Hip-Hop's Finest Short Films, On A Scale of One to 'Please Forgive Me'
It was only a matter of time until music videos became irrelevant; and that time, it seems, is now. We’ve been getting this feeling for awhile now, but with Drake’s release of his new short film, Please Forgive Me, this past weekend, the feeling was pretty much solidified. The short film is officially the multimedia of choice for hip-hop artists today, and we’re definitely not mad about it. So to celebrate hip-hop’s foray into this cinematic sphere, we rounded up four other cinematic works starring hip-hop’s upper echelon—and unsurprisingly, they don’t disappoint. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the verses and visceral visuals.
Drake’s Please Forgive Me
With the release of Drake’s new short film Please Forgive Me, we said adios to the softer side that he served up on his fourth studio album, Views, and hello to a new, harder side of Drake: the action star extraordinaire. Directed by long-time collaborator Anthony Mandler, the creative mastermind behind several of Drake’s music videos including the one for “Find Your Love,” the film takes place in Soweto, South Africa, and is rife with intense action. Set to the tune of “Views” and original new music by Drake’s right-hand man Noah “40” Shebib, Drizzy’s escapades feature fiery dance scenes, violent shootouts, and copious love-making with a woman who basically is a dead ringer for the Bad Gal herself. Peep the thriller and satisfy your Drizzy fix exclusively on Apple Music.
Prima Donna starring Vince Staples
In Vince Staples’ new film titled after his latest EP, Prima Donna, a normal day on the set of a music video turns into a hotel fiasco reminiscent of The Grand Budapest Hotel—only weirder. After agreeing to a ride from a sketchy and high-out-of-his-mind cab driver, Staples finds himself at the Prima Donna hotel where a bizarre staff mysteriously awaits him. What follows is hundreds of crazed fans, curious hallucinations, and more trippy cinematography. The film, which is directed by Nabil, features bits and pieces of the Prima Donna soundtrack—an EP that will undoubtedly convert you to a Vince Staples fan if you weren’t already. Watch and get ready to be spellbound:
Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film, starring Jay-Z
In Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film, directed by Mark Romanek, hip-hop mogul Jay Z shares his philosophy on art and music alongside famed performance artist Marina Abramović and other actors, actresses, and pop culture figures. Filmed at NYC’s Pace Gallery, the film consists of clips of Jay Z’s six-hour-long performance of “Picasso Baby” intermixed with thought-provoking commentary from Hova himself. Sing along and, maybe, if you’re feeling up to it, ponder Mr. Carter’s artistic wisdom.
Off the Grid starring J. Cole
In 2015, J. Cole collaborated with Bally on a collection of sweet hiking boots, which is front and center, and highly primed for ogling, in Off the Grid. Shot in Jamaica, the film, which was directed by Maxim Bohichik, is a striking work of cinematography that showcases a side of J. Cole that’s rarely seen. Namely, the side of him that would strum a guitar in the midst of a tropical storm while hiking the lush green terrain of Kingston. Unplug with the rapper, and revel in Jamaica’s Blue Mountains and hidden waterfalls, as well as your favorite tracks from Forest Hills Drive.
Out of Love starring TWENTY88 (Big Sean and Jhené Aiko)
It’s all ‘70s vibes and love triangles in hip-hop duo TWENTY88’s film Out of Love, directed by Lawrence Lamont. In the film, Big Sean and Jhené Aiko (the minds behind TWENTY88) play two prominent adult film stars whose romantic relationship is tested by fame, unfaithfulness, and well, robots… naturally. This simultaneously retro and cyber short is scored with TWENTY88’s debut album (also called Twenty88) and explores the same themes of melancholy and betrayal. Watch it and weep.
Images via YouTube and Vogue.
Stay tuned to Milk for more fierce hip-hop films.