Music videos played a huge part in Hip-Hop artists careers in the 1990s era. There was absolutely no way you were going to have a successful rap career and reach the masses if you did not have a video to showcase your music through. The Hip-Hop audience was a lot more attentive and sought out visuals that complemented rap artists’ lyrics. If an artist had a single it was inevitable that a music video would soon accompany the single. With that being said, Harold Williams, better known as, Hype Williams, was the music director to be in the 1990s! Hailing from Queens, New York Hype was one of the most sought after music video directors throughout the 1990s where he built up much of his impressive resume by directing videos for artists such as The Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac, Jay-Z, Craig Mack, Missy Elliot, Nas , Ol’ Dirty Bastard, and even directing the film, Belly. If you are a fan of Hip-Hop and you have not watched any of Hype’s videos then you have A LOT of catching up to do! Now for your reading and visual pleasure I will break down a couple of Hypes videos and why they stood out to me.
Craig Mack – Flava In Ya Ear Remix Featuring The Notorious B.I.G., Rampage, LL Cool J, & Busta Rhymes
From The Warriors inspired intro to the full star studded line-up and multiple artist cameos, the Flava In Ya Ear Remix is nothing less then monumental. Watching this video when I was younger I could not help but just be taken in by the lyrics and visuals that were plastered all over this music video. The fact that the video was shot completely in black and white just adds to the finesse of this song and the captivating presence that visuals have on a viewer.This video was the blueprint for many of the “in-your-face” and “me and my click” style of videos that would be rehashed over and over again in multiple rap videos throughout the 1990s (this style holds a soft spot in my Hip-Hop loving heart). This music video will forever be a fan-favorite of the rap genre and serves as the perfect blend of originality and the “don’t fuck with me” type of attitude that has always pumped through Hip-Hops veins. Indeed, an amazing song that got a well-deserved video to match its level of energy.
The Notorious B.I.G.– Warning
A song so compelling and rich in story that it deserved the short-film treatment. Biggies‘ “Warning” video plays out exactly like a mobster film that you would see on some late night movie channel. Taking influence from films like Scarface, The Godfather, and other famous mobster films this video truly portrays the lavish and hostile life that comes across in Biggies lyrics. Hype was able to translate the songs message through this video with club shots of a guy lurking in the shadows and showing Biggies anxiety with the situation throughout the video. The shoot-out at the end is the icing on the cake for this classic and well-executed video!
2Pac – California Love Featuring Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman
The Mad Max version of the California Love music videos was one of the coolest looking videos I had ever seen when it was first released. It featured a cool desert terrain, a hilarious Chris Tucker cameo, and all of the hype that the West Coast and Death Row was riding on for the last couple of years on screen! It was the arrival of a new era of big budget and flashy videos! Money was abundant and so were the parties when it came to the West Coast scene so why not splurge and showcase this through music videos? Death Row was reigning SUPREME for a good few years until Pac‘s untimely death, Dr. Dre leaving as a result of a money dispute/the creation of his own music label as well as Snoops departure that would land him on the NO LIMIT RECORDS label. Although, this dream team of a record label is long gone past it’s glory days, Death Row lived it up in memorable-big budget videos like the one you see before you!
Well that is it for now, perhaps I will do a couple other videos in a future post. Thank you all for reading!