If you ever watched MTV or BET in the 1990s or 2000s, then you already know how Hype Williams made his fortune. He's one of the most prolific and creative music video directors ever.
Born Harold Williams in Queens, NY, on July 11, 1970. He gained his nickname through this hyperactive nature (which would play in his favor later). While attending Adelphi University, Hype demonstrated his creativity, as a tag artist. Making up storefronts and playgrounds with graffiti in the style of his heroes Keith Hering and Jean Basquiat.
His first big break came when he began working at a video production company called Classic Concepts. Williams was given the opportunity to film his first music video, with a group called BWP on a song entitled, We Want Money.
From there, the owners of the video company helped Hype open up his own film company, which he named FMA (Filmmakers With Attitude).
As Hype worked on developing his brand, he also honed his creativity. It was during FMA's infancy that he worked on camera techniques for music videos, known today as the fish eye and illumination of the artist. He also used a split screen ( while common for television and film, it was not yet regularly used in music videos. Let's find out more about Hype Williams net worth.
How Hype Williams Net Worth Of $14 Million Was Achieved
As word of his unique style and overall genius spread, some huge names began clamoring to have their music videos directed by Williams. He shot to fame with masterpieces from artists like:
- TLC - No Scrubs
- Kanye West - Gold Digger
- Will Smith - Gettin' Jiggy Wit' It
- Dr. Dre - Still Dre
- Beyonce - Phone and Crazy In Love
- Biggie Smalls - Big Poppa
- Hi Coldplay - Viva La Vida
- Jay Z - 99 Problems
- Tupac - California Love
- Biggie Smalls/Diddy - Mo Money, Mo Problems
These just scratch the surface, as he's also worked on projects with other artists including:
- Mariah Carey
- Nicki Minaj
- Alicia Keys
- LL Cool J
- Snoop Dogg
- Janet Jackson
- Missy Elliott
- Busta Rhymes
- Craig Mack
These are just some of the big name artists that Hype has directed over the years. He often charged $500,000 dollars for one video. The artists happily paid because they knew their videos would be stand-out hits with Williams at the helm. So it's easy to see where much of his fortune came from.
In 1998, Hype directed the film Belly. The crime drama, starring many of the music artists he'd worked with, made a respectable $9.6 million at the box office. Then in 2007, Kim Kardashian hired Williams as the photographer for her Playboy Cover. Projects like these have added to Hype Williams' net worth. At the end of the day, it was Hype Williams' unique vision, creativity, and hard work that made him a $14 million fortune.
What Is Hype Williams Doing Today?
After working with just about every major rap and R&B artist over a 20 year span, Williams has slowed down a bit. He is more discerning about what projects he takes on.
After winning several awards, like a Billboard music award for best director and an MTV Video Vanguard Award, he had nothing left to prove. Especially since his signature styles were being used by just about every director on a music video set. He felt the market was being saturated with imitators, so he took a step back.
He recently took on a passion project that he's shared with the world. It also exemplifies in print how he amassed his fortune. He revamped his Instagram.
He was never one for posting too much on the platform. But, Hype decided he would take some of the thousands of photos he accumulated over the years and share them. The result was a nostalgic chronicle of both his professional and personal life. A veritable behind the scenes history of the roots of rap and modern R&B.
Williams has posted photos of him hobnobbing with celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Sarah Jessica Parker at Diddy's exclusive Hampton's white party. Then there's the very touching series of photos of him photographing the iconic, late Lisa "Left Eye" Lopez, shortly before her death in Honduras.
These and the many other legendary photos he's uploaded to the platform prove he was not just a guy with a camera, but a well-respected, sought-after, and trusted member of the music community. A man that helped to launch the careers of many.
Who Are Some Other Music Video Directors Whose Work We Know?
Though Hype is one an originator and the master of hip-hop videos, there are a few other directors that deserve a tip of the hat. Their work is exceptional in their own right.
1. Antoine Fuqua
Fuqua is known for his hauntingly beautiful, often black and white videos, like, The Most Beautiful Girl In The World, by Prince and Gangsta's Paradise, by Coolio. He also directed the full-length hit, Training Day.
2. David Slade
Slade directed such hits as Sour Girl, by Stone Temple Pilots and Ariels, by System of a Down. He was also the director of the Twilight installment, Eclipse.
3. Mark Romanek
Romanek is another prolific director who shot videos like Jay Z's, 99 Problems, Lenny Kravitz's Are You Gonna Go My Way, and Scream with Michael and Janet Jackson.
4. Spike Jonze
An eclectic director, Jonze has taken on music video projects like The Beastie Boys, Sabotage and Weezer's, Buddy Holly. He directed the film, Being John Malkovich and is one of the creative forces behind the Jackass franchise.
5. Michael Bay
Bay started his career as the director of the Divinyls video, I Touch Myself and Meatloaf's, I Would Do Anything For Love. He went on to direct Armageddon and Transformers.
6. David Fincher
Fincher was the genius behind Madonna's Truth or Dare period, directing such cinematic beauties as Express Yourself and Vogue. He also directed Freedom for George Michael. Fincher went on to a successful career in film with movies like Fight Club.
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Written by Allen Lee
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