To me, Hype Williams is probably the best Hip-Hop video director of all-time. He has had many imitators, but he was always the one to go to for a big budget urban video. Today I wanted to go over my Top 10 Hype Williams directed rap videos.
One thing I want to let you know before we go into the list: Even though Missy Elliott and Busta Rhymes’ videos are great, they always get the praises and their not my favorites. I like “Mo Money, Mo Problems” but that terrible quality Biggie video at the end kinda tarnished it.
I also like today’s videos by Hype for Kanye, Jamie Foxx, or Beyonce, but I really like the ones from around 1994-1999. Now with that out the way, let’s check out the list.
1. “Benz Or Beamer” – Outkast
Album: New Jersey Drive, Vol. 1 (OST)
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Some of you newer Outkast fans have never seen this video and that’s a damn shame. This video is by far my favorite Hype Williams video. It’s filmed on location in ATL and they made sure to use some visuals from there. King Jerm reminded me that “West Savannah”, a song that was later on 1998 Aquemini, was played at the beginning off this video. But the biggest reason that this video is at the top of the list: The Bankhead Bounce. This video had everybody and their momma doing the bounce in 1995. Their so many things that make this video my all time #1: the green lighting in The Dungeon, Big Boi and Mr. DJ (complete with turntables) on a roof, the stand still at the end while Big Rube recited poetry; there are almost too many to name. The song is classic and so is the video.
2. “Feel So Good” – Mase
Album: Harlem World/Money Talks (OST)
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Before you start thinking I’m crazy, let me explain. I know these days Mase is looked at as…kinda weird, if you know what I mean. But I’m not talking about that Mase, I’m talking about the Mase from ’97 that was making waves in the rap game. This video summed the whole rap era of that time. Besides Nas’ “Hate Me Now”, this has to be one of the flossiest videos of all time. You had the green Lexus, Mase and the Lox making it rain on the Vegas strip, sexy women dancing, and of course, the shiny suits. Plus, did you know Chris Tucker was in the video? Yep, he’s the third guy in the silver shiny suits but you can barely see him because Puffy keeps blocking him from the camera. While this video is very, very, materialistic, I always liked that it extremely took it there. Does anybody remember the Monster Magnet parody video?
3. “How’s It Goin’ Down (remix)” – DMX feat. Faith Evans
Album: It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot
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You ever had a video that made you like a song even more. This video plus the addition of Faith Evans made “How’s It Goin’ Down” one of my favorite DMX songs. Yea, it’s a love story, but its so hood, it didn’t make me feel like a punk because I liked it (The video even started with the camera all on a girl’s ass). From the shots in the projects to even the shots on location period made this video seem more realer than normal. Check out the cameos from a then almost unknowns Ja Rule and Eve.
4. “Big Poppa”/”Warning” – Notorious B.I.G.
Album: Ready to Die
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I had to put these too together since they both make the complete story. After the “Big Poppa” video came out, I saw a lot of imitators. Shit Biggie even copied his self on “One More Chance” (I couldn’t put that on this list, I still don’t think Hype directed it). It’s a lot of images form this video that are carved it the Hip-Hop lexicon: Puffy in the hot tub while Biggie chilling on the side, Biggie mugging dude in the green in the face, the pissing scene. The whole thing is classic and fits the whole vibe of the song.
5. “Flava In Ya Ear (remix)” – Craig Mack feat. The Notorious B.I.G., Rampage, Busta Rhymes, & L.L. Cool J
Album: Project: Funk Da World
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This is the one that set off the Bad Boy empire. Even though it was Craig Mack’s video, it was Biggie’s coming out party. You remember B.I.G.’s mug all in the camera with Puff over his shoulder adlibbing and dancing (A thing that would be a constant for the next few years). It also reintroduced Busta and LL Cool J and was a good jump off for their careers (Sorry Rampage). A lot of remix video have copied this format, even still today. Check out the thick chick from “Big Poppa” dancing on LL’s part; classic.
6. “Street Dreams (remix)” – Nas feat. R. Kelly
Album: It Was Written
Just like the “Lougin’ (remix)” video at #9, this was a track that didn’t appear on the album. This was worse because at the time I couldn’t find this shit nowhere. The cool thing they did here was make this video like a movie trailer for the original video (Kinda like they did for R’ Kelly’s “Down Low”). I like this one over the original for a few reasons: The Casio theme was kinda wack plus what was up with the too small pink suit Nas rocked. Nasir rapping on the corner with kids was simple yet better.
7. “Get At Me Dog” – DMX
Album: It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot
“Let’s take it back to the streets motherfucker!” That how this video started and that’s how this video looked. While Puffy and Busta’s videos by Hype were the brightest and most colorful, this one was the complete opposite. The overexposed/negative look of the video made it sometimes hard to see what the hell was going on, but it also made you feel you was at The Tunnel too. This is a hard edged video, shit, even MTV banned it from their airwaves.
8. “If I Ruled The World” – Nas feat. Lauryn Hill
Album: It Was Written
This one marked the return of Nas. But that’s not the only reason it’s at #8, it’s the little things. The video has a Lauryn Hill almost at here peak; we didn’t have to call her Ms. Hill then. Shit, What about the rest of the Fugees dancing with L-Boogie during the first hook. Did you catch Mobb Deep chilling with Nas on the bench? What about Cormega and AZ at the end? This may be you prototypical “scenes form the hood” video also but it’s done so well. This also gave the world a glimpse of what style the former Nasty Nas was going for on his return.
9. “Loungin’ (remix)” – LL Cool J feat. Total
Album: Mr. Smith
Once again please bear with me on this one too. I know I coulda picked “Doin’ It” or “I Shot Ya (remix)”, but this one is my favorite for a few reasons. One is that the song for this video was a remix not on the album Mr. Smith and back it good old ’95, you couldn’t just go on the net and download it, you had to wait for the single to drop at you local Turtles or Camelot. This video had all the clichés of the time: LL riding in the Lex, Funkmaster Flex at the turntables, crowd bouncing, etc. But another thing that brought it home for your boy is thick ass Keisha from Total. Yea, like most dudes back then, I thought she was gonna be one of my baby mommas. Damn you Omar Epps, damn you.
10. “Holla Holla” – Ja Rule
Album: Venni Vetti Vecci
Yea I know, you hating already. You right, it’s all women, cars, and uh …Ja Rule. But come on, Brazil and it’s women are beautiful. This video did produce some memorable scenes: Remember the Soul Train line of women on the strip? What about the one with Irv Gotti driving a lowrider down the street with Ja energetically running and jumping besides it? And wait, wasn’t this video Gloria Velez jump off? (Okay, it wasn’t if you went to a Luther Campbell show but you know what I mean.)