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10 Best Music Videos of 2017

Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar and more of the year in visuals

Our picks for the best music videos of 2017 include everything from a cutting animated satire to a guerilla shoot in Times Square to a short film that won Film Craft Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. What many have in common: they are either directed or co-directed by the musicians who made the songs, giving a clarity in their vision.

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Kendrick Lamar, “Humble.”

Directors: Dave Myers and The Little Homies
A rapper in red slacks hits golf balls off the roof of a hooptie parked on the concrete banks of the Los Angeles River. These days that setup would have been milked for an entire video by most artists, but in Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble.” it’s basically a throwaway shot. Lamar packs in iconic image after iconic image as he preaches modesty while bragging about the power of his left stroke. The Little Homies is the alias of Lamar and Top Dawg Entertainment president Dave Free: They’ve breathed life into video vibes before, but by teaming with veteran director Dave Meyers – a Missy Elliott favorite – they get their super freak on.

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Jay-Z, “The Story of O.J.”

Directors: Jay-Z and Mark Romanek
Jay-Z has often turned to director Mark Romanek for music videos that break from hip hop’s templates. In 2004, the pair went art house cinema for the neo-realistic “99 Problems,” then in 2013 they went to the literal art museum for the Marina Abramovic-assisted “Picasso Baby.” Working with the team at The Mill, the pair created a challenging video for “The Story of O.J.” that references vintage animation’s derogatory caricatures of African-Americans to comment on the United States’ institutionalized history of racism.

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