The Good: “The Pursuit Of Happiness” by Kid Cudi featuring MGMT & Ratatat

Cleveland’s 2009 star takes a page from his label head, Kanye West. This video is truly artful in its simplicity. Although Jay-Z’s blowing up champagne bottles, everybody in Cudi Camp is poppin’ ’em. This video is like Entourage with a handful of downers. Also, it’s nice to see that Universal’s new class of money-makers have a unified front, as Drizzy Drake appears. A great visual to a great song on a great album that I absolutely thought I’d dismiss. Let’s hope Scotty doesn’t lose some of his unique steez for this collab-heavy sophomore record in the works. Lastly, the shots of Drake pouring bubbly on the floor is priceless. G.O.O.D. Music loves videos that end with bathroom sequences in 2009.

The Bad:
“Solar Midnite” by Lupe Fiasco

On one hand, you have to respect Lupe’s business hustle. You can’t turn your TV on without either seeing the pimply-faced kids from these Twilight movies with each other or the tweens and pedophiles that are fans of this garbage. So Lupe’s decision to capitalize off of all the hype before his album drops is a smart move. But as far as Hip Hop is concerned, Lupe catches an L. First off, miss me with all that soft ass Team Edward vs. Team Jacob shit. Second, the BlakRoc album and Run-DMC’s “Walk This Way” aside, these Rap/Rock hybrids almost always suck. Wasalu ain’t playing himself out as bad as Lil Wayne is with this shitty sounding Afterbirth project, but I need more “Us Placers” and less of this teenie-bopper fare.

The Ugly:
“Ike Turner Pimpin'” by Juicy J featuring Slim Thug, Project Pat & New Genesis

This song is so wrong, that I really can’t defend liking it. There’s at least six references to going “Chris Brown” on chicks here, including Slim Thug’s claim that “I’m a motherfuckin’ Mac and I ain’t talkin’ ’bout computers / If a bitch come up short I’ma beat her up or shoot her.” I could go on some long rant about how Hip Hop is inherently misogynistic…blah, blah, blah. Look, this is a dope beat—courtesy of the live guitars played in the studio. One of Rap’s most successful emcees used to be a correctional officer, and 2009’s best-selling Hip Hop album was full of drug use themes even though its author completed rehab and quit using long before rhyming one bar. So if you haven’t picked up on the fact that 99.9% of rappers don’t actually do the shit they rhyme about, allow me to issue you a late pass. Besides, I saw a dude with a perm and a mouth full of gold go upside a chick’s head while I was in Memphis waiting to interview Project Pat. So please believe the fact that pimpin’ is still alive below the Mason-Dixon line.

The Meaningful: “Give It To Me” by Rhymefest

Shame on J Records. Actually, we all know that sales don’t equate skills. But damn, ‘Fest is such an interesting artist to watch. El Che is sizing up to be an indie monster, as Chicago’s own delivers his powerful verses about the misnomers in the game, over a really loaded Scram Jones track. The video makes it though, as ‘Fest stands in front of a projector of some of America’s shameful cartoons of yesterday. Racism, Nazi propaganda, Flintstones smoking and so on, it’s just a nice stylistic touch. The editing synching Rhymefest with the Dick Tracy Tommy gun shots is the highlight. I’ll put my money on the table now for whatever this man has to release next year. And as seen in Wale’s sales numbers, let it be said that Allido Records has the talent, but needs the push in the marketplace.

The Dedicated: “Dance With The Devil” by Immortal Technique (fanmade video)

I don’t really know what else to say other than applaud Viola Baier. This German film student made Tech’s underground hit from Revolutionary Vol. 2 come to life. Chilling work. Tech, budget Viola a video for your next project. This made me appreciate the lyrics and storytelling more than ever before.