A Treasury Of Pastoral Hip-Hop Videos

Check out this video from former Tribe Called Quest affiliate Consequence and former Lil Kim affiliate Maino. It’s beautiful and bucolic. They’re in the woods. With deer and squirrels and birds. It’s very weird, right, with Maino rhyming about shooting people with a chrome .45 and hollering “Brooklyn!” in a club? But as jarring as it is, the juxtaposition of sound and vision, I like it. It’s like that awesome episode of “The Sopranos.”

A deer makes an appearance in the new video from Yelawolf and Gucci Mane, too. This one, unfortunately, is dead (maybe Yelawolf’s mom killed it?) and stuffed and seems in danger of being molested by a drunken frat boy. The song, “I Just Wanna Party,” plays as something of a follow-up to Gucci’s hit from last year, “Wasted.” I like the whole thing, but I think my favorite part is when Gucci says he’s “drunk as Paul McCartney.” I didn’t know Paul McCartney was even that drunk.

And while it’s not rap, Rihanna’s futuristic R&B; is also about as urban-sounding as music can be. But her new video, too, could be a promo clip for the National Audubon Society.The music is so synthy and metallic and shiny-a soundtrack for a night of taxi cabs and neon lights and day-glo drinks in disco clubs. But then there’s Rihanna, flowers in her hair, twirling around in the tall-grass like Laura Ingalls Wilder. It’s strange, right?

That tall grass actually looks like it could be the same hills-California, I’m guessing-where the Doors shot the cover of Waiting for the Sun and where Cee-Lo went hiking around in his recent “What Part of Forever” video. (Cee-Lo, of course, stands as an early groundbreaker in the ruralization of hip-hop-his band Goodie Mob, posing in the Georgia Pines for the the artwork that accompanied their 1994 album, Soul Food

. “Country as hell, can’t you tell,” he used announce from stage at concerts, “Even if the record don’t sell!”)

It all makes a surreal kind of sense at the moment. That’s where we’re at, with bearded woodsman like Bon Iver and Band of Horses’ Ben Bridwell having become the go-to collaborators for expansive-minded rap dudes. GZA can’t be okay with this! Actually, he probably is. He has a pretty good sense of humor. So don’t be surprised if the next Wu-Tang video looks something like this:

I’d be psyched!