MTV at 30: The Top 10 Most Controversial Music Videos (NSFW)

Categories: Lists, Video

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As MTV celebrates its 30th birthday, it seems poised for a calm middle-aged life in a nice neighborhood, where it can safely raise Jersey Shore and Teen Mom into even more reliable moneymakers. But it wasn't always that way: Before it gave up on music, MTV swept through American households by breaking adventurous music videos from bands that would come to define an era. More interesting than those videos, though, are the ones that didn't get shown, or at least pissed everyone off afterward.

Narrowing the dozens if not hundreds of worthy competitors for this list down to 10 was, admittedly, difficult and somewhat arbitrary. Who's to say that raunchy sex is more controversial than disturbing violence? Further, a video that made the world lose its shit in 1989 probably wouldn't even raise an eyebrow today.

With all that in mind, hit the jump to see the 10 craziest, most controversial videos ever made. If we left out your depraved favorite, post it in the comments.

10. 2 Live Crew -- "Me So Horny" (1989)
Music, TV, and sex seem like a three-way that has existed forever, but the reality is that it took videos in the late '80s and early '90s like this one to really tie the knot. There are scores of others that played with the same themes -- George Michael's "I Want Your Sex" from 1987 and Madonna's "Justify My Love" from 1990, to name just a few.

We chose this one because, characteristic of 2 Live Crew, it doesn't mess around -- every aspect of this video is explicitly and unabashedly about sex and hooking up. In order to get its video on MTV, the group created an alternative version with slightly less skin. We have videos like "Me So Horny" to thank (or blame, depending on your perspective) for imitators like Eric Prydz's steamy "Call on Me" workout-themed video.

As a side note, a judge declared the album As Nasty as They Wanna Be to be obscene in the wake of this song's success, which predictably gave a boost to sales. For awhile, clerks caught selling the album were arrested. The courts later determined it not to be obscene.


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27 comments
Danny Motta
Danny Motta

Why is Aaliyah's rock the boat video not on this list? she died right after making the video! It should be on this list!

exvx
exvx

It must have been so much fun to be one of the hooded actors in the "Stress" video.

Jake
Jake

what the fuck

Joshua Selvidge
Joshua Selvidge

How about "P*ssy" by Rammstein? It's pretty much just a porn

Manthabat
Manthabat

Disturbed - Inside the Fire. That is all.

Bruce
Bruce

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Bruce

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Mike
Mike

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Jack
Jack

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Muhammad Bilal Islam
Muhammad Bilal Islam

madonna is just an attention whore. those NIN and marilyn manson videos are pretty creep though.

Veggiepatch
Veggiepatch

A few of Tool's music videos are quite wild. Aphex Twin's "Windowlicker" and "Come To Daddy" should have made the list.

CurtisEichelberger
CurtisEichelberger

the only thing shocking in all these is that you guys picked madonna as the number one video.. 

dioego
dioego

Your ignorance is shocking. Madonna's video generated world wide, not only in US but everywhere in Europe and Latin America, the biggest controversy, more controversy than all the others put together.

Mikey1969
Mikey1969

Dcypher 10 hours agowhat no the prodigy smack my bitch up ? thought that video got banned with the quickness

It's video #3, what's up with the attention span, did your Ritalin 'script expire or something?

juepucta 14 hours agoMake a damn one page list.

You can't fit 10 videos with synopses on one page, especially with the format that they are going for with the Village Voice papers, maybe 2 or 3, but not 10, I don't want to scroll for 10 hours and THEN have another 2 hours of scrolling through comments. Get over yourself.

Despite what your nerds tell you, inflating pageviews by pulling this crap is unethical.

"Unethical"... LOL, that literally made me laugh out loud here. Ethics has nothing to do with it. Slideshows may be annoying sometimes, but this isn't some great conspiracy, it just made more aesthetic sense to have each video and its synopsis on its own page, it's not like they give it a one sentence summary...

Now that my ranting is done, I must say that this is a very good list, usually these things are so subjective that you're annoyed by about the third choice, and people have started getting annoyed at the author's lack of experience by leaving out obvious ones, their bias by leaving out ones that WERE controversial, but the author didn't feel that way, or just their laziness for not doing research and only picking obvious stuff. This list had none of that, it was well-rounded, and had a lot that truly WERE controversial, and not just because it was part of some silly marketing ploy. The only one I could think to add off the top of my head would be 'Pepper' by the Butthole Surfers, since the song is about kids who die young from dumb teenage stuff, and instead of leaving it intact, MTv edited out all mention of death, presumably because they thought that it would glamorize it, which is obviously the exact opposite of the song's message.

I like that 'Stan' was on the list. I'm not really a rap fan, and definitely not an Eminem fan, but I absolutely love that song, it is probably the most tragic song I have heard in the 41 years I've been alive, and I had never seen the video before, even sadder. This song brings home what it's probably like for a performer to get a 'greatest fan' letter that's just a little bit on the wrong side of 'ok'. I can totally see this happen, and can't imagine the guilt someone would live with the rest of their life if something like this happened to one of their fans, Also, I had never seen the video before, it's really well done.

Dcypher
Dcypher

what no the prodigy smack my bitch up ? thought that video got banned with the quickness

juepucta
juepucta

Make a damn one page list. What are you, Cosmo? Despite what your nerds tell you, inflating pageviews by pulling this crap is unethical.

yela X
yela X

google:mela yela

Candicemeade83
Candicemeade83

oh so this is where he stole the idea to mess up the car in his video with jayz 

Guest
Guest

list forgot "Stinkfist" by the band Tool

Bong
Bong

Stinkfist was totally weak. bunch of statues? doing nothing?Check out the video for Bottom Feeders, by the Smut Peddlers

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