Anyone who thinks “Hips Don’t Lie” is Shakira’s best song probably hasn’t heard the artist’s expansive and eclectic back catalog. She is a musical pioneer, an artist who helped bridge the gap between two disparate markets—Latin America and the United States—at a time when Latin music was seen as niche. After finding success with four Spanish-language albums, she charged into the American market with her single “Whenever, Wherever” in 2001, proving her crossover appeal immediately as her first English-language album, Laundry Service, debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and was certified triple platinum. The album gave American audiences a taste of what was to come, showcasing her signature, distinct vocals as the song catapulted her to mainstream fame.
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The songs to come, from “Hips Don’t Lie” to “She Wolf,” were accompanied by equally memorable music videos. It’s a body of work for which the 46-year-old singer will be recognized at MTV’s Video Music Awards on Sept. 12 with the Video Vanguard Award.
Shakira has sustained a career for over two decades thanks to her chameleonic nature. She’s managed to mold her sound to whatever is current without forcing it, platforming up-and-coming artists along the way. Across those decades, she’s worked with everyone from Latin superstars like Nicky Jam and Karol G to pop stars like Rihanna and Beyoncé. Few artists today can pull off killer vocals and a well-choreographed dance, but Shakira can do both and then some, showing off her talents as an accomplished belly dancer and offering glimpses of her Lebanese heritage. At Tuesday night’s VMAs, Shakira will perform a medley of her hits. The crowd will be in for a treat if the performance is anything like what she’s done in her videos.
To honor the legacy of a trailblazing vanguard, here are Shakira’s 15 best music videos—including videos where she serves as the featured artist—ranked.
15. “Que Me Quedes Tú” (2001)
Even as Shakira’s star began to rise, she made it known to her fans that she was not ready to conform to the standards set by the entertainment industry. This was evidenced by the music video for the single “Que Me Quedes Tú,” in which she sheds the pristine look she dons at the start of the video. She sings about finding a love so pure that it makes her not care about the noise surrounding her fame. This is rendered literally, in a moment in which she’s being chased by the workers on the set of the music video as she runs to find the man she loves. The video spoke to her commitment to never becoming a version of herself that’s unrecognizable to her fans.
14. “Inevitable” (1998)
“Inevitable” illustrates just how much of a superstar Shakira already was in Latin America before crossing over. The video features an arena full of fans, screaming for her, and she just commands the stage like a rock star—something she had already been doing for several years. Her presence in the video shows how comfortable she is in her musical element, early evidence that her rise to international stardom was, to borrow from the song, inevitable.
13. “Hips Don’t Lie” feat. Wyclef Jean (2005)
“Hips Don’t Lie” became Shakira’s first No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, helping solidify her as a mainstay in the American music marketplace. The horns at the beginning of the song become a siren call to dancers everywhere who can’t help but shake their hips to the incredibly catchy song. In collaboration with Wyclef Jean of Fugees fame, Shakira created an unforgettable anthem to dancing. In the video, we see her showing off her belly-dancing skills, asserting that her hips are, in fact, one crucial part of a cultural phenomenon.
12. “TQG” Karol G feat. Shakira (2023)
Shakira has her finger on the pulse of popular music, especially when it comes to discerning which popular artists she can make magic with. Earlier this year, Karol G’s critically acclaimed album Mañana Será Bonito became the first all-Spanish-language album by a female artist to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Shakira had a part in this major milestone with her feature on “TQG.”
The two powerhouses teamed up to sing about leaving exes who are no good for them—a fitting theme, given that both had recently gone through very public breakups. This song came a month after Shakira addressed rumors of her ex-husband cheating in “Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53,” her collaboration with the Argentinian producer Bizarrap. Karol also went through a public breakup with reggaeton artist Anuel AA, who had a child with another woman after their split. The video features each of the women giving her own testimonial about moving on, before coming together in front of a maze of flames, with standout choreography and a clear message to their exes that they’re not worth thinking about.
11. “Te Aviso, Te Anuncio” (2001)
Although Laundry Service was Shakira’s first album in English, this song just sounds more natural in Spanish. The video, one of Shakira’s more fun, campy music videos, starts off with a steamy tango, but as the man throws her down and leaves her high and dry, she takes center stage, newly on a quest for vengeance. There’s a cartoon sequence in which she fights her cheating man, deflates the breasts of his mistress, and receives assistance from various superhero characters. In summary: I support women’s rights, but I also support women’s wrongs.
10. “Underneath Your Clothes” (2001)
This video is important to Shakira’s repertoire mainly for its first 20 seconds, in which a (fake) reporter asks, “Shakira, what’s it like to cross over and sing in English?” Instead of responding in English, she responds in Spanish and says that making music is about forming a connection with your audience through your music. It was an important statement to make to her fans as she entered not only a new phase in her career but also began to reach a new, broader audience. The video starts with her on her own in a tour bus while her band chats behind her, a way to show how touring can be lonely, before cutting to her passionately embracing her boyfriend, whom she sings about having unconditional love for.
9. “Ojos Así” (1998)
Shakira’s Lebanese heritage is on full display in this Arabic Latin rock fusion track. She’s sporting cherry red locks, a metallic crop top, black leather pants, and a belly-dancing hip scarf. The dynamic song gives her an opportunity to show off her powerful vocals and features a young Shak essentially leading an eclectic band on-stage. The song became a springboard for her as it won the “Best Female Pop Vocal Performance” at the inaugural Latin Grammy Awards in 2000 and was nominated for Best Short Form Music Video that same year.
