Harold “Hype” Williams was born in Queens, New York in 1970. From 1991 until today, he has been one of the biggest and most influential music video and film directors. His nickname “Hype” comes from his hyperactive nature as a child. He first displayed his work by tagging local billboards, storefronts and playgrounds, using “HYPE” as his graffiti tag. “That’s probably what stimulated my interests in color”, he says. “I wanted to be Basquait or Keith Haring of the streets”.
Hype’s videos set new standards in the business and he turns everything he does into something special. In 2006, Hype got venerated with MTV’s VMA “Video Vanguard Award” for his work on memorable clips, starring big names like The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac, Jay-Z and Mariah Carey. Kanye West, who presented the award to him, especially honered Hype’s signature style. Williams was the first who used the “Fisheye lense”, which distorted the camera view around the central focus (as seen in Busta Rhymes “Gimme some more”) and videos, where he placed shots in regular widescreen ratio, while a second shot is split and placed in the upper and lower bars. This technique was used in many videos, like Beyoncé’s “Check on it” or “So sick” by Ne-Yo.
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. This technique allows a sense of illumination of the background by the foreground subject, as seen, for instance, in Kanye West’s “Gold Digger” or “Video Phone” by Beyoncé and Lady Gaga. When Kanye West held his laudation on Hype, he said: “If you wanna be number one, you gotta work hard, you gotta pray hard… and you gotta get Hype Williams!”
Nas ft. Laurin Hill “If I ruled the world”
R. Kelly “I belive I can fly”
Pharrell Williams “Angel”
Lil’ Wayne ft. Corey Gunz “6 Foot, 7 Foot”