Hype Williams

Last updated
Hype Williams
Harold Williams

July 1970 (age 48)
  • Music video director
  • film director
  • film producer
  • screenwriter
Years active1991–present

Harold "Hype" Williams (born July 1970) is an American music video director, film director, film producer, and screenwriter.


Early life

Williams was born in Queens, New York. He is of African-American and Honduran descent. [1] He attended Adelphi University. [2] He first displayed his work by tagging local billboards, storefronts, and playgrounds using HYPE as his graffiti tag. His graffiti style was influenced by artists like Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. His big break came when he began working with Classic Concepts Video Productions. Lionel "Vid Kid" Martin and VJ Ralph McDaniels created Williams' first opportunity with the Filmmakers With Attitude moniker (FWA), which was Williams' first video company. [2]

Hondurans people from Honduras or of Honduran descent

Hondurans are people inhabiting in, originating from, or having significant heritage from Honduras. Most Hondurans live in Honduras, although there is also a significant Honduran diaspora, particularly in the United States, with smaller communities in other countries around the world. There are also people living in Honduras who are not Hondurans, because they were not born or raised in Honduras, nor have they yet gained citizenship.

Adelphi University

Adelphi University is a private university in Garden City, New York. Adelphi also has centers in Manhattan, Hudson Valley, and Suffolk County. It is the oldest institution of higher education in suburban Long Island.

Graffiti Drawings and paintings on walls

Graffiti is writing or drawings made on a wall or other surface, usually without permission and within public view. Graffiti ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings, and it has existed since ancient times, with examples dating back to ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, and the Roman Empire.


Music videos

Awards Williams has received for his video work include the Billboard Music Video Award for Best Director of the Year (1996), the Jackson Limo Award for Best Rap Video of the Year (1996) for Busta Rhymes' "Woo Hah!! Got You All in Check", the NAACP Image Award (1997), the 8th annual Music Video Production Association Award for Black Music Achievement (1997), MTV Video Music Award in the Best Rap Video (1998) category for Will Smith's "Gettin' Jiggy wit It", MTV Video Music Award for Best Group Video (1999) for TLC's "No Scrubs", and the BET Award for Best Director (2006) for Kanye West's "Gold Digger". [3] In 2006, Williams was honored by MTV with its Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, presented in honor of his achievements as a filmmaker. [4]

<i>Billboard</i> (magazine) American music magazine

Billboard is an American entertainment media brand owned by the Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group, a division of Eldridge Industries. It publishes pieces involving news, video, opinion, reviews, events, and style, and is also known for its music charts, including the Hot 100 and Billboard 200, tracking the most popular songs and albums in different genres. It also hosts events, owns a publishing firm, and operates several TV shows.

Busta Rhymes American rapper, actor from New York

Trevor George Smith Jr., known by his stage name Busta Rhymes, is an American rapper, singer, musician, record producer, record executive, and actor. Chuck D of Public Enemy gave him the moniker Busta Rhymes, after NFL and CFL wide receiver George "Buster" Rhymes. He is best known for his outlandish style and fashion sense depicted in several innovative music videos as well as his intricate rhyming technique, rapping at high speed with heavy use of internal rhyme and half rhyme. He has received 11 Grammy Award nominations for his work.

Woo Hah!! Got You All in Check single by Busta Rhymes

"Woo Hah!! Got You All In Check" is a song recorded by American hip hop artist Busta Rhymes. The song was his debut single as a solo artist, from his album The Coming (1996).

In the December 2007 issue of Playboy magazine, Williams shot the photographs for cover subject Kim Kardashian. [5]

<i>Playboy</i> Mens lifestyle and entertainment magazine based in Chicago

Playboy is an American men's lifestyle and entertainment magazine. It was founded in Chicago in 1953, by Hugh Hefner and his associates, and funded in part by a $1,000 loan from Hefner's mother. Notable for its centerfolds of nude and semi-nude models (Playmates), Playboy played an important role in the sexual revolution and remains one of the world's best-known brands, having grown into Playboy Enterprises, Inc. (PEI), with a presence in nearly every medium. In addition to the flagship magazine in the United States, special nation-specific versions of Playboy are published worldwide.

Kim Kardashian American television and social media personality

Kimberly Noel Kardashian West is an American media personality, businesswoman, socialite, and model. Kardashian first gained media attention as a friend and stylist of Paris Hilton, but received wider notice after a 2003 sex tape with her former boyfriend Ray J was leaked in 2007. Later that year, she and her family began to appear in the E! reality television series Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Its success soon led to the creation of spin-offs including Kourtney and Kim Take New York and Kourtney and Khloé Take Miami.

In 2008, Williams directed Kanye West's video for "Heartless". [6] He also directed the music video for his single "All of the Lights", which premiered on February 19, 2011. [7]

Kanye West American rapper, singer, and record producer from Illinois

Kanye Omari West is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, entrepreneur, and fashion designer. His musical career has been marked by dramatic changes in styles, incorporating an eclectic range of influences including soul, baroque pop, electro, indie rock, synth-pop, industrial, and gospel. Over the course of his career, West has been responsible for cultural movements and progressions within mainstream hip hop and popular music at large.

