Given the number of solo albums the Wu-Tang Clan had released between 1993 and 1997, one could hardly have been blamed for thinking that their success outside the group would preclude reuniting as a collective. In fact you’d hardly have been surprised the increasingly erratic Russell Jones (Ol’ Dirty Bastard) missed a reunion album even if one were to take place.

Wu-Tang Forever” proved the doubters emphatically wrong with a huge DOUBLE disc of new rap songs, and plenty of features from the lovable (but troubled) ODB at his drunken best. It’s hard for me to even think of the year 1997 without thinking of the return of the Wu-Tang Clan, which is why “Triumph” is #1 with a bullet on the list of hip-hop videos for the year. It’s also a year that can’t be forgotten for another reason – “the greatest rapper of all time died on March 9th.”

As always with these lists, #1 and #15 are both completely awesome. It’s not a “best to worst” list, where being 15th is in any way a slight, it’s a “best to best” list where every one of these videos has something to offer both visually and musically. This was a year of CINEMATIC videos.

1.) Wu-Tang Clan – “Triumph”

2.) Notorious B.I.G. – “Hypnotize”

3.) Common f/ Lauryn Hill – “Retrospect For Life”

4.) The Beatnuts – “Off the Books”

5.) 2Pac – “Do For Love”

6.) Tracey Lee – “The Theme (It’s Party Time)”

7.) Jay-Z – “Streets Is Watching”

8.) Busta Rhymes – “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See”

9.) EPMD – “Da Joint”

10.) Missy Elliott – “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)”

11.) Redman f/ Method Man – “Whateva Man”

12.) O.C. f/ Yvette Michelle – “Far From Yours”

13.) Puff Daddy – “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down”

14.) Organized Konfusion – “Somehow, Someway”

15.) South Central Cartel – “All Day Everyday”