GIANT's Most Controversial Music Videos Of All-Time

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    Controversy is defined as a state of lingering municipal heated debate over a matter of opinion. Rather its science and religion, philosophy and finances, politics and economics or a matter of sex and race, controversy is infinite. Recording artists understand this very well and recognize that music videos are their standing room-only epitaph to speak out against whatever current topics they that are plaguing them or speak for topics they are advocating. Here are some serious in-your-face music videos that are we consider the most controversial of all-time.

    Violence

    “Stan” By Eminem

    The storybook narrative to this hip-hop epic tells the chaotic saga of Stan (“Final Destination” star Devon Sawa), his young pregnant girlfriend (“Dido”), and his downward spiral due in part to his infatuation with Eminem. The infamous scene in which is referred to as the most visceral moment is when a gagged and bound Dido, left for dead in the trunk of Stan’s 90-plus speeding car, is told to “shut up!” by a high-on-depressants Stan. The car-crash relationship ends with the two flying off a bridge and into water.

    “Stress” By Justice

    The Parisian electro-house duo caused a commotion when they let loose this rabid dog of a video clip with a chorus of disapproval. The film, shot in a shaky-camera documentary style, follows a squad of urban youths in Justice’s famous “cross” jackets probing the city streets. There was uproar because some thought all of the depicted youths were of African descent. Which was false: the mob of trashing teens varied in ethnicities. But the worst part is that these heinous droogs commit several acts of arson, GBH, grand theft, joy-riding, sexual harassment and vandalism before beating up the cameraman and spitting on the lens.

    “Jeremy” by Pearl Jam

    Naturally, this video clip is probably the most controversial video of all-time, nix to the blasphemy seen in crucifixion Christ influenced videos like Madonna’s “Like a Prayer.” Here we see an adolescent boy who is overlooked by his parents and tormented by school bullies. At his breaking point, the boy walks into class during a lesson armed with a hand pistol and stands in the front of the class. Then, he nonchalantly puts the glock in his mouth and fires away. The music video climaxes with the school children shocked, covered in his carnage.

    “Born Free” by M.I.A.

    World pop bad-ass M.I.A. was out for blood, in more ways than one, in this 9-minute music video epic. This X-rated NSFW viral work of art is an annotation on the nonsensicality of genocide and the ignored back alley ethnic cleansing around the world. The Romain Gavras clip depicts an armed force running through an urban tenement, pulverizing a couple in the midst of love-making, ignoring a man while he utilizes hard recreational drugs, and violently detaining a red-headed young man, placing him on a bus with other gingers while other keffiya-wearing gingers toss rocks and glass bottles at the armored vehicle containing the gingers. They are driven to a dessert, forced out of the bus and then told to make a run for it. Then, when no one moves, a trooper shoots a tween in the skull and the gingers are forced to run across a minefield. How fun!

    “What it Feels Like for a Girl” by Madonna

    The Guy Ritchie-directed film shows a pissed Madonna on a crime spree. After leaving a motel room high on pills and drunk off alcohol, she pilfers a Camaro, drives recklessly, crashes into a bunch of punks, takes an elderly lady from a nursery home, embezzles money after zapping a man at an ATM, assaults people’s officers with a pellet gun, mulling over teens by car, vandalizes property, sets fire to a gas station, and then commits suicide by driving into a steel pole.

    Racism and Politics

    “Gutta Time” By Master P.

    Rappers have done very stupid things. Very stupid things like start crappy ragamuffin fashion lines, putting their posse on their payroll only to go bankrupt (sound familiar?) and play into minstrel stereotypes. But when the uncompromising lyrics to “Gutta” went multimedia in 2006, we saw a music video Birth of a Nation: “This video is an artistic statement without racist intent… it is not an endorsement of the KKK,” said the disclaimer. What happens next? Defeated by black basketball players aka the No Limit crew, the bitter Ku Klux Khan members with machine guns leave a note stating they’ve lynched the victors the following day. And the point? We’re still waiting…

    “Show Me” by John Legend

    While humanitarian John Legend is a relatively play-to-safe kind of soul-folk singer, this clip, used to launch the Show Me Campaign is one of 2000s most poignant and controversial videos. Directed by documentary filmmaker Lee Hirsh and shot in Zanzibar and Tanzania, the video explores the life of a deprived South African urban youth in thorny living conditions. Noticing that he can have a better life in a more developed country—with edification, proper health care, public transportation and cultivation—he mounts the wheel well of an airplane instantaneously before take off. With no food and zero heat, the result is tragic. It is an homage to young stowaways Yaguine Koita and Fode Tounkara, who died mid-flight from Guinea to Belgium in July 1999.

