5. Boyz II Men "Motownphilly" (1991)
Director: Lionel C. Martin
Boyz II Men's legacy might be best summed up by their repetoire of mid-90s tearjerker R&B ballads, but the first single off their first album was anything but: An uptempo, drum-driven new jack swing banger. And the video? Just four charming men, in matching orange sportscoats and white jeans, with fairly decent moves, dancing their way through Philadelphia locales: Geno's Steaks. Their high school. South Street. On a boat! In black and white! Doing high kicks? Yes. Also: Chilling at Temple University in the dorm, and the dorm kitchen, and yes that is totally Questlove drumming in their kitchen in 1992. There are something like 11 different setups and 14 different camera lenses in this video, and that's before Michael Bivins shows up to drop a verse (and also, use their toilet, and look up the skirts of women attending their party from below the kitchen table).
From the high top fades, to the dance moves, to the strategic placement of women in the video (not too distracting, but still eye candy no less), to the outfits, to the commitment to their hometown, the "Motownphilly" video found a way to make what is a fundamentally old-school R&B quartet not just cool, but downright awesome for men and women alike. It was a crucial first video, and was pulled off with few (if any) flaws. —Foster Kamer