MTV Video Music Award for Best Hip Hop Video

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Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


The MTV Video Music Award for Best Hip Hop Video is given to the best hip hop video of the year as determined by MTV.


The MTV Video Music Award for Best Hip Hop Video is a category of the MTV Video Music Awards. The award was first given out at the 1999 VMAs, and was awarded until 2006, when it was combined with the Best Rap Video category. In 2007, it was once again presented as a standalone award. Nominations are generally targeted at popular hip hop music videos with a good accompanying hip hop song, and heavily promote that video on MTV and MTV2. The award recipient is chosen by staff at MTV Networks Music Group based on “artistic quality, creativity, social relevance”, concerned more with artistic merit than commercial potential. The winners are then voted by fans on MTV’s official VMA website.


The MTV Video Music Award for Best Hip Hop Video was first awarded in 2002. Nelly’s “Hot in Herre”, was the first music video to win the award. The award was not given out in 2010, but was brought back in 2011 with Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass” being the first winner of the award in the new era.

Early years (1984–1989)

The MTV Video Music Award for Best Hip Hop Video was first given out at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards. The award, according to MTV, was originally intended to celebrate “the explosion in the hip-hop video genre”, featuring hip-hop artists and music videos. Prior to 1999, hip-hop music videos had been honored with the Best Rap Video category at the VMAs; however, after 1998, the award was merged with Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. In 2003, the category was briefly split into two separate awards: Best Male Hip-Hop Video and Best Female Hip-Hop Video. For the 2005 awards show, the category returned to its original name and format.

In 2008, though nominees were announced in advance like most categories, winners of this award were not revealed until the live event where they were presented with their Moonmen by an artist who had previously won in this category. In 2010 and 2011 respectively, rappers Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne became the first female and male solo artists respectively to win this award more than once. Drake is also the most nominated artist in this category without a win, having been nominated seven times (as of 2018).


Inaugurated as a separate category at the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards, the award for Best Hip-Hop Video was first presented to DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince for “Parents Just Don’t Understand”. Although the award entity has gone through several name changes since its debut, it has retained its focus on celebrating videos with significant hip-hop content. Queen Latifah, Naughty by Nature, A Tribe Called Quest, Busta Rhymes and Missy Elliott have all received multiple awards. In 2012, Wiz Khalifa became the most recent recipient of the award – whose music videos have also been honored in other categories at the VMAs. The Beastie Boys were also three-time nominees for consecutive years in 1995 and 1996 but won only once in 1997 with “Sabotage”.


After the massive success of “Crazy in Love” and “Baby Boy” in 2003, hip hop videos began to receive major mainstream attention. In 2004, Missy Elliott released her seventh studio album Under Construction. The first single, “I’m Really Hot”, became one of the biggest hits of the year, while the second single “Work It” won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Hip-Hop Video. In 2005, Mariah Carey’s The Emancipation of Mimi was one of the best-selling albums of the year and its lead single “We Belong Together” won three Grammy Awards, including Song of the Year and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. Carey became the first female artist to have two videos win the award.

In 2006, Ludacris won his second MTV Video Music Award for Best Hip-Hop Video for his song “Money Maker”. Featuring guest appearances from T-Pain and Chris Brown, the song peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Also in 2006, Justin Timberlake’s video for “SexyBack”, directed by Paul Hunter, won the award. Timberlake himself would go on to win three more MTV Video Music Awards for his work with Timbaland on FutureSex/LoveSounds in 2007.

Kanye West has won six MTV Video Music Awards for Best Hip-Hop Video, the most of any artist. He first won the award in 2005 for his song “Jesus Walks”. West has also been nominated a total of twelve times, making him tied with Missy Elliott as both artists have received the second most nominations in this category. In 2010, West’s video for “Power” became one of only four hip hop videos to win both Video of the Year and Best Hip-Hop Video at the VMAs.


