20 Best R&B Videos of 2015
Hip-hop has been carrying the torch as the most popular genre in the past few years but now R&B singers are stepping it up with visuals to boot.
Adele made a major comeback this year with her video for “Hello.” The British songbird put us in our feels with her visual, which also stars singer-actor Mack Wilds, playing her ex-boyfriend. R&B newcomers also made an impact as well. Kentucky native Bryson Tiller deliver his unique brand of trap-soul with his video, “Don’t.” And fellow singer Tinashe shows off some sensual dance moves in her heavily choreographed clip for “All Hands on Deck.”
Tisha Campbell-Martin also made a surprise comeback with a video that matched beautiful visuals with a touching message for “Steel Here.” Ciara had fans following her every move in “I Bet” where she showed off her toned legs in a white leotard.
Between the various fashion numbers, poignant storylines and dance routines, this was a great year for R&B videos. So without further ado, Here are the 20 Best R&B Videos of 2015.
While rocking a gold grill, Tory Lanez matched his haunting drawn out voice with visuals of a creepy warehouse. Sheets with seemingly people under it are pulled off to reveal nothingness. Chills. “I can’t wait to blow on you,” raps Lanez with his hand set as a trigger towards the camera. The video especially works as it takes another approach to a trap video which is usually filled with scantily-clad women, expensive cars and an entourage. Instead, this video gets artsy and creative. And we’re here for it.
“All Hands on Deck”
Tinashe shows off some sensual dance moves in the visual for “All Hands on Deck.” The coolest scene in the clip comes when the singer is joined by six other dancers in hollow containers at a shipyard as they carry out some choreographed moves. Another dancer does some dusty footwork as well. Tinashe continues to grind against the container’s wall until nightfall where she shows off her fashionista side in a flashy aluminum jacket and high white boots.
“Call it Off”
Shamir gets wonky in the visuals for “Call it Off” with claymation geckos in the middle of the desert and a talking puppet. The crooner wakes up only to be at clothing store where he works. While customers shop, Shamir rather gets his sing on. He slowly starts to turn into the puppet from the beginning — septum ring included — making for a pretty cool video. He even turns the customers into puppet versions of themselves before they all head off into the wilderness together.
The visual for Kelela’s “A Message” starts off with the singer being topless singer and showing off her glossy black skin. She looks directly at the camera to sing as the frame stays above her chest. “I can see right through you,” she sings and by the way her stark eyes look, it would be easy to believe it to be true. The video continues to play with colors and light, breaking from black-and-white to a burst of deep red and blue hues and then onto an epic animation. But the standout part is when Kelala cuts her dreads off halfway through the video.
As Raury continues to make a name for himself in the music industry, the singer takes us to a place many early musicians end up — a small music gig in front of a lackluster audience. That is until the music starts. The soulful sounds matches the theme of wonder in the visual as the music transports the audience to a flowery field. The video continues to a friendly dinner, a fun party and a baptism scene as Raury sings about promises from the devil. “You better run,” sings a choir in a chant-like fashion as Raury has to face himself — literally. He also faces his friends — or newfound fans — as he spits some dope rhymes.
Miguel matches his druggy voice in “Waves” with slow motion visuals. Set in the club scene, the crooner takes the stage to an excited crowd. The video continues with trippy scenes as Miguel waves his arms outwards in front of a mirror as flickering colors and red and green surround him. The video switches up halfway through as Miguel jumps into a pool. But he’s not alone as two women swim around him in flowy colorful gowns like mermaids — or sirens. Miguel continues to go with the flow causing this video to definitely be a dope one, especially with a cameo from J. Cole.
LOLAWOLF takes viewers back to the VHS days with her visuals for “Bitch.” Filled with fuzzy visuals and snowy screens, the video is almost painful to watch, especially with the harsh bright light that flashes over and over. With the majority of videos going for higher and sharper qualities, the visuals for “Bitch” is almost a breath of fresh air. It’s definitely a creative video with it’s camcorder effects, which creates a personal and nostalgic feeling as well.
It’s no secret that Chris Brown is influenced by various corners of Asian culture. For his “Autumn Leaves” video, the 26-year-old singer dons a douli, while taking on the persona of a wandering swordsman. Beautiful natural landscapes matched with shots of a Chinese temple engulf the visuals for the this video. But it seems the crooner only has his eyes on a beautiful woman in red who he follows around. The two finally catch up around some cliffs — leaving this viewer wanting to see more.
