Harold Hype Williams, who was born in Queens, is one of hip-hops most favored directors, like you can’t deny it. I feel as though we don’t celebrate him enough for everything he has done for the culture. C’mon, let’s think back to videos that demanded our attention almost immediately. Hype gave us some of thee flyest visuals since the early 90’s. He taught us technique and used his skills from tagging to inspire his vibrant and bold ways of expression in his work.
I feel Hype Williams found his niche when he began working with fish-eyed lens and pairing it with a sort of cashy and cosmic aesthetic. The man made a trashbag look like gold in Missy Elliot’s Supa Dupa Fly video. Everything about this feature had various artist look like superheroes from the year 2046 who occasionally drenched themselves in a ton money. Being young I was able to enjoy his creations because of how animated they all were without caring to understand what was being said or depicted. Which, naturally, as time passed helped bury classics into my memory.
After a streak of very successful videos and a number of awards such as The Best Director Awards from Billboard (1996), The NAACP Image Award (1997), The Music Video Production Association Award for Black Music Achievement (1997) and more, Williams birthed Belly in 1998 and added some rawness with help of a few angles. Despite the acting, that people for whatever reason make the biggest deal of, the cinematics are strong. Williams made sure a statement was being made with every transition. Belly is like, duh, a staple in his career.
Druglord life looked crazy cool after an hour and 30 minutes. I was so close to being that same 12-year-old shortie with the empty life pushing what may end my existence. Yeah, Hype did that. Point me to the nearest bench and puffy coat.
Okay so now what? Oh wait, another style is to yet to be constructed. Prior to working with the elites such as Mase, Missy, Busta Rhymes, Janet Jackson, and more in the late 90’s/early 2000’s we’re getting deeper in the years and Hype has done it again. Using segmentation to split up a wide frame into 3 parts. Creating the illusion of different two perspectives or a cluster of emotions. Artist such as Pharrell and Kanye West proved to be fans of this style with a couple of their videos. He even has the pleasure to work with Baby Girl herself, Aaliyah, before her tragic death.
Now and day’s Hype Williams is still doing what he does best on a more quieter scale but his art remain unmatched in doing so. May his legacy be long-lived and continue to inspire young directors, videographers, and other artist alike.