Ten years ago, Kanye West debuted his iconic mascot, The College Dropout bear. The animal became the look and image of Kanye’s first three albums before the rapper moved onto different iconography. But the mascot is not the only popular furry mammal in music. There are a number of artists that have utilized the animal in music videos and performances. Miley Cyrus famously usurped the stuffed creature for her live performance of “We Can’t Stop” at the MTV Video Music Awards and then there are those bearish bands, Grizzly Bear and Teddybears, who have become famous in their own right.
The mascot made his first appearance on the cover of The College Dropout and then followed it up with covers for Late Registration and Graduation. With Kanye’s college motif complete, so was the bear’s time as Kanye’s mascot. He made his final appearance in the video for “Good Morning” directed by Japanese pop artist Takashi Murakami before the rapper left the mascot behind like a hazy memory of a drunken college party.
Miley’s Twerking Bears
Miley Cyrus caused quite a stir last summer when she performed on stage with a bunch of twerking bears at the MTV Video Music Awards. However, as bizarre as the bears were, it wasn’t there first appearance in the singer’s world. The VMA performance was a call back to the oversized stuff bears that were strapped to the back of dancers in the “We Can’t Stop” music video. Like she told us in the song, it’s her party and she does what she wants to including twerking with bears.
Probably the most famous bears in music, Edward Droste, Daniel Rossen, Chris Taylor and Christopher Bear make up this indie rock group that went mainstream thanks to the addictive-yet-haunting album, Veckatimest.
The football team made a splash in the music world thanks to the Super Bowl rap jam, “The Super Bowl Shuffle.” The song, a boast about going to the big event, did nothing to jinx them. The team went onto win the 1986 Super Bowl championship. The Bears became the first team to have a music video, which thanks to MTV, lives on in infamy.
The Country Bears
Thanks to Disney, this group of animatronic singing bears has a special place in childhood. Although frightening at times, these bears are mainstays at Disneyland and Disney World thanks to their ongoing country jamboree. In 2002, after 30 years on stage, the bears finally got their own movie musical.
Pink’s Glowing Teddy
Stuffed animals don’t get more creepy than the one that accompanies Pink in the music video for “Just Give Me a Reason.” The glowing eyes give the bear an ominous feel but that doesn’t seem to bother the singer who cozies up to him in bed. Now, that’s a cuddle buddy.
The Swedish band is probably most famous for blending a mix of genres (punk, rock, reggae, hip-hop and electronica) and donning bear masks in public appearances and music videos. They are like Daft Punk of the alt-rock world.
Imagine Dragons’ Radioactive Bear
In what feels like a nod to AMC’s Breaking Bad, the Imagine Dragons video for “Radioactive” is led by a pink Care Bear. The stuffed animal takes on several other creatures of the bedroom in a cage match to the “death” or in their case, land of discarded toys. The bear is one stuffed animal you want in your corner.
Childish Gambino’s Oversized Teddy
In the music video for “3005,” Childish Gambino debuted the most reliable Ferris Wheel buddy. The oversized stuffed bear chilled by Gambino’s side as he took a introspective spin on the park ride. Ride true! Ride strong, our bearish friend.