Spike Jonze’s videos have never been a part of the ordinary, generally accepted style of music videos that MTV favored. Whether you are analyzing Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage”, Biggie’s “Sky’s The Limit”, Kanye’s and Jay-z’s 3-minutes lasting braggadocious take on “Otis”, “Weapon Of Choice” by Fatboy Slim or simply everything he did for Bjork, Spike Jonze has always been very far away from whats recognized as conventional. He steadily brings his A-game when its time to discover the most inventive artistic way to manifest certain themes and ideas. He even steps in front of the camera in Fatboy Slim’s “Praise You”, which is probably one of the most iconic music videos of all time. His incredible work chemistry with Bjork produced videos so remarkably fitting that it became difficult to listen to the tunes without watching the videos as well. The video for Pharcyde’s “Drop” pioneered a technique so unusual and freakish that was fully adopted by a great number of younger video directors. From a production that was aimed to pay a tribute to the classic 70’s Cop shows, came out “Sabotage” which is still one of the most recognizable pieces of artwork in the entire history of music videos. Besides his iconic work on music videos, Spike Jonze had quite a success on the big screen too. “Being John Malkovich”, “Adaptation”, “Where The Wild Things Are” including the latest classic “Her” are all extraordinary works of art that demonstrate the incredible craft and vision of Spike Jonze, the former member of the kinky Jackass crew.
The New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts alumna achieved to snatch two Grammys while producing some of the most valuable videos for two of the most dominant female icons of our generation. Melina Matsoukas regularly strives for mind-blowing videos with well-conceptualized stories that unfailingly provoke intense reactions and excitement. The story that drifts towards the influence of slavery on black love and marriage swiftly became the anthem that we know as Beyonce’s “Formation”, the video, influential as much as the song is, became a depiction of black female empowerment. The video is overflowing with Afrocentric motifs and lots of evocations associated with the slavery and the whole Southern culture as well. Beyond Aunt Yonce, Melina had a chance to prove her genius by working with major artists like Rihanna with who she won a Grammy for “We Found Love”, Lady Gaga, Lily Allen, Kylie Minogue, Whitney Houston, Ciarra, all of which she successfully delivered to portray as very powerful independent female figures with even more powerful socio-political beliefs.
Dave Meyers portfolio is something that one simply has to admire and honor. Working with both the biggest pop stars at the time like Britney and Pink and the greatest hip-hop figures like Jay-Z, Missy Elliot, Master P, Outkast and N.E.R.D, Dave Meyers built a magnificent career that places him in the Music Video Hall Of Fame. Even though his video library is jaw-droppingly large and of outstanding quality, the real reason behind his presence in this article is his latest work with Kendrick Lamar, the popular Messiah of hip-hop himself. Kendrick Lamar’s album “DAMN” was of such distinguished quality that an even greater music video was required for his hit single “Humble”. Dave Meyers and The Little Homies produced what certainly strikes as one of the best videos of the decade. The whole video contains a great dose of irony blended with anti-conformist motifs, enriched with deep-felt symbolics that serves Kendrick’s general idea. Working together on both “Humble” and “Loyalty”, Kendrick Lamar and Dave Meyers brought back the importance of the Music Video as a vital form concerning both political and cultural critique.
Since the mid-’90s Hype Williams has defined the form of the music video. From Biggie Smalls to Tupac Shakur to Wu-Tang Clan to Mobb Deep to Nas to Beyoncé to Kanye and Jay-Z and many more, Hype has directed hit tunes into high-quality music videos like it’s nothing. His post-apocalyptic music video for “California Love” placed both Tupac and Dr. Dre as leading roles in what is still hot hip-hop version of the movie “Mad Max”. Mr. Williams obviously didn’t stop there, three years later he portrayed Nas as Jesus Christ in the video for the song “Hate Me Now” which featured Puff Daddy. Before letting Nas catch serious media fire because of the infamous crucifixion scene, Hype Williams adjusted the general attention towards Mase and Puffy by introducing the “Shiny Suit” era of hip-hop in the classic “Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems” video. The artistically original and skillful use of fisheye lens rapidly became Hype’s own trademark. His own style and his own working formula made him the number one music video go-to guy in the whole industry. With his incredible technical work, his inventive work with colors, his absolute rejection of static camera angles and his other diverse cinematic qualities, Hype Williams in his more than 30 years lasting career triumphantly achieved to capture the music world with his camera lens. From capturing how Queens get the money, how Brooklyn goes hard, why Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nothing to f*ck with, how B.I.G loves when they call him big poppa, collaborating with pretty much all of the legends from the golden era of Hip-Hop, following Kanye on his journey full of mind-blowing adventuresome concepts and ideas for more than 10 years, to directing Travis Scott’s joints in 2017 while being as relevant as ever, Hype Williams is the true music video game changer.