8. “Can’t Remember to Forget You” feat. Rihanna (2014)
Shakira knows how to pick a collaborator to make waves with, and in 2014, she chose global superstar Rihanna to assist her on “Can’t Remember to Forget You,” a cut from her self-titled album. Rihanna was two years out from releasing her previous project, Unapologetic, marking the end of her run of yearly album releases. Fans were hungry for any new feature, song, or video, which contributed to a rapturous response when the two announced their collaboration. Since the video was released almost a decade ago, it’s racked up 1.2 billion views. The song is a fun, tropical-tinged collaboration about trying to get over an ex who is clearly not good enough when you can’t help but remember only the good parts of the relationship. Shakira and Rihanna’s moves assert sexual prowess against the backdrop of a technicolored oasis. Shakira takes center stage in the video, but when Rihanna saunters in halfway through, the two combine forces and feed off of one another’s energies.
7. “Chantaje” feat. Maluma (2016)
This video is yet another example of Shakira knowing how to pick the right collaborators. The year before this collaboration, Maluma had found success with his second album, Pretty Boy, Dirty Boy, debuting atop the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart. She plucked him out of the sea of up-and-coming artists to create a kick drum-heavy reggaeton song equating their lovers to “blackmail.” The collaboration proved successful: the video became Vevo Certified on YouTube, reaching 100 million views in 19 days, eclipsing the previous record of 21 days. It later became the fastest Spanish video to reach a billion views.
6. “BZRP Music Sessions Vol. 53” (2023)
Before this music video came out, reports of Shakira’s husband cheating on her flooded headlines. There were jam jars involved, a woman named Clara, and Shakira’s now ex-husband, Gerard Piqué. The singer wisely decided to wait a beat before strategically crafting a song with the biggest producer in Latin music that addressed all the swirling rumors. She name-drops Clara and Piqué, cleverly using their names to hoist herself on a pedestal above them. Shakira also made a callback to her 2009 hit, “She Wolf” or “Loba” in Spanish with the lyric: “Una loba como yo no estás por tipos como tú,” or, “a she-wolf like me is not for a man like you.”
The song resonated with her fans, as evidenced by the reaction to her performance on The Tonight Show with Bizarrap. The audience gleefully sang along to every single word, and the song went viral on social media. The success of the song and video is a testament to Shakira’s savvy paired with the viral simplicity of Bizarrap’s three-camera setup.
5. “Beautiful Liar,” Beyoncé feat. Shakira (2006)
“Beautiful Liar” is an underrated track in Beyoncé’s catalog. At this point in her career, she had already wowed fans with her 2003 debut solo album, Dangerously in Love, and was on her way to becoming a superstar with a string of hits from her sophomore record, B’Day. This sultry banger featuring Shakira appeared on the deluxe version of that album. It offered each artist a chance to play off of one another’s stardom and combine each of their musical styles—Beyoncé’s hip hop and R&B swagger with Shakira’s Latin and Arabic flare. The symmetrical dance break at the two-minute mark shoots this video to the No. 5 spot on this list thanks to the synchronization alone. It’s a staggering, electric performance.
4. “She Wolf” (2009)
2009’s She Wolf was a sonic departure for Shakira. On the track, she flexes her chameleonic muscle, veering from her signature Latin rock lane toward more synth and electropop elements. Her dancing is always a spectacle to behold, but in this video, it’s her flexibility and bodily contortion that stands out. An especially mind-boggling moment comes when she has her feet firmly planted on the ground while leaning at a 45-degree angle, a true feat of core strength. To personify this insatiable she-wolf, she puts herself in a cage, throwing her leg over her shoulder, hanging from the roof of the cage. It’s just an all-around exciting watch.
3. “Whenever, Wherever” (2001)
The Colombian singer is a talented songwriter, imbuing her songs with a natural Bohemian quality, in particular on the albums Pies Descalzos and Donde Estan Los Landrones. Her first English-language album, 2001’s Laundry Service, includes her crossover hit “Whenever, Wherever.” This was many listeners’ first time hearing her quirky songwriting style, which on this song includes the unforgettably iconic line, “Lucky that my breasts are small and humble, so you don’t confuse them with mountains.” In the music video, she is a force of nature as she battles the elements, presenting herself as a wonder of the world. The video played a major part in cementing the success of her crossover.
2. “Lo Hecho Está Hecho” (2009)
Shakira is fluent in a language that is famously hard to get a handle on: body language. Throughout this seductive video, she and her partner (the talented Daniel “Cloud” Campos) tell a story through a captivating interpretative dance on a bed. Anyone who has watched her dance knows how well she can move her hips, but in this video, she annihilates challenging, fluid choreography not just on her own but with a partner. Whether you know Spanish or not, the story of these two lovers going through relationship woes is obvious, transcending the spoken word.
1 . “La Tortura” feat. Alejandro Sanz (2005)
This is not only Shakira’s best music video, but it’s Shakira’s best song—period. Alejandro Sanz and Shakira croon to an irresistable pop-regaeton beat about longing for someone so much that it feels like torture not being with them, needing them so desperately that they would do and say anything to make it happen. The video conveys this message visually, Shakira radiating sensuality with her hips and her eyes (and in some parts, covered in some sort of black liquid). It’s a fitting reminder that Shakira’s expansive catalog of music videos are more than a showcase for her music, but a platform for some of the most hypnotizing dance moves of our time.
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