Last night, Kanye West
and DJ Khaled
released a Hype Williams-directed video for their two collaborations -- "I Wish You Would" and the formerly-cold-medicine-titled, presently-PETA-hated "Cold" -- and one thing really got to us. Not the fact that these guys smashed two songs into one video. Not even the fact that Kim K makes an appearance, further pushing what it means to be a celebrity couple in the 21st century -- I mean really, who else would make a cameo in a video right as her current boyfriend was spitting a line debasing her ex-husband? But no, we were mostly thrown off by how increasingly unwatchable Hype Williams' videos have become.
Possibly moving on from his love of hued strobe lights (see Kanye's "All of the Lights"
and Nicki Minaj's "Stupid Hoe"
) but sticking with his Gaspar Noe
-ripped adoration for font animation (seen first on "All of the Lights," then on Kim K's own "Jam,"
Big Sean's "Marvin & Chardonnay,"
and Brandy's "Put It Down"
), now Williams has found a new way to make our brains hurt -- let's call it the "Earthquake Cam," which Hype actually dabbled with on Lil Wayne's "6 Foot 7 Foot"
and Busta Rhymes' "Why Stop Now"
But "I Wish You Would"/"Cold" is on another level. The video is full-on Earthquake Cam for a fish-eyed lense six minutes, and it might actually be more frustrating to watch than Williams' previously stroberific efforts. Honestly, we'd be surprised if you can survive the whole thing -- before toughing it out for "journalistic" purposes, I lasted about 30 seconds.
For the rap game's premier video director, the guy behind larger-than-life productions like Tupac's "California Love"
and Notorious B.I.G.'s "Mo Money Mo Problems,"
this low-budget dependecy on camera tricks and post-production is a seriously disappointing turn in artistic style. Hype Williams was a tastemaker in the late 90's (just look at Marcus Nispel's Hype-riff for The Fugees' "Ready or Not"
), and he is partly responsible for taking hip-hop out of the inner-city and ushering in the era of extravagance, but now the only thing he's bringing to hip-hop too is photosensitive epilepsy. And the horrible thing is that no matter what, he continues to be a trendsetter, displayed by the Mike Carson and Mike Waxx-directed video for Big Sean's "Dance (A$$)."
Hype Williams' importance to hip-hop is undeniable, and some of his work has been brilliant. But as of late he's definitely lost his way, and it's not like he's ever going to stop making videos. We just hope that he rediscovers his flair for absurd/epic hip-hop storytelling and theatrics, instead of finding more new ways to give us migraines.
See the "I Wish You Would"/"Cold" video below.