Heartless (Kanye West song) 2008 single by Kanye West

"Heartless" is a song by American hip hop artist Kanye West, released on November 4, 2008 digitally as the second single for his fourth studio album, 808s & Heartbreak. The song has received critical acclaim, with many calling it a highlight of its parent album. It debuted at the number four spot on the Billboard Hot 100 where it eventually peaked at number two and reached number-one on the Billboard Hot Rap Tracks and U.S. Hot 100 Airplay chart. The song's music video, which makes use of rotoscoped animation, received praise from critics, who complimented its art style and noted its innovation.

"All of the Lights" is a song by American rapper Kanye West, as the fourth single from his fifth studio album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010). It was produced by West and features additional vocals from several other recording artists, including John Legend, The-Dream, Elly Jackson, Alicia Keys, Fergie, Kid Cudi, Elton John, Drake, and Rihanna; the latter is the only credited feature on the single.

As of 2014, Kanye West holds the artist record for working the most times with Williams; the two have collaborated on 20 music videos, beginning in 2005 with the music video for "Diamonds from Sierra Leone". Busta Rhymes is second behind West, collaborating with Williams on 16 music videos, beginning with debut solo music video "Everything Remains Raw" / "Woo Hah!! Got You All in Check".

Diamonds from Sierra Leone 2005 song by Kanye West

"Diamonds from Sierra Leone" is a song by American hip-hop artist Kanye West. It was released on July 4, 2005, as the lead single of his second studio album, Late Registration. The song includes a sample of the song "Diamonds Are Forever" by Shirley Bassey and Bassey had praise for West after he sampled it. The song peaked at number 43 on the Billboard Hot 100, was moderately successful on the iTunes music service, and peaked at number 8 on the UK Top 40. It won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Song at the 48th Grammy Awards.

Feature and short films

In 1998, he directed his first and so far his only feature film to date, Belly , starring rappers Nas and DMX, the film released by Artisan Entertainment. In 1999, Williams signed a two-year overall deal with New Line Cinema to produce and direct feature films. His first film with New Line, Mothership [8] died in development. Later that year, Williams was in negotiations with MTV to develop an animated series which was described as a behind-the-scenes look at the world of music and celebrities. The project also died in development. [9]

<i>Belly</i> (film) 1998 film by Hype Williams

Belly is a 1998 American crime drama film, directed by music video director Hype Williams, in his film directing debut. Filmed in New York City, the film stars rappers DMX and Nas, alongside Taral Hicks, Method Man, and R&B singer T-Boz.

Nas American rapper, record executive and entrepreneur from New York

Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones, known professionally as Nas, is an American rapper, songwriter and entrepreneur. The son of jazz musician Olu Dara, Nas has released eight consecutive platinum and multi-platinum albums and has sold over 30 million records worldwide. He is also an entrepreneur through his own record label; he serves as associate publisher of Mass Appeal magazine and the co-founder of Mass Appeal Records.

DMX (rapper) American rapper and actor

Earl Simmons, known professionally as DMX, is an American rapper and actor. He began rapping in the early 1990s, and released his debut album, It's Dark and Hell Is Hot in 1998 to both critical acclaim and commercial success, selling 251,000 copies within its first week of release. He released his best-selling album,... And Then There Was X, in 1999, which included the hit single "Party Up ". Since debuting in 1998, DMX has released seven studio albums.

In 2000, Williams was hired to direct the Warner Bros. film Speed Racer . He left the project the following year, with the film being released in 2008 under the direction of The Wachowskis. [10]

In 2003, Walt Disney Pictures purchased a zombie horror film Thrilla, which Williams wrote. The project died in development, with Gavin Polone attached to produce. [11]

In 2010, Williams was the writer for the Kanye West-directed short film Runaway . [12]

Plagiarism accusation

In November 2015, filmmaker Gaspar Noé accused Williams of plagiarizing the opening credit sequence of his film Enter the Void in the video for Kanye West's "All of the Lights". [13]


A signature style used by Williams throughout the vast majority of his videos (shot mostly with cinematographer John Perez) was the Fisheye lens which distorted the camera view around the central focus. This was used by the tandem Williams/Perez in "Gimme Some More" by Busta Rhymes and "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)" by Missy Elliott; however, it was dropped by 2003, when he experienced his lowest level of production activity since the beginning of his career as a music video director.

Another "signature style" involves placing shots in regular widescreen ratio, while a second shot is split and placed in the upper and lower bars. Videos that use this style include "Diamonds on My Neck" by Smitty, "I Ain't Heard of That" by Slim Thug, "So Sick" by Ne-Yo, "My Hood" by Young Jeezy, "Gomenasai" by t.A.T.u., "Check on It" by Beyoncé, "Freeze" by LL Cool J, "Snap Yo Fingers" by Lil Jon and many others. In addition to this, he frequently utilizes aerial and tracking shots which often move backwards or forwards, some techniques which can often be seen in "Rock the Boat" by Aaliyah, "She's a Bitch" by Missy Elliott, "Not Myself Tonight" by Christina Aguilera and "Only U" by Ashanti. Further style traits include the use of slow motion action, deep focus, and smooth cutting.

Since 2003, Williams has adopted a signature style combining a center camera focus on the artist or actor's body from the torso upward and a solid color background with a soft different-color light being shown in the center of the background, so as to give a sense of illumination of the background by the foreground subject. This has been displayed in "Gold Digger" by Kanye West, "Digital Girl" (Remix) by Jamie Foxx, "Video Phone" by Beyoncé, and “Barbie Dreams” by Nicki Minaj


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This is a list is of music videos directed by Hype Williams.

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