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Seeing as it’s the Fourth of July, I can easily go in on why fireworks are the most overrated part of Independence Day. But I don’t want to steal anyone’s joy as you all prepare to try and light wet wicks followed up by a light show in the sky that you won’t be talking about with anyone the next day. Besides, if I’m keeping it 100 with you all, I probably will be partaking in the usual customs myself, because I can be, at times, a follower too lazy to lead a revolution against a national past time.

So instead of a rant against tradition, I would like instead to focus on what is the best part of Independence Day: The barbecue. More than Memorial Day and Labor Day, I’ve always felt the Fourth of July is a day for barbecuing. While people ooh and ahh at fire in the sky, I go ham over the fire on a grill. To me, today is not about the fireworks, it’s if the fire works and those coals are getting hot.

Not only are barbecues my favorite thing in the world to partake in, they’re also the thing that induce me with the most amount of FOMO. I can’t front. If I go on Instagram and see pictures of a cookout, I get saltier than a bag of potato chips. Even if I’m at a barbecue and I’m enjoying myself, if I see another barbecue on my timeline, I will probably, for a moment, wish I was at that barbecue too.

This feeling of wanting to be at every outdoor feast started at a very young age, back when I would watch music videos and see all these rappers talking about living that life while one of their cohorts was slathering some sauce on a rack of ribs. As far as I’m concerned, if you haven’t had at least one video with a barbecue, your career is invalid. The best artists know at least one video in their catalogue needs to take place at a barbecue, so to celebrate those who have made such a wise decision, I present to you my favorite barbecue music videos.

The criteria for this list was simple: All that was necessary was at least one frame had to have a grill. Oh, and because I care about the actual music, I had to have at least liked the song too so I could sit through the whole video without suffering. Enjoy, and I encourage you all to share your favorite barbecue music videos. HAPPY FOURTH!

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Artist: Dove Shack
Song: “Summertime in the LBC”
The great barbecue videos have usually taken place in California, and we’ll get to featuring more of them, but we’re starting here. I don’t know if all the members of the Dove Shack are alive, but if they are, I’d like to think they’re still doing it like they’re doing it like they’re doing it in this video every summer since the song first came out in 1995.

Artist: Juvenile featuring Soulja Slim
Song: “Slow Motion”
Okay, I understand the barbecue was probably in memoriam of Soulja Slim who lost his life before this single caught fire and the video was filmed. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about N’Awlins, funerals are more of a celebration for the fallen, and this video is proof. The crazy thing is, that’s a whole lot of people for only one grill. I can’t imagine everyone got a plate, but what I can imagine is the man with a white kangol could probably grill his ass off. A white kangol is to the person manning the grill what a chef’s hat is to a chef. It’s a part of the uniform.

Artist: Dr. Dre featuring Snoop Dogg
Song: “Nuthin’ But A G Thang”
I remember watching this music video and being mad at childhood because all the adults looked like they had so much fun. Not only was there a barbecue, and a beach volleyball game that I would have LOVED to play in, there was also an after party to the barbecue with copious amounts of 40 oz beers. Even watching this video today makes me want to go cop a Ben Davis or Dickies work suit, hop in a ‘64 Impala with switches and play some dominos. I imagine I’d be in such a good mood, I’d even learn how to play spades!

Artist: Dom Kennedy featuring Jason Madison
Song: “Watermelon Sundae”
I am going to assume that by now, most of us who read this blog are familiar with Dom Kennedy. For me, my introduction came back in 2008, when I saw this video while perusing my round up of hip-hop blogs. I had no idea who he was, and I had no real reason to click on it, but I took a chance. What I discovered was an artist who was still somewhat green on the mic, but made up for it with a great video. This actually looks similar to Biggie’s “Juicy” video in the beginning with the pool and all, but by the end, they’ve traded in the flash for something more down home. “Watermelon Sundae” is more important than people think if only it showed how even independent artists in LA can live a good life.

Artist: Khia
Song: “My Neck, My Back”

The first time I saw this video was the first time I heard this song, and I just knew the life that Khia is rapping about is not really a life I live. I’m not her type of guy, therefore I would not be invited to this barbecue. I was okay with that all the way up until 1:07, and that’s when they showed a slip-and-slide. From that point on, I wanted in because the best barbecues have slip-and-slides.

Artist: LL Cool J featuring Total
Song: “Loungin’ (Who Do Ya Love)”
As a resident of New York City, I would like to use this video as evidence that barbecues can exist, but I’m not entirely sure they didn’t take this one to New Jersey, if only because of the size of the houses in the background. There’s also a chance they could have taken it to Queens, where there are very residential areas that look more like suburbs. Wherever this took place, I’ve seen barbecues of this size in New York City, and it almost guarantees you’re not going to eat but you will have a damn good time.

Artist: DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince
Song: “Summertime”
It is the anthem of the season and has been since it came out in 1991, but for me, listening to the song alone doesn’t do it justice. The video is where all the magic comes together. Basically, this looks like the best barbecue ever; like, if the VSB fam had a barbecue, this is what it looked like. And the real beauty in the video is how nothing about the barbecue is over the top. Everyone looks like they get a plate, no one is mean mugging the camera, old people and young people are partying right alongside each other, and there’s even a Soul Train line. To this day I watch this video and wish I was there, even if I’ve experienced imitations of this in real life, Jeff and Will look like they knew how to barbecue.