Up until this week, Hiro Murai was arguably the best director working in the medium of music video. This week, he became arguably the best director working in the medium of television. Murai directed every episode of Donald Glover’s great new series Atlanta, which immediately became the best thing on TV (or the best non-Lucha Underground thing, anyway) when it debuted on Tuesday. In his work on the show, Murai brings some of the same vivid surrealism that he brought to, say, Flying Lotus’ “Never Catch Me” or Earl Sweatshirt’s “Hive” (or, sure, any of the Childish Gambino videos he’s directed). It’s a real reaffirmation, if we needed one, that there is so much talent within the music-video world, so many directors trying so many things and capable of so much more, especially if they might happen to get a cable network behind them. Which is to say: Somebody please give Nabil a TV show. This week’s picks are below.
5. Sia – “The Greatest” (Dir. Sia & Daniel Askill)
That little kid is too talented. I need her to be less talented. It’s creepy.
4. Siimba Liives Long – “The Greatest” (Dir. Magnus Jonsson)
DJ Khaled is getting a lot of credit for riding a horse through the surf while smoking a cigar in the new “Nas Album Done” video, and that is admittedly very impressive. But it’s not as impressive as wrestling a fucking lion in your rap video, while lip-syncing no less. Siimba may or may not live long if he keeps doing shit like that, but he has my attention.
3. Red Fang – “Shadows” (Dir. Whitey McConnaughy)
There’s no stopping what can’t be stopped, no killing what can’t be killed. (I hope they do Predator 2 next.)
2. Isaiah Rashad – “4r Da Squaw” (Dir. Dave Free & Christian Sutton)
A simple conceit — Isaiah Rashad and his son spend a beautifully-shot day together at the beach — given weird power simply by showing all the people there with their financial worth hovering above them in numerical form. It’s a striking look at the way we value human beings, and it’s also weirdly inspiring. These people are all having equal amounts of fun, no matter how close to brokeness they might be. I would do well to remember that.
1. Slayer – “Pride In Prejudice” (NSFW) (Dir. BJ McDonnell)
Anytime Slayer throw copious amounts of brutal gore into a music video, there is a 1000% chance that video will appear at the top of this list. That’s just the way things are.