Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ video for “Can’t Hold Us” won the Video Music Award for Best Hip-Hop Video at Sunday night’s VMAs, beating out Drake’s “Started From the Bottom,” Kendrick Lamar’s “Swimming Pools,” J. Cole’s “Power Trip” and A$AP Rocky’s “Fuckin’ Problems.”
The award is another milestone for the Seattle duo, whose trendy ode to frugality, “Thrift Shop,” was an unexpected commercial hit last summer. The video for “Can’t Hold Us” is a multifaceted journey through several time zones. Macklemore leads a camel through a quiet neighborhood street and rhymes on a pirate ship. He skydives and lands on the Seattle Space Needle. In other words, it has everything.
“They let some independent hip-hop artists up here at the VMAs,” Macklemore told the crowd at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. “The fact that we’re up here with a Moonman is insane.”
“Can’t Hold Us” faced some strong competition. In Drake’s video for “Started From the Bottom,” his first single off his forthcoming album Nothing Was the Same, he flies his own plane and works at a convenience mart. “Swimming Pools,” a standout from Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d. city, is an isolated look into alcoholism. A$AP Rocky’s “F—in’ Problems” is probably the most straightforward of the bunch: Amid a bevy of sexy women, A$AP, Lamar, Drake and 2 Chainz offer animated individual performances. J. Cole’s “Power Trip” followed him and guest singer Miguel on a cross-country voyage.
The award for Best Hip-Hop Video was the third for Macklemore & Lewis, who are up for six total awards. “Can’t Hold Us” won for Best Cinematography, and “Same Love” won the Moonman for Best Video With a Social Message. In receiving the award, Macklemore said that he wanted to win for Best Hip-Hop Video, but that the win for “Same Love” held more weight.