The MTV VMA has come and gone, leaving in its wake glitter, glamor and gossip. While we’re more than happy for the winners, we’d like to take this chance to show love to the under-appreciated and the non-winners we love.
1) Bryson Tiller, “Don’t” (Nominee for Best Male Video, Best Hip Hop Video & Best New Artist)
We’ve given the new crooner of the millennial tons of love since the release of his album Trapsoul, so it’s no surprise that we were rooting for him to win something. “Don’t” was his breakout success, quickly racking up plays on his SoundCloud since its release. In fact, it got so much hype that Tiller got a phonecall from Timbaland himself while he was working his shift at a pizza parlor. The track itself molded the artist’s image as the new-age R&B King who’s always swimming in feelings. With his wild star-studded ride to success, we anticipate listening to his VMA acceptance speech in the near future.
2) Beyoncé ft. Kendrick Lamar, “Freedom” (Nominee for Best Collaboration)
This track that’s off Beyoncé wildly successful Lemonade album samples an Alan Lomax field recording from his 1958 album titled Negro Prison Songs, which was fitting to the unapologetically pro-black theme of Beyoncé’s album. With a scorching verse from K.Dot, the live performance featured both of them and a posse of dancers absolutely killing it amidst the soundscape made up of organs, drums and hymns.
3) Chance the Rapper ft. Saba, “Angels” (Nominee for Best Hip Hop Video)
While this track was not a huge contender at the VMA, it remains a go-to for those craving for good, fun music. With animations mixed with rap and scenes of a moving train and dancing in the subway, what’s there not to love? This is the perfect feel-good song that’s perfect for the dreaded commute to work.
4) Kanye West, “Famous” (Nominee for Video of the Year & Best Male Video)
This video needs no introduction. Its release gave rise to instant controversy, which was probably why the winner for Video of the Year went to Beyonce’s “Formation” (which was well-deserved). This aside, other than the hard-hitting beat by Swizz Beatz and Kanye’s flow, the true savior of the track was the gorgeous vocals supplied by Rihanna, who was the talk of the night after delivering a four-piece performance.
5) Ariana Grande, “Into You” (Nominee for Best Female Video, Best Pop Video, Best Cinematography & Best Editing)
The sugarpop songstress was nominated for quite a number of VMA categories, but failed to take home any award. In this video (by Paul Laufer) she’s all grown up while maintaining her musical roots. The delivery was perfectly pop with a sensuous undertone. What Ariana lacks in size, she makes up for in boldness of expression, which makes her a winner in our eyes.
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Tira Lee is Straatosphere’s resident aux cord heaux. She’s in-charge of pulling together nifty mixes each week to spread dope tracks and good vibes to the public. In her free time, she partakes in something distressingly referred to as academia and often experiences an existential crisis of sorts. She’s also paid to put pretty clothes on pretty people sometimes.
Read More: 5 Highlights from the 2016 MTV VMAs