MTV VMAs 2011: The Newcomers

MTV VMAs 2011: The Newcomers

by Pete Tremblay
08.24.2011


If imitation is the highest form of flattery, than this year's crop of "Best New Artists" contenders really have a thing for last decade's elder statesmen. But where the trailblazing progenitors of these now familiar styles shocked and wowed the world with what they had to say back in the day, these brash and bold up and comers haven’t just broken down the walls and crushed the eggshells that their forefathers so elegantly tip toed around, they've put up their middle fingers to the status quo of all that is (was) stereotypical, expected, and typical.

If the recent riots in the UK could be personified in the form of a quote, the youth would scream out "We can do what we like," while watching these videos on their mobiles. These songs and the brilliant videos that bring them to life are the backdrop and Facebook wall posted exclamation of freedom and unity for a generation too hip and self assured to care about grandfather's stigmatic opinion on race, gender, fiscal expectation, and social decency.

The Class of 2011 changes the game with what they have to say, and give props to their idols with how they have to say it. If these brilliant new artists are any indication of what the kids of the 90's have in store for the world, than the world has no choice but to pay attention, listen, and learn - and rightfully so. They've watched as the world has burned, lied, and failed them, and each one of them has something to say about it - even if that thing is "We don’t give a fuck."

Here are the nominees:

Big Sean f/ Chris Brown - "My Last"


In this video, Big Sean combines everything that makes hip hop/ R&B the successful music medium that masses consume like it's a Cristal flowing bottle popper’s night in Vegas. This video includes all of the elements we’ve grown to know and love from the scene. Booze, bitches, bling and bros (a collaboration with Chris Brown brought plenty of established cred to the track) juxtaposed with Big Sean’s solemn reflection over-looking the city of angels from his new digs in the Hills. What really draws this video to be something greater are the black and white cuts of relatives and friends gushing over Sean’s future celebrity.

High Point: Cinematic Views of Los Angeles.
Low Point: Chris Brown’s dancing/the halo behind Big Sean’s head as he is singing about not balling on a budget.


Foster the People - “Pumped up Kicks”

The lone pop video in the group tries really hard to explain that Foster the People, are in fact real people. They play their own instruments, party, have a damn good time and love road trips. Combining live footage, studio recording footage, with the trials and tribulations of what being on the road is really like (parties, girls, tire swings, and beautiful people EVERYWHERE). The director managed to capture the essence of what makes this song so catchy – no where to be found are disgruntled looks, over played emotional “O” faces from lead guitarists, or wind blown floppy hair. Essentially the director killed it with his depiction of the happiness that the music so earnestly tried and succeeded to express.

High Point: Not one single unattractive person, at all. None. Zero.
Low Point: A bit too much like a Gap Commercial when you mute the track.


Kreayshawn - “Gucci Gucci”

This video is a game changer. Two young white girls rolling through the hood talking smack and wearing blinged out Minnie Mouse ears, while throwing back to gangsta rap vid’s from the 90’s. This video is a ’64 drop top impala, and an AK away from transcending space, time, gender, race, and bringing the entire world (of La La land) to global peace. Fashionista, hipster, gangsta, and white girls from the hood that are deep with attitude and light on seriousness, make this video so magnetic you won't even want to blink. In fact, it will absolutely bring a smile to the face of Easy-E looking down on the hood from above. Perfect.
 
High Point: Blinged out Minnie Mouse ears never looked so gangsta.
Low Point: I don’t live in their hood.


Tyler, The Creator - “Yonkers”

This video is brilliant. Tyler, filmed in noire inspired black and white, threatens your family, eats an insect, vomits up said insect, sits on a chair, explains exactly what he’d like to do to Bruno Mars, strips down and fades out with a slogan of Odd Future. Very few directors have done so much with so little. Is it true that Tyler, The Creator is terrifying? Yes. Are his eyes really black holes of insanity, horror and intensity? Maybe. Is this video a perfect match for both the artist and the song itself? Undeniably.

High Point: Tyler chowing down on his six legged friend.
Low Point: Tyler chowing down on his six legged friend. 


Wiz Khalifa - “Black and Yellow”

This video reminds me of an urban, kitsch version of Petey Pablo’s "Raise Up" video. To be honest I am not entirely sure why this video made the cut to begin with. Wiz has got the rhymes, and the beat is infectious and fun, but the video is less than inspiring. Although the black and yellow motif is clearly prevalent and endearing, I honestly think that maybe he was a sacrificial lamb of the group in a year that wasn’t too high on new comers.

High Point: Wiz Khalifa’s got a bitchen’ Dodge Challenger.
Low Point: Random White dude at 1:32 “Take your shirt spin it round your head like a helicopter” moment at the end.
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