In 2010, the award returned to its original name, the MTV Video Music Award for Best Hip Hop Video. Eminem’s “Not Afraid” was the winner. The following year, Nicki Minaj won the award with her music video for “Super Bass.” Minaj made history that year as she became the first female rapper to win the award. In 2012, Drake became the first Canadian to win the award with his music video for “Take Care.” The following year, Kendrick Lamar won it for “Swimming Pools (Drank).” In 2014, the award was presented to Beyoncé for her music video “Partition.” In 2015, Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth won it for their collaboration on “See You Again.” In 2016, Chance The Rapper won it for his music video “No Problem.” In 2017, Kendrick Lamar won it again for his music video “Humble.” Kendrick Lamar made history in 2018 as he became the first artist to win the award three times when he won it for his music video “All The Stars.”


To be eligible, a video must have been first released or aired on television within the eligibility period — typically within the past year. If an video is considered eligible, it is then judged on four criteria: creativity, composition, production and overall quality. The videos that receive the highest ratings from the judges are nominated for the award.

List of winners

The MTV Video Music Award for Best Hip Hop Video was first given out at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards. The award, according to MTV, was originally intended for hip-hop-inspired videos with a lighter theme. In 2002, after seeing the majority of nominees and winners were from the same urban music genres as its sister channel BET, MTV announced all future nominees for the award would exclusively come from those genres. This move has drawn criticism from other urban music channels as well as from some rappers, who believe they are being snubbed.

As of 2017, Eminem is the most awarded artist in this category, winning a total of eight times. Beyoncé, Missy Elliott and Kanye West are also multiple winners. In 2018, Cardi B became the first woman to win the award as a solo artist.

1999: Lauryn Hill – “Doo Wop (That Thing)”
2000: Eve – “What Y’all Want”
2001: Nelly – “Country Grammar (Hot Shit)”
2002: Missy Elliott – “‘Work It”
2003: 50 Cent – “In da Club”
2004: Outkast – “Hey Ya!”
2005: Ludacris featuring Shawnna – “Stand Up”
2006: Chamillionaire featuring Krayzie Bone – “Ridin'”
2007: Justin Timberlake featuring T.I. – “My Love”
2008: Lil Wayne featuring Static Major – “Lollipop”
2009: Jay Z featuring Mr Hudson – “Young Forever”
2010: Eminem featuring Rihanna – “Love the Way You Lie”
2011: Katy Perry featuring Kanye West – “E.T.”
2012: Drake featuring Lil Wayne – “HYFR (Hell Ya Fucking Right)”

2013: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz– “Thrift Shop”
2014:”Iggy Azalea featurin Charli XCX– Fancy
2015 : Kendrick Lamar– Alright

See also

The MTV Video Music Award for Best Hip Hop Video was first given out at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards. The award, according to MTV, was originally intended to recognize hip-hop-inspired videos, rather than hip-hop music videos. This explains why the award was initially given to Beastie Boys for their video “Sabotage”, which is based on the television series The Untouchables. As of 2019, the only non-music video to ever win this award is “Weird Al” Yankovic’s “Amish Paradise”.

Nominees for this award are typically announced as part of MTV’s overall nominations announcement for the Video Music Awards, but have occasionally been revealed earlier. The award has undergone several name changes; it was originally titled Best Rap Video, before being renamed Best Hip-Hop Video in 2001 and then back to Best Rap Video in 2006. In 2008, it was briefly renamed Best Hip Hop Visual Effects before being reverted to its original name a year later. It was then renamed Best Hip Hop Video at the 2010 VMAs and has kept that title ever since.

In addition to the regular award category, there have also been a number of special awards given out over the years that are specific to hip hop videos. These have included awards for Best Direction in a Hip Hop Video, Best Editing in a Hip Hop Video, and MVP of the Year (an award thatrecognized an artist who had an exceptional year in music videos).


“MTV Video Music Award for Best Hip Hop Video”. MTV. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
“MTV Video Music Awards 2017: The Complete Winners List”. Billboard. Retrieved August 27, 2017.
Larson, Megan (August 28, 2017). “MTV VMAs: Kendrick Lamar Wins Big, Ed Sheeran Takes Home Top Prize”. Variety. Retrieved August 28, 2017.
“MTV VMA’s Rap Winners”. Complex. Archived from the original on September 2, 2015. Retrieved May 22, 2017.

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