most expensive hip hop music videos of all time mc hammer busta rhymes janet jackson puff daddy

These are the 3 most expensive hip hop music videos in history

It’s all about the Benjamins, baby.

Hip hop culture is no stranger to flashiness, especially during the 1990s. During that decade, when fortunes could be made on album sales, it was no problem for record labels to dish out millions on album rollouts. This often included over-the-top music videos.

There are over two handfuls of hip hop music videos whose budgets were over $1-million. Here are the top three most expensive hip hop videos in history:

3. Busta Rhymes, “What’s It Gonna Be?” (feat. Janet Jackson)

One does not simply waste away a Janet Jackson collaboration. Busta Rhymes made the most of his first Top 3 radio hit by recruiting director extraordinaire Hype Williams for what can best be described as an “intergalactic sexcapade.”

The video’s $2-million price tag ($3.4-million in today’s numbers) can be mainly attributed to its heavy use of special effects. Despite its high budget, the “What’s It Gonna Be?” video is near unwatchable in 2021. To say that the CGI has aged terribly is generous.

The “What’s It Gonna Be?” music video by Busta Rhymes and Janet Jackson has aged poorly.

This is only Jackson’s third most expensive video. The singer topped herself with the releases of both “Doesn’t Really Matter” and “Scream,” with her brother Michael. The latter is the most expensive music video in history, at $7-million in 1995 (over $12-million in 2021).

2. MC Hammer, “2 Legit 2 Quit”

It is easy to forget just how strong a cultural figure MC Hammer was throughout the 1990s. The first single for the follow-up to the diamond-selling Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em had to be a rollout of epic proportions.

Clocking in at nearly 15 minutes, the music video for “2 Legit 2 Quit” cost $2,500,000 in 1991, which is about $5-million factoring in inflation in 2021. The short film featured an all-star cast including Wayne Gretzky, Isiah Thomas, Deion Sanders and Jose Canseco, all champions in their respective sports. Eazy-E, Mark Wahlberg, Danny Glover and Queen Latifah are just a few of the many non-sports stars who also make appearances.

MC Hammer pulled out the big guns for “2 Legit 2 Quit.”

1. Puff Daddy & the Family – “Victory” (feat. the Notorious B.I.G. & Busta Rhymes)

Coming in at an astounding $2,700,000 budget (over $4.5-million in today’s numbers), the opening track for Puff Daddy’s 1997 No Way Out release is the most expensive hip hop music video of all time.

Helmed by award-winning ad director Marcus Nispel, the video features cameos from A-List celebrities such as Danny DeVito and the late Dennis Hopper. The triumphant, high-budget production pays tribute to the dystopian sci-fi flick The Running Man.

“Victory” by Puff Daddy & the Family is the most expensive hip hop video ever

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