    Drugs

    “Purple Pills” By D12

    Critics can argue that the song’s promotional music video was tantamount to PG-13 in comparison to its litigious lyrics. Lyrically, the song makes references to golden seals, Mushroom Mountain, uppers and downers, coke, LSD and the title track substance, ecstasy. That’s more drugs than a Bolivian drug cartel! The clip is a telepathic vision quest for all the burnouts with its hallucinogenic excursion.

    Religion

    “Hate Me Now” By Nas featuring Puff Daddy

    Is there a spot in hell for one of hip-hop’s finest emcees? Predicting there would be imminent hullabaloo, the self-proclaimed street disciple issued a statement to precede the clip stating, “Nas believes in the Lord Jesus Christ and this video is in no way a depiction or portrayal of his life or death…” And pigs can fly. The original cut also had Puffy dangling on a cross too, but the devout catholic had it omitted. Somewhere along the line, Puff Daddy and two cohorts cracked a champagne bottle and other office supplies over Atlantic Records executive Steven Stoute, Nas’ manager.

    “Like a Prayer” by Madonna

    When 1989 commenced, Madonna unveiled gospel choir dance-pop jam “Like A Prayer” and kicked off her most controversial career zeitgeist. This wasn’t the first time Madge caused controversy; in 1986, her video for “Papa Don’t Preach” on her True Blue album, showed a “teen” Madonna pregnant.  This time, she took a different approach, featured burning crosses, suggestive dancing in a church, stigmata and Madge passionately kissing a black saint a la Jesus. Obviously, The Vatican slammed the clip for merging erotica and religion and Pepsi revoked Madonna’s endorsement deal.

    “Heart Shaped Box” by Nirvana

    Anton Corbijn directed this acid-induced thrill ride. Beginning with the grunge rock gods watching an elderly man being administered medication via IV drip, the video unloads into an abstract surrealist al fresco vista inspired by The Wizard of Oz. The video features some heavy stuff—an elderly man (dressed as Santa Claus) climbs onto a crow-invested cross, a little girl dressed in a Ku Klux Klan get-up reaches for human fetuses in a tree, and an obese woman reenacts the front sleeve of the album by wearing a suit with human organs painted on it with angel wings fastened to her back. Disturbing, but beautiful.

    Sleaze

    “Black or White” by Michael Jackson

    By all means this clip is not a very “X-rated” kind of video from the King of Pop. However, it’s at the climax when MJ get to the manhandles his private parts, zips his fly and then engages in an act of vandalism on a car with graffiti-ed slurs and a swastika on exterior. Some critics had it right—it looked like he had gotten off by defeating racism.

    “Justify My Love” by Madonna

    At the eve of her unleashed Sex, Madonna’s notorious porno-chic coffee table book, this 1990 hyper-raunchy video featured a ravenous pansexual Madge who divvied up a bunch of kind carnival sex fiends with the-partner, model Tony Ward. The clip, filmed in a cosmopolitan bordello that caters to eccentric lifestyles, shows pegging, androgyny, girl-on-girl action, gay sleaze, ménage à trios and some heavy BDSM.

    Britney Spears – “Baby One More Time”

    There’s still this wandering thought circling behind the universal praise of this video, and that is, why wasn’t this banned or put on during MTV’s late cycle? While it turned a teen pop tart into an overnight megastar, in one shot, Britney’s debut basically had an under-age Lolita shimmying provocatively in a Catholic schoolgirl uniform. If there was ever a way to shed the squeaky clean Mouseketeer rendering, Britney canned it here.

    Britney Spears – “Slave 4 U”

    All the holler and carrying on didn’t happen because a coming-of-age Britney simply wore the typical skimpy clothes. In this clip, a hedonistic Brit gets licked on the face by a glistening sex pig bystander and gets passed around like a collective bedroom toy.

    “Dirrty” by Christina Aguilera featuring Red Man

    Platinum blonde bombshell teen Aguilera had disappeared into the either for a short time before emerging from the ashes with obsidian curls and sun-kissed tangerine tan lines. No longer the rosey-cheeked lass, she returned as a makeup-splattered insatiable sex kitten. The David LaChapelle video depicts “a post-apocalyptic orgy” featuring X-Tina riding into a nightclub via motorcycle, then lowered from a cage into a boxing ring wearing nothing but a bikini and ass-less chaps. There are other avant-garde characters here too: foxy boxers, furries, female bodybuilders, contortionists, tattoo aficionados, cock fighters, fire-breathers, krumpers, lucha libre fighters, and mud wrestlers. But critics really chimed in, hinting at urolagnia or “water sports” when X-tina and back-up danced and splashed while getting sprayed with aqua in a lavatory.

