YG’s music video for “Why You Always Hatin?”, a single off his sophomore album Still Brazy is, in a word, lavish. The first 40 seconds have the rapper casually hop out of a helicopter and hop into a red Mercedes. The next three-and-a-half minutes follow a similar trend, with an array of shots of YG, Drake and Kamaiyah rapping from moving convertibles, drinking Hennessey, popping Champaign, dancing next the the cars they were previously rapping out of and even in Kamaiyah’s case, receiving foot massages from really buff shirtless dudes. There is also a conspicuous lack of a helicopter in the final three and a half minutes, which is, in its own way, lavish.
Over-the-top displays of wealth are nothing new in the rap video world. So much so that a video without some excessive display of wealth is considered avant-garde. This video is not avant-garde. It is, however, a perfect match for the single and the album.
Still Brazy is an homage to a simpler time, a West Coast ’90s rap album with skits and jokes and funky baselines. It's also an album made in 2016, with references to Aisha Curry, Drake verses and rampant anonymous internet hate. “Why You Always Hatin?,” a happy song about haters, is the albums’ mascot.
The duality of the album allows the cliché-but-not video to work. There are rented drop tops, but there are also men giving foot massages when, unfortunately, the prevailing lavish rap video rarely has men in subservient roles. There’s are bottles of champagne popping over lobster dinners, but an oddly disarming set of shots with YG and his friends goofing around in a parking lot. This is a YG video, but people are enjoying themselves.
This video isn’t anything artistically groundbreaking, but in between the cars and money and liquor you can see YG winking at us, making a little joke that plays off the fact that, on the surface, the video is so derivative. It’s a self awareness we want to see, but rarely do when paired with exuberant displays of wealth.