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Harold "Hype" Williams (born 1970 in Queens, New Yorkmarker) is an American music video and film director of African-American and Honduran descent. The son of working-class parents, he grew up wanting to be a painter. Williams 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 Basquiat or Keith Haring of the streets." .


"Hype" Williams was so named by writing partner Muse One, who taught him the ins and outs of graffiti. He was also mentored by "Fargo" in graffiti culture. Williams began his film-making career when he left Adelphi University in Garden City, NY, and joined with fellow graffiti writers Mike "Muse" Alexander and Ricardo "Phyz" Springer to create SOTA (State of the Art Productions). Other notable SOTA members include San Diego, Ca graffiti kings and two time EMMY award winning artist, Ken "Quasar" Thompson and Chris "Sake" Kinney. Under that umbrella SOTA created logo and album cover designs for many hip-hop artists of the time. Their big break came when they began working with Classic Concepts Video Productions. Lionel "Vid Kid" Martin & VJ Ralph McDaniels used SOTA for art direction in many of their videos and created Hype's first opportunity with the "Filmakers With Attitude" moniker (FWA), which was Hype's first video company. SOTA's development of the "Rhythm Is The Master" promotion for Polygram/Van Gibbs/Chuck Chillout Album project projected SOTA and Hype's artistic foresight ahead of the rest. The writing and drawing of the comic book, with Michael "The Talent" Laing as main artist, set SOTA ahead of the pack, