Formation” echoed the playful Queen we saw in the single “7/11”, but with a higher political and social awareness. Just a day after the release of “Formation”, Beyonce entered Levi’s Stadium with her fierce company of dancers, and gave a compelling performance that would precede her “Formation World Tour” concerts to come. The debut of “Formation” showed us both how to slay and stand for what matters. With or without that VMA, Beyonce changed the world this year.
Justin Bieber: “Sorry”
“Sorry”, the third single from Justin Bieber’s Purpose, was brought to life by a dance video featuring a company of incredible, sassy, and well dressed dancers, but surprisingly, never Bieber himself. We think it’s pretty cool that he didn’t feel the need to appear in his own music video, and instead let the Tropical house song be brought to life by a diverse cast of women. “Sorry” is one of five Skrillex produced tracks on Purpose, and also features one of his beats. The video, which features the New Zealand based ReQuest Dance Crew, is upbeat and colorful, but simple enough to let Bieber’s playfully unapologetic lyrics come through. Though “Sorry” isn’t our favorite Justin Bieber music video that debuted this year, we think it can definitely compete with the others up for ‘Video of the Year’.
Drake: “Hotline Bling”
If this contest was based on the sheer number of memes that it each video inspires after it dropped, then “Hotline Bling” would be the winner, no contest. From Twitter to skits on Saturday Night Live, Drake’s music video took over the media spotlight completely. “Hotline Bling”, and Drake in general, have heavily affected the cadence and style of r&b music. The music video features dominican model Damaris Lopez, and besides a few other women, is primarily focused on Drake himself and his suave, cha-cha inspired dance moves. It’s easy to swoon over Drake in this video, especially when his lyrics are honest and lovelorn to match. The internet’s reception, Drake’s lovable personality, and the sexy aesthetic of the video make “Hotline Bling” an obvious choice for ‘Video of the Year’.
“Hello”, the lead single from Adele’s long awaited third LP 25, spent several weeks on the charts, and ultimately became Adele’s fourth highest ranking single in the U.S. “Hello” alone has accrued seven VMA nominations for Adele, which is understandable when taking into consideration the splash it made with its initial release. After taking some time to raise her son out of the limelight, in addition to suffering from writer’s block, Adele returned with an incredible record and tour. The music video for “Hello” is a beautiful editing job, shot entirely on the grey/sepia scale, and cuts back and forth between a crumbling love story and Adele singing in a forest. Even if “Hello” doesn’t snag the award, Adele’s 25 is still one of the best albums to drop this year.
Kanye West: “Famous”
Kanye West’s video for “Famous” is by far the most controversial contender in the category and is likely the only video that was met with a completely polarizing, rather than positive, reception. “Famous” was met with a lot of backlash, likely from those who sided with Taylor Swift’s outrage towards her nod in the song. And West’s Vincent Desiderio inspired music video for “Famous” only added fuel to the fire. The video features Kanye West naked and sharing a bed with America’s famous, including Rihanna, George Bush, Caitlyn Jenner, Donald Trump, Taylor Swift, his wife, and others. Are we to believe that Kanye used his “Famous” video to add charge to his Taylor Swift drama, or should we have faith that West’s vision is actually complex and artistically realized? It’s up to you to decide!