The MTV Video Music Awards are just a few weeks away, and while drama is already swirling about this year’s nominations — including a Twitter tussle between Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift — one Video of the Year contender has all our attention: Beyoncé’s game-changing music video for “7/11”.
Beyoncé is no stranger to epic music videos — “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” is one of the most iconic videos of all time, and Bey’s self-titled 2013 album was accompanied with a music video for every single song. In the context of all these amazing videos, what makes “7/11” so special?
Well, for starters, the entire thing looks like it was filmed and edited on a cell phone using quick cuts/loops to emulate Vine and Snapchat clips.The lo-fi/gritty video style features Queen Bey in candid everyday moments, dancing around her hotel room in pajamas and hamming it up with her backup dancers. It’s a far cry from the avant-garde fashion and highly stylized sets of her previous videos, and has a very real feel that complements the lyrical authenticity of her latest album. And then of course there’s the catchy dance moves — bet you never thought “spinnin’ while my hands up” would be in your choreo repertoire, but thanks to “7/11” it definitely is.
For all these reasons — and the fact that it’s so much fun to watch — “7/11” is a frontrunner for this year’s Video of the Year Award at the VMAs on August 30. Here we take a look at Beyoncé’s road to “7/11” with a roundup of her most groundbreaking videos.
10. “Crazy In Love” (2003)
Bey had already tasted success in the ’90s with Destiny’s Child, but this decade-defining, Jay-Z-featuring anthem from 2003 launched her solo career into the stratosphere — a place it’s remained ever since.
9. “Naughty Girl” (2003)
An up-in-the-club cameo by Usher and a scantily clad Queen Bey splashing around in a giant champagne flute make the video for this Donna Summer-inspired track a must-see.
8. “Déjà Vu” (2006)
Beyoncé kicks up some serious dust in the epic dance sequence for this favorite from her second solo album B’Day.
7. “Kitty Kat” (2007)
The awesomely eccentric video for this lesser-known track from B’Day has become a cult favorite thanks to Bey’s sexy catsuit, feline dance moves, and graceful ride atop a giant black kitty. Essential viewing.
6. “Get Me Bodied” (2007)
The insane dance sequence featured in the mini-movie for this feel-good jam spans the history of late 20th-century dance, drawing inspiration from luminaries like Bob Fosse, Janet Jackson, and beyond. We dare you not to shake your tailfeather to this one.
5. “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” (2008)
Hands down the biggest video of Beyoncé’s career. This beloved masterpiece won Video of the Year at the 2009 VMAs. However, that award was overshadowed by the fact that the music video didn’t win Best Female Video of the Year (the honor went to Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me”), and that unforgettable moment when Kanye West stormed the stage to express his disapproval. Both Beyoncé and T-Swift are nominated for Video of the Year again in 2015, leaving fans to wonder — will Kanyegate repeat itself this year?
4. “Diva” (2008)
If there were any lingering questions about who the baddest chick in the game was, Beyoncé answered them once and for all with the hard-edged video for this favorite from 2008’s I Am… Sasha Fierce.
3. “Video Phone (feat. Lady Gaga)” (2009)
What’s better than one iconic diva? Two iconic divas. Beyoncé teamed up with Mother Monster for this uber-stylish romp through videoland, and there’s nothing better than seeing two superstars at the top of their game work it out together.
2. “Countdown” (2011)
The kaleidoscopic video for this standout from Bey’s fourth album 4 features an irresistible smorgasbord of pop culture references from throughout the 20th century.
1. “Drunk in Love” (2013)
This intoxicating 2014 VMA nominee for Video of the Year is conceptually straightforward — Bey and Jay at the beach at night — but the cultural shockwave it produced was anything but basic.
Bonus! Watch Beyoncé perform at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards
Check out all the VMA nominees on tour or playing select shows, and get down with them this summer.
Updated on August 17, 2015 to reflect that “Single Ladies” won the Video of the Year in ’09 and lost the Best Female Video award to Taylor Swift.