MTV has just released the nominations for its 2016 Video Music Awards. And thanks to a little incident that happened at the same show seven years ago, that you may or may not have heard of, that may have recently managed to rear its ugly head on our timelines again, the Video of the Year award, despite a sea of others, has become the only one that matters.
Here, REVOLT remembers the moment this year's nominated visuals dropped, the impact they had (or didn't) and predicts a likely winner of the highly-coveted and, per Kanye West circa 2009, best #ofalltime award.
Drake | "Hotline Bling" | October 19, 2015
Drake will absolutely lose to one of the two female nominees in this category, but damn he deserves a fighting chance. In "Hotline Bling," Drizzy took his power back. He busted out his best dad moves, the ones we always imagined he actually does in the club, and danced like no one was watching. Oh you think I'm corny? he seems to say, with a wink, as he two-steps in a turtleneck. A turtleneck! It is, at once, a self-aware parody and a message that he is so f*king Drake right now that you can keep laughing; Champagne Papi will be over here in his puffy coat smashing records and counting money. After its premiere, Drake owned the internet with endless memes and GIFs. Donald Trump even did an impression on Saturday Night Live, which truly meant the 6 god had reached zeitgeist. He created a moment that could only be toppled by, well...lemonade sure is a delicious drink.—Driadonna Roland
Adele | "Hello" | October 22, 2015
When Adele dropped "Hello," I remember thinking, well, damn, I haven't broken a dude's heart in like a decade but, okay, okay, I'll go apologize. This was just one of the millions of feels "Hello" had us—and, yes, I mean all of us—in. The video didn't help. To kick off all the runny-nose nostalgia, it was shot through what appears to be Instagram's original Earlybird filter, otherwise known as, uh, sad sepia. It then follows Adele as she uses some age-old technology—landlines! pre-"smart" flip phones!—that we ultimately forgave her for to reach a former love who turns out be, surprise, a nearly unrecognizable Tristan Wilds because, what the hell, how many years has it been since The Wire? Did he grow into his face or something? Because damn. Plus, Adele's wind machine usage can rival only that of Beyoncé and it somehow still didn't distract her from hitting that note at the 5:33 mark. The video could win because parents and toddlers alike loved this joint, but they're not the ones voting, so.—Danielle Cheesman
Justin Bieber | "Sorry" | October 22, 2015
Maybe it was the growing pains of a former child star, but Biebs had been acting like a d*ck all over the globe and was starting to turn people off. "Sorry" was his public mea culpa. The pro and the con of the video, then, is erasure. "Sorry" was an infectious banger of a song, and Bieber's decision to not appear in the video allowed the sunny track to shine. It worked: It was a fun chaser to the bad taste he'd left in people's mouths, to the flavor of 2 billion views. The women in the video radiate joy with their nonstop dancing. However, the reason it does not deserve to win this award or any other is: erasure. At least a dozen lily-white, no ass-having girls (and maybe an Asian or two) mimic West Indian moves to perfection, ticing and wining all over the place...but where are the West Indians? The obvious culture jacking was almost enough to negate the whole damn apology.—D.R.
Beyoncé | "Formation" | February 6, 2016
Oh, of course. Of course I'd re-watch this video solely for the purpose of writing this paragraph and then discover a bunch of little beautiful, artful things I hadn't noticed the first 10 times. Just hand her the award. For that reason alone. That "Formation" is just the gift that keeps on giving. Whenever Bey does anything, it's an event, right? And this video drop was no different. There are literally YouTube videos with hundreds of thousands of views that simply feature people reacting to this video. Is this bish sitting on a police car? A sinking one? Is this bish wearing braids down to her beautiful ass? And are they just NBD skimming the ground as her friend does donuts? In a vintage hatchback? More importantly, IS THAT BLUE? It was all too much: the post-abolition to present-day New Orleans nods; the styles that ranged from the "Sunday's Best" Victorian era to a modern twist on the matchy-matchy looks of militancy; the pro-Black, self-loving imagery and lyrics. We all just sat there...barely catching our breath from one slay...before she suffocated us with another.—D.C.
Kanye West | "Famous" | June 24, 2016
What is there to say about Kanye West's "Famous" music video besides, huh? Matter of fact, there's also the now-famous scrapped tweet, "Can somebody sue me already #I'llwait." While the latter has yet to officially happen, the "huh?" still certainly fits the bill. Yes, there are people who are going to go as far as calling it "art." Yes, there are plenty who will pretend like they knew he was paying homage to Vincent Desiderio's painting "Sleep." Yes, there is a "message" going on there (whatever it is). But all in all, this is just another signature moment of Kanye being Kanye. Except this time, there isn't much to take away. "Heartless" had wicked animation that tied to a relatable concept. "Only One" showed us 'Ye at his most vulnerable and rendered a heartwarming response. "Touch the Sky," "Stronger"—the list of game-changing visuals goes on. This here falls flat. Fun fact: "Famous," as of this writing, is the least-watched music video from Kanye on YouTube with 4.36 million views. Granted it has been out for close to a month, not to mention was exclusively premiered on Tidal, but for all the tabloid attention it garnered, the visual should have crossed over 50 million views by now. Heck, even the rare "Good Morning" video has more views (23.2 million). We're not saying it's the worst music video from 'Ye; it may just be the most overrated. Then again, it got the people going in ways no other video has within the past year. Ahh, in that case, go ahead and give him the award. #KanyeShrug.—Ralph Bristout
The Bey's have it.