Nobody Does It Like Hype: The 15 Best Hype Williams Music Videos
Hype Williams has been making music videos since the early 90’s. With budgets that rivaled independent movies, Williams has worked with everyone in the game from The Notorious B.I.G. to Beyonce. Here’s a look at some of the 15 best Hype Williams music videos
The Notorious B.I.G. – “Big Poppa”
The Notorious B.I.G. made waves with his first single “Juicy” but it was his second single “Big Poppa” that really helped put the Brooklyn emcee on the map. Set inside of a brownstone with a club-type atmosphere, Biggie said his rhymes while party-goers danced and others gambled over a game of dice. There were plenty of cameos in the video as well, including Mary J. Blige, Faith Evans, Busta Rhymes, Heavy D and of course Sean “Puffy” Combs, who was there in a hot tub full of women along with his then-girlfriend Misa Hylton-Brim.
Lil Wayne Featuring Cory Gunz – “6 Foot, 7 Foot”
As soon as Lil Wayne was released from Riker’s Island after serving a 10-month sentence, he immediately went into the studio. The first song he recorded was “6 Foot, 7 Foot” and he enlisted Williams’ services to shoot the video. Inspired by the film Inception, Weezy and several of his YMCMB co-horts re-enacted several scenes from the movie along with scenes that visualized many of the similes and metaphors that were said in Wayne’s rhymes.
Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliot – “Supa Dupa Fly”
Missy Elliot released her debut album Supa Dupa Fly in 1997 and the lead single was the title track song. With the video directed by Williams, Elliot performed most of the song donning a black, inflated trash bag. Williams used his signature fish eye lens for the video shoot and a slew of artists made cameo appearances, including Timbaland, Yo Yo, Lil Kim, Total, 702, Da Brat, Lil Cease and Sean “Diddy” Combs.
Busta Rhymes “Woo-Ha! Got You All In Check”
Busta Rhymes has recruited Williams’ services for a total of 16 videos. Their first collaboration together was Bussa Buss’ first single “Woo-Ha! Got You All In Check.” Shot entirely through a fish eye lens with some scenes in slow motion, the video opens up with the song “Everything Remains Raw” and shows Busta Rhymes riding through New York City’s Time Square before launching into the song. Many fans credit “Woo-Ha!” as one of the most colorful and creative hip-hop videos of all time.
R. Kelly Featuring Ron Isley – “Down Low (Nobody Has To Know)”
In “Down Low (Nobody Has To Know,” R. Kelly sang about creeping around town with another man’s woman. For the video, the man was Ron Isley playing Mr. Biggs and the two-timing woman in question was actress Garcelle Beauvais. It was all fun and games until Kellz got caught cheating with Mr. Biggs’ lady and caught a beatdown so bad he ended up in the hospital. While moving around in a wheelchair, Kelly comes across a severely beaten Beauvais who she passes away as he professes his love to her.
Puff Daddy Featuring Faith Evans And 112 – “I’ll Be Missing You”
On March 9, 1997, The Notorious B.I.G. was gunned down while exiting a Soul Train after-party. The hip-hop world lost a talented rapper while Sean “Diddy” Combs lost an artist and a close friend. He paid tribute to the fallen Brooklyn emcee with the song “I’ll Be Missing You” and recruited Big’s widow Faith Evans along with Bad Boy artists 112. The video was shot less than a month after Biggie’s death in Sydney, Australia.
Busta Rhymes Featuring Janet Jackson – “What’s It Gonna Be”
Busta Rhymes linked up with Williams once again for the “What’s It Gonna Be” video featuring Janet Jackson. Emerging from a glass of water that falls to the ground, Busta Rhymes is decked out in silver armor and in one scene he even channels Jimi Hendrix on the guitar. Jackson wears a tight, purple and black latex outfit and, of course, exudes sexuality. While the concept of the video seemed simple enough, the budget certainly wasn’t. One of the most expensive shoots done by Williams, the special-effects video cost over $2.4 million to make.
