It’s downright depressing just how little modern-day film franchises utilize the promotional benefits of the crossover music video these days. Sure, there was one for Suicide Squad‘s “Hethens,” and it actually features some pretty great production value, but it’s Twenty One Pilots, so we can’t count it (I kid, I kid). And they actually did two, but we definitely can’t count the second for “Purple Lamborghini” because Jared Leto stars in it (really not kidding here). Oh my god, they did soooo many for that movie, but I don’t have time to insult them all. Superhero movies utilized this for quite some time — the Spiderman/Dashboard or Seal/Batman connections looming largest — but the Marvel machine has pretty much ditched the premise.
But another superhero series has kept the tradition going. Fast and Furious, which is now a film franchise about indestructible individuals saving the world on a yearly basis, put out at least 3 videos for their last two in the series. This time around, Pitbull, the combo of G-Eazy and Kehlani, and the combo of Lil Uzi Vert, Quavo and Travis Scott, have all participated, while Furious 7 had a slew of them, as well. And they’ve been doing this for 8 movies.
So, I felt it my duty to mankind to give you a top 5 ranking for the Fast & Furious series of music videos, ranging from its 2001 film debut to the newest dropping tomorrow.
1. Ludacris — Act A Fool
2 Fast 2 Furious
I chose to forgive Luda’s ditching of the now-legendary 2 Fast 2 Furious afro in awarding it the top spot, given the video most accurately matches the cartoonish energy propelling most of the series. His line “TV in the middle of my steering wheel,” coupled with a shot of Paul Walker and Tyrese in a scene from 2 Fast 2 Furious brings up an important question though. When they show up later in the video, are they the actual actors, given the movie exists in this universe? Because Ludacris, clearly driving 25-30 mph tops, eventually is superimposed into a chase from the movie, the camera doing a quick zoom anytime they want to get a few rhymes in. Despite the narrative missteps (I take this really serious), you gotta give it up to the following:
— Paul Walker executing the sexiest oil change of all time (see below).
— The song saying the title of the movie multiple times, always a winning strategy.
— The Eva Mendes cut-to at the conclusion, so clearly in a different video mix it’s jarring.
— The yellow “no pass” lines at the top and bottom.
— The ice cream truck, someone is somehow racing in, plowing through a friendly fruit stand (named “Roy’s Produce”), basically ruining someone’s life work.
— This actually inserting itself into movie scenes and events, far more intuitive than the use of movie footage later on down the list.
2. Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth — See You Again
The biggest hit a Fast & Furious soundtrack has contained, it’s of course a bittersweet achievement given the circumstances (hit no. 1, has spent 52 weeks on the Hot 100 chart). I’d assume it came out post-film, given it spoils the end shots, but it primarily operates as a charmingly constructed tribute to all 7 films, making sure to hit at least one Walker moment with each main cast member. The song employs a pretty standard structure, Wiz Khalifa on verse, crooner Charlie Puth on the hook, but it’d be at least a minor radio hit regardless of circumstance. Is it cheesy? Sure. I mean Puth does play piano in what looks like a square of sports cars and there’s approximately 5,000 longing looks shared between Walker and Vin Diesel. But, it’s also kinda sweet. And there’s a Luda afro shot! We’re redeemed!
Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say Walker was always really great in these movies (especially in what he got to film of a suburban dad crisis in 7).
3. J Balvin and Pitbull — Hey Ma
The Fate Of The Furious
The Miami-shot video for “Hey Ma” actually feels like it belongs with the accompanying movie scenes, which you’d think makes sense, but doesn’t happen often with these videos (see Pitbull’s “Blanco,” Lil Uzi Vert’s “Go Off”). They unfortunately ditch the premise pretty early on, given there’s a street racing celebration (which I believe is part of the new movie’s opening), but is Pitbull celebrating with Vin? Of course not. Downright blasphemous. Shot quality, again, matches, making for a unified piece, and it’s simply an entertaining video, movie connection or not. Also, Pitbull exiting that white sports car, wearing white suit in probable 100 degree weather is like when Steve Rogers jumps on that grenade in the first Captain America. Birth of a hero.
4. Ja Rule — Furious
The Fast and The Furious
This is your label-sponsored reminder that Ja Rule was in the first Fast and Furious movie. It’s pretty standard “music video for a film treatment,” performance with some clips thrown in, but the energy in the performance is just top notch. And can we pour one out for the “Murder Inc” logo where the bottom letters were approximately 10 miles apart from one another?
5. Pitbull — Blanco
Fast & Furious
I’m fairly certain Vin Diesel came back to the franchise under one condition: PITBULL!!!! Making his second appearance on the countdown, Pitbull has 4 songs on the Fast & Furious (movie 4) soundtrack, including the Pharrell Williams-featuring “Blanco.” I’ve been referring to this one as “Pitbull Presents: Cloverfield,” the combo of first person hookups (and for some reason, a trip to the bathroom) and the grabbing of the camera, motion-sickness-inducing. There’s random clips of the movie tossed in, an actual Pitbull (please tell me that’s like a running theme for him), and Pitbull being a creep to several women across the 4 minute running time.
Some of the Others
— The 2 Chainz/Wiz Khalifa lyric video for “We Own It” is clearly the worst music video related to this franchise, that terrible series typography not even the worse font in the near 4 minutes. That honor belongs to the horrifying red against the checkered background. Seriously, this will haunt me.
— Any Fast and Furious related music that references a last ride, like “Go Off,” is a bold-faced liar. We all know this is going to space. Also, this seems to be the cliff notes on a pretty major set piece in the new film, so maybe don’t watch it if you wish to remain unspoiled.
— Don Omar’s “Danza Kuduro” seems to only borrow the credit blocks from the film, but nothing else. Let’s also give props to whichever YouTube commenter correctly described the conversation at the beginning as early level GTA.
— “Ride Out,” and “How Bad Do You Want It,” both from Furious 7 are quite boring, performances interrupted by segments of the film. They really went crazy with Furious 7 videos. But this variety is another of the “worst” this series has to offer.