Hype Williams is easily one of the more recognizable names when it comes to the evolution of music videos in Hip-Hop. The visual veteran is known for his trailblazing point of view, developing a recognizable aesthetic throughout the 90s and 2000s, directing for everyone from Wu-Tang, Usher, Tupac, A Tribe Called Quest, Missy Elliott, TLC, Big Sean, Drake, among Eminem among many others. The list easily goes on and on.
Most recently while speaking on a panel with Red Bull’s Music Festival New York Director’s Series, the famed videographer took a trip down memory lane, touching on his iconic videos and naturally, his controversial video for Nas and Puffy’s “Hate Me Now” video came up in the discussion.
Williams broke things down by first revealing that while still controversial, what we know to be the video is actually a “watered down” version of the original edit.
“What you see here is the watered-down version of what went down,” he explains. “This is very important.” You’ll recall that we’ve known about an original edit that featured Diddy being crucified on the cross, but because of Puff’s faith, he axed the scene out of concern for blasphemy. He even infamously assaulted Nas’s manager Steve Stoute when that edit aired on MTV without his knowledge.
He went on to compare the controversy stirred and the significance of the clip to the equivalent of what we’re seeing now with Childish Gambino’s recent “This Is America” video. “I want everybody to know that this video was probably, for its time period, the equivalent to what Childish Gambino just did.”
He added: “The first edit of this video at this time had to be the greatest thing anyone has ever seen. Because of who Puff was and where he was going, he needed a release so he had no restraints filming this video. The things that he did and the things we filmed him doing were so radical when edited to this music, I couldn’t even describe it, but at this time, the greatest thing we’ve ever seen was Puff as a special effect, something that I feel is happening with Childish.”
While Diddy moved away from the role, Nas did get crucified in the “Hate Me Now” video that we know now and the rapper told Rolling Stone in 2007 that he was willing to do it beause he wanted “to get back at all those people that don’t want to see a black man doing his thing.”
Watch both clips and give us your take on Hype’s comparison.