You could make a strong argument that Hype Williams is the greatest music video director who has ever lived. He is, at the very least, top-five. With his clips for people like Biggie Smalls, 2PAc, Missy Elliott, and Busta Rhymes, Williams more or less figured out the visual presentation of rap music in the ’90s, which means he was hugely important in figuring out how to sell that music to the world. Wllliams also directed the 1998 movie Belly, which isn’t exactly a narrative masterpiece but which absolutely slaps as long as you watch it as a long-form music video. Williams doesn’t direct too many videos these days. When he does, it’s news.
Last year, the Buffalo rap crew Griselda — Westside Gunn, Conway The Machine, and Benny The Butcher — made their long-promised debut for Eminem’s Shady Records, releasing the guttural and market-unfriendly album WWCD. Griselda did nothing to clean up their sound, basically just making gun-talk threats over lurching, discordant beats for the entire running time. This music is firmly and proudly out of step with right-now rap music, so it’s immensely cool that they brought out Hype Williams to direct their video for the heavy neck-snap single “Dr Birds.”
For the song’s brand-new video, Williams goes back to his “Flava In Ya Ear (Remix)” playbook, filming the three rappers in black-and-white against a plain-white background. We also get kaleidoscopic swirls of fluorescent-colored guns. It is both ridiculous and cool as hell. Trust Hype Williams, the great ’90s auteur, to make this extremely ’90s rap music look glamorous. Watch the video below.
WWCD is out now on Shady Records.