Purple hues fill the screen for Bryson Tiller’s breakout hit, “Don’t.” But as the song starts, viewers are instantly transported to views of the city from a hotel room. Tiller himself is singing and reflecting next to neon signs of a store in the town. The video keeps it simple, but matched with the organically emotional lyrics of the song.
Jhene Aiko seems down-to-earth in real life but in the video for “Eternal Sunshine” she is leaving the ground and traveling to higher planes. As she moves towards the camera, it pans out showing more of the scene she’s leaving. It’s a car crash and as she continues to get lifted glimpses of her life are flashed for the audience. The video gets tragic though as viewers realize how the accident actually happened. Beforehand, Aiko kisses a little girl, played by her real life daughter, on her forehead before she buckles her into the backseat of the car.
Mark Ronson’s video fro “Uptown Funk” is, arguably, one of the most fun-filled clips of 2015. Co-starring Bruno Mars, who is known for being an old soul, the visual features the Mars and the gang in ’50s-styled suits (pink blazer FTW!). But the shot where the camera pans in for Mars’ to say “I’m too hot,” is really the selling point as he comes off as the ultimate cool guy. The video definitely gives the iconic “Grease Lightning” performance in Grease a run for its money, as Mars sings, “don’t believe me, just watch.”
Janelle Monae flips the script in her video for “Yoga” and teaches us how to meditate as well. As the clip starts, the yogi is floating in mid-air with her legs crossed. She’s clearly feeling herself too as she grooves to the song in the next scene while looking at herself in the mirror. She makes the lyric, “I ain’t got no worries, I’m my own private dancer” come true. You go Janelle Monae!
The visuals for Kehlani’s “The Way” featuring Chance the Rapper is the cutest video of 2015. In the black-and-white clip, the California native shows off a few dance moves as she gets up-close and personal with the Chicago rapper. But the cute part comes when Chance tries to rap his lines but instead Kehlani talks it out for him. The pair get into some raunchy dance moves afterwards. And despite the lack of color, it’s keeps the viewers eyes glued to the dynamic duo.
“Tell Your Friends”
The Weeknd takes viewers to the middle of the desert in his visual for “Tell Your Friends.” And as Abel Tesfaye walks out into the wilderness with a shovel in his hand, it’s clear something is about to go down. Shockingly, we soon realize that the Weeknd is burying himself. The video is especially cool as it’s shot in letterbox with the black to make up for the extra space on YouTube.
“Glass & Patron”
FKA Twigs has some of the most creative videos and this time she crafted an entire storyline for “Glass & Patron.” The 27-year-old eclectic singer shows off a pregnant belly in the visual. But it isn’t long until she’s pulling sheets of color out of her va jay jay. The sheets find their way into a forest where it dances in the wind. And FKA Twigs in back in her signature look — baby hair gelled down, naturally. She shows off a few tutting and vogueing moves as well.
The sepia overtone in Adele’s comeback single, “Hello,” had us all in our feels. Before Adele opened her mouth to belt out her first note in three years (in public), she took a deep breath and looked towards the camera. And right then, fans knew they’d be in for a ride. And with Mack Wilds as her love interest, it’s definitely not one to miss. The video takes on a nostalgic theme as Adele sings about a long lost love.
Any Martin fan can remember Tisha Campbell-Martin belting out some notes on the popular ’90s sitcom, but the singer brought us some gorgeous visuals to match her voice in “Steel Here.” In the clip, Campbell-Martin paints herself with her rapist’s apology letter — a stark and powerful visual. But she comes out victorious later as she’s filled with light and positivity with butterflies surrounding her.
Ciara’s “I Bet” was the ultimate revenge towards her ex-boyfriend, Future. The singer shows off her body in flowy dresses and a white leotard. She also perfects some dance moves in the simple visual. She bares herself in front of the camera and performs a few sensual dance moves as well.
“Bitch Better Have My Money”
When Rihanna premiered “Bitch Better Have My Money” at the iHeartRadio Music Awards in a large green fur coat, it blew people’s minds. But the video took it to epic proportions. RiRi kidnaps a rich woman with her crew, drugs her and even hangs her upside down. All because somebody didn’t pay her what she’s owed. But RiRi gets it in the end, all while looking unbothered. Overall, it’s a badass video.
Usher delivered a very powerful visual for “Chains.” The three-minute clip shows viewers a continuous slideshow of black people who were killed by the police or vigilantes. The black-and-white video features images of various teenagers, young adults, grown men and women, all staring at the camera as their names are being displayed. A description is shown below with one common thread — they died and their killer wasn’t convicted. It’s an effective video with a powerful social message.