Beyonce Featuring Lady Gaga – “Video Phone (Extended Version)”
Many people thought Beyonce and Lady Gaga would never be able to put their egos aside long enough to do a song together, let alone a video but that was not the case. Beyonce collaborated with Gaga for the song “Video Phone” off of her third album. The video was shot in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and opened up with Beyonce walking down the alley with several men in suits as an homage to the film Reservoir Dogs. Fans of the superstar singers were delighted to see the two perform a synchronized dance together in the video as well.
Nas Featuring Puff Daddy – “Hate Me Now”
Nas’ “Hate Me Now” video became infamous not just for its images but what happened after the video premiered. Taking a page out of the Bible, the video depicted Nas being crucified like Jesus. Although he had no problems on the day of the shoot, later Diddy decided he wanted the scenes of him on the cross edited out. However, the wrong version was sent to MTV and soon after the video debuted on “TRL,” an angry Bad Boy Records founder and CEO barged into Steve Stoute’s office and smashed him over the head with a champagne bottle. Stoute later sued Puff and the suit was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount of money.
TLC – “No Scrubs”
TLC had a massive hit on their hands with the song “No Scrubs” and the video was just as big. Stylistically similar to Michael Jackson’s “Scream” with his baby sister Janet, the video featured three different sets for each member of TLC. It also included a dance scene with the three women placed in front of the TLC logo. Williams and TLC walked away with the MTV VMA for Best group Video in 1999, beating out N’Sync and The Backstreet Boys.
Blackstreet Ft Dr. Dre And Queen Pen – “No Diggity”
Blackstreet recruited Dr. Dre and Queen Pen for their song “No Diggity.” The video was shot at a beach clubhouse with a party going on inside and out. The video also included female dancers on a wet road in front of several limousines. The video was nominated for Best R&B Video and Best Rap Video in 1997’s MTV Video Music Awards.
Aaliyah – “Rock The Boat”
Aaliyah and her crew traveled to the beautiful island of the Bahamas to shoot the video “Rock The Boat.” Inspired by the poem “Footprints,” the video opens up with the songstress walking along the beach with the waves lapping at her feet. Afraid of water, she was also shot underneath water with the camera looking up at her as if she was floating in the sky. On the way back from the video shoot, the private plane that Aaliyah and eight others were on crashed moments after take-off, killing everyone on board.
2Pac Featuring Dr. Dre And Roger Troutman – “California Love”
After rapper 2Pac signed with Suge Knight’s Death Row Records and was released from prison, he immediately got to work. One of the first songs he recorded was “California Love” featuring Dr. Dre. Inspired by the film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, the video was shot in the desert and takes place in the year 2095. Comedian Chris Tucker was cast as the evil tribal’s yes-man with Tony Cox as a dwarf soldier. The video was nominated for Best Rap Video at the 1996 MTV VMAs.
The Notorious B.I.G. Featuring Puff Daddy And Mase – “Mo Money, Mo Problems”
The Notorious B.I.G. was gunned down in Los Angeles before his second album was released but that didn’t stop Puffy from dropping a video for the song “Mo Money, Mo Problems” featuring himself and Mase. In now infamous shiny suits, the two danced around in an air chamber that allowed them to float in mid-air while Kelly Price lip-synced to the sample of Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out.” The video also had Puff competing in a golf tournament and he received help from Biggie’s spirit to win.
Kanye West Featuring Rihanna – “All Of The Lights”
The only artist Williams has collaborated with more than Busta Rhymes is Kanye West. Working together on 19 videos, Williams also co-wrote the script for West’s short film “Runaway.” For the “All Of The Lights” video featuring Rihanna, the video included strobe-lit images of West and the Bajan singer along with KiD CuDi decked out in a red leather suit. It also contained visual references to Gaspar Noe’s 2009 film “Enter The Void.” After reports of the video causing epileptic seizures surfaced, an alternative version was released with a discretionary warning at the beginning along with the removal of the opening prologue and neon credits.