    “Gett Off” by Prince

    His songs aren’t just ode to horny hedonists or wild one-night stand creatures of the night. This foray into the underbelly of Prince’s imagination riffs into a sexy dance number where two young women (amply named Diamond & Pearl) slide under one another’s legs, let Prince slither in between them and strips a girl down to her bra and panties. The ultimate male fantasy.

    “Juicebox” by The Strokes

    The dingy New York garage punk band featured three sex scenes in this clip. While the band rocks out in a neat radio office, six strangers and onlookers have a night out on the town. A lesbian couple make love on a balcony while being photographed by what could only be described as a pornographic freak-show director; after texting, a gay interracial couple shack up in a toilet stall while a voyeur watches; and fireworks explode in the back of a yellow taxi while a straight couple copulate. However, it a hilarious finale ensues when the straight boy falls out of the cab, getting sick after going down on the girl. Results? MTV chopped and screwed the final edit to air, and director Michael Palmieri reportedly removed his name from the clip.

    These hot tamales are even too spicy for us!

    1.

    “Pagan Poetry” by Björk

    By all defaults, Björk–the unparalleled queen of kooky–has had some very controversial work that should be on this list, however, this one will stick with us for a while. The 2001 Nick Knight-directed clip featured a scantily-clad star exhilarated and jumping for joy, distorted, rotoscoped stock footage of the Icelandic soprano doing the do with partner Matthew Barney, and then the climax—a graphic corset body piecing that will have you going Eek!

    2.

    “Relax” by Frankie Goes To Hollywood

    The dance-pop Liverpool band’s Welcome to the Pleasuredome debut, introduced the world to one of the naughtiest shag songs ever written, and it established itself as too racy for the like of the BBC. The video, featuring a ultra-sleazy, super passé gay club complete with a topless peroxide blonde, an obese nude Caligula figure and S&M boys, the clip ends with the bound singer showered in whipped cream aerosol when he sings “when you’re gonna come.”

    3.

    “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-A-Lot

    This ‘90s slapstick hip-hop summer anthem is a club starter if there ever was one. But back when its accompanying video first came out, it was banned by MTV. There was something oddly familiar about that mountaintop he was standing on!

    4.

    “Tip Drill” by Nelly

    Ladies get ready to grab your pepper spray! It’s evident that Nelly loves a big, full, round, impeccably smooth butt and this video is jam-packed with all of the baby-oil soaked, gelatin-wobbling buttocks you can feast your eyes on.  So as the focus of the video, we’re not surprised when women’s groups claimed the clip demeaned women—especially when Nelly takes a credit card and slides it down the crack of a super sexy lady.

    5.

    “Rock DJ” by Robbie Williams

    The British bad boy sex symbol left Take That and wanted to be taken seriously as an artist and then, he released this 2000 grotty go-go boy exhibitionist fantasy. Ending credits note that “No Robbies were harmed during the making of this video.” Hard to believe, seeing that this Vaughan Arnell-directed video features Robbie tearing his flesh and organs away, tossing them at the fawning fans until all that remains is a skeleton.

    6.

    “Closer” by Nine Inch Nails

    Rihanna went to this video for inspiration on her funky summer anthem “Disturbia.” Fitting, see as to how “dark” her music’s gotten. Taking place in a sci-fi decadent 19th Century mad scientist’s laboratory, the critically-acclaimed Mark Romanek-directed music video features NIN frontman Trent Reznordepicted shackled to a strappado in S&M fetish gear licking a phallic instrument, a simian bound to a cross, a nude woman wearing a crucifix mask, a diagram of a vulva, and a pig’s head spinning on a rotating device, to ensue controversy. The video invoked protests by animal cruelty groups, political commentators and sex columnists everywhere. Sadly, very little outcry came when they released the video for “Happiness is Slavery,” where some poor bloke drops trou, offers himself as a sacrifice to a machine as it saps his blood. We wonder why…

    7.

    “Me So Horny” by 2 Live Crew

    This corny in-your-face 1989 music video has controversy written all over it, due in part to explicit obscene lyrics. But it’s the dancing women fashion choices that had critics hankering to pull it off the air: Rotoscoped G-sting bikini bottoms, and sports brassieres.

    8.

    “Part of Me” by Royce Da 5’9”

    Shot in homage of The Twilight Zone, this love-sucks kiss-off shows a shallow, fornicating adulterer and ladykiller going back and forth between two women. The two women are done wrong after having two seperate steamy one-night stands and so they get their revenge. So, they play possum and come back to his place for a ménage à trios. Too bad he falls asleep some time later and wakes up in a bathtub, with his “piece” missing, left in a blooded plastic bag.

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