Top 10 Best Kanye West Music Videos

Script written by QV Hough

Visionary and progressive, Yeezy has delivered some of the best music videos of the century so far. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Kanye West Music Videos. For this list, we’re focusing specifically on Kanye West solo joints, which means his Watch the Throne collaborations with Jay-Z didn’t make the cut.

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Top 10 Kanye West Music Videos


Visionary and progressive, Yeezy has delivered some of the best music videosof the century so far. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Kanye West Music Videos. 

For this list, we’re focusing specifically on Kanye West solo joints, which means his Watch the Throne collaborations with Jay-Z didn’t make the cut.
 

#10: “Touch the Sky” (2006)

Some musicians keep it simple for 70s-inspired music videos, however KanyeWest dropped one million dollars for this Evil Knievel-inspired production. Directed by Chris Milk, “Touch the Sky” has plenty of alternative fashion, most notably the large mutton chops worn by Kanye. But, the collective vibe of it all highlights the concept of modern star power and having fun, as Pamela Anderson makes a cameo, Lupe Fiasco rocks his verse and a marching band hypes up the ambitious final stunt. It’s a laid-back production, and the Arizona setting allows for a little more versatility than normal.
 

#9: “Monster” (2010)

Given the song’s title and lyrical nature, it’s not surprising that Kanye took a dark approach for the music video. Even so, the “Monster” visuals still caused a stir amongst critics and the general public. With appearances by Jay-Z and Nicki Minaj, there’s plenty of bravado and flair, yet it’s Kanye’s nonchalant attitude with corpses and a detached head that provides for some genuine horror. There’s a bit of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” to be found, and Yeezy even reference’s the infamous painting, “The Hands That Resist Him.” And so, it all falls in line with the horror genre, as Kanye offers a nod to the past while creating one of the eeriest videos of the early 21st century.
 

#8: “Stronger” (2007)

Directed by Hype Williams, here’s a music video that inspired a major fashion trend of the time: Kanye in a pair of shutter shades. As a whole, the futuristic vibe of “Stronger” creates a hyper and urgent feel, taking heavy inspiration from Akira and even featuring the Daft Punk robots. For some, the collective energy may seem a bit much, yet the insert shots of Kanye’s innovative eyewear immediately struck a chord with pop culture, making the video both timely and certainly ambitious. Given the time of the release, this is just what Kanye needed to expand his personal brand.
 

#7: “Jesus Walks” (Version 2) (2004)

For the second of three music videos for the song, Kanye relies on the power of fire imagery while utilizing the bleakness of black and white. With his existential lyrics exploring religion and psychological turmoil, the metaphorical “Jesus Walks” video doubles down on the human element. Of course, the hallway flames surrounding Kanye convey the obvious, but fortunately Yeezy delivers some powerful supporting visuals for the narrative of light and dark. This version of “Jesus Walks” ultimately won “Best Male Video” at the MTV VMAs, positioning Kanye as an artist to be reckoned with, shortly before the YouTube era commenced.
 

#6: “Heartless” (2008) 

For this collaboration with Hype Williams, Kanye followed animated trends of the time for a colorful journey about loneliness. In 2008, the video and song itself marked a new phase for Yeezy, and the visual nod to the 1981 film “American Pop” demonstrates the evolving mind of the progressive artist. With such a distinct visual aesthetic, one can easily lose track of the actual lyrics, yet the trippy video captures the feeling of isolation through its color palette and wandering central subject. “Heartless” conveys a hypnotic vibe, and it separated Kanye even more from clichéd hip-hop videos.
 

#5: “Good Life” (2007)

For this fresh production, Kanye enlisted the directing team of Jonas & François, along with the animation artist So-Me. And while Yeezy often boasts about his genius, this video allows him to literally spell out the brilliance of his lyrics. Overall, it’s a relatively humble music video, emphasizing creativity and a positive outlook. And though it won’t go down as one of the most beloved hip-hop videos of the decade, the “Good Life” production features a happy Yeezy, relishing in the artistry and attitude that fuels the Graduation album as a whole. It’s a celebration, and one that would precede more ambitious works.
 

#4: “Diamonds from Sierra Leone” (2005)

Directed by Hype Williams, this black and white production enhances the mood of the lyrical narrative while conveying a GQ style. With Prague as the central backdrop, “Diamonds from Sierra Leone” highlights European wealth, complete with some evocative cuts to the origins of conflict diamonds. It’s a highly stylized music video, and one that doesn’t press too hard in order to shock viewers. With Kanye delivering a fast-paced flow, the drifting monochromatic visuals contrast the intensity to produce a dream-like effect, with the majority of the single frames standing on their own. It’s a visual portrait, and yet another Yeezy video that balances style with substance.
 

#3: “All Falls Down” (2004)

Shot in Ontario, California and directed by Chris Milk, this music video is seen through the eyes of the artist. It’s those brief, random moments that add a little extra spark to a subdued production such as this, along with a cameo by actress Stacey Dash. Most importantly, Yeezy strays heavily from clichés and serves up his personal point of view, and within a contained environment that most people can relate to. Back in 2004, the music video showed that Kanyedid things a little differently than most.
 

#2: “Flashing Lights” (2007)

For this psychosexual video, Kanye gets properly worked over by a vengeful woman. Featuring the model Rita G, “Flashing Lights” immediately stands out with its slow motion and cryptic storyline, as a bound and gagged Kanyeappears in a trunk. And with the violent conclusion, the “Flashing Lights” video addresses gender roles in modern pop culture without being too visually provocative. Of course, Kanye also takes a back seat, both literally and figuratively, letting the Spike Jonze-directed work speak for itself. So, with the inherent eroticism and femme fatale heroine, it’s more of a short film than a traditional music video.
 
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
 
“All of the Lights” (2010) 

 “Gold Digger” (2005)
 
“Good Morning” (2007)
 

#1: “Runaway” (2010)

Representing a creative evolution, Kanye West steps into the director’s chair for this music video, offering up a visual statement to support his apologetic lyrics. Inspired by the work of Stanley Kubrick and the short films of past music video icons, Yeezy examines the beauty of high society and the ugliness that can’t always be seen. The “Runaway” video has a distinct art house vibe, with Kanye positioning himself above the ballerina setting, allowing him to see the forest through the trees. And by directing a separate 30-minute version of “Runaway,” Kanye also established himself as a genuine music video auteur of his generation.
So, do you agree with our selections? What is your favorite Kanye West musicvideo? For more eclectic Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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