Music Video Clichés No.3 – Boats N’ Hoes

Punctuating the otherwise underwhelming Will Ferrell movie Step Brothers is a spoof that skewers that most hackneyed cliché – hip-hop’s obsession with boats and bikinis.

It’s a convention that’s ripe for parody. More recently, The Lonely Island teamed up with T-Pain for the spot-on ‘I’m On A Boat’, a big-budget parody that plays on Hip-Hop Law Number 32: No major artist shalt appear in a video without several million dollars’ worth of gleaming yacht somewhere in shot.

Of course, hip-hop did not invent these nautical cliches. No, like many excruciating musical traits, its origins lie with Duran Duran. The ‘Rio’ video was an inspiration to bloated hustlers everywhere and also included some gloriously laughable moments: see Le Bon’s convo with a suspiciously androgynous Rio on a pair of Deal Or No Deal telephones (1:36), or the saxophone solo in front of a giant postcard (3:13).

But it was Jay-Z who took this terrible idea and ran a marathon with it. With this one, Jay laid the blueprint for all the monstrosities to follow: man in Jacamo shirt struts starboard, slaps some booty and sips some Cristal, before getting downright sexy with a throng of scantily clad girls.

Still, at least ‘Big Pimpin” is a tune. The same can’t be said of Rick Ross’ limp ‘The Yacht Club’. Location budgets were clearly tight as the boys cruise around what is essentially Salford Keys with palm trees, Rick growling: “All the girls, they’re welcome to the yacht club” – though unfortunately only about five have turned up.

This cut also serves a reminder that shouting “This is a REMIX” over a track does not in fact constitute a remix.

Even so, Ross is an artistic Goliath next to upstart Londoner Taio Cruz. Embarrassingly, Cruz’ ‘gangtsa’ credentials are tarnished from the off here, with his spoken word skit more recalling a chartered surveyor from Winchester than a hustler from the Bronx.

This promo comes complete with a gratuitous yacht orgy and our protagonist cruising round aimlessly on a speedboat, making it the most ridiculous of the lot.

Proving that indie boys can look daft on boats too, it’s The Bravery, whose ‘Fearless’ video enabled singer Sam Endicott to bust out his Leo Di Caprio in Titanic impression. King of the world? Not really.

Also, for sheer comedic value, see one hapless member attempt a running bomb, before being pathetically helped ashore by a crew member (2:36).

Not all boat parties are plain-sailing. Check out the ‘Hypnotise’ video, in which Notorious BIG and faithful lapdog Puff Daddy (as he was then) escape from three police helicopters while on a speedboat. Struggling to fathom that one out? Yeah, me too. They’re in the sea! Where are they going to go?

Anyway, accompanied by a modest triumvirate of bikini babes, they manage it. The track itself is equally laughable, with Biggy revealing the contents of his wank bank: “Tits and bras, ménage-a-trois, sex in expensive cars”, before his ‘hoes’ then announce: “Biggy Biggy can’t you see, sometimes your words just hypnotise me”. Hmmm, they must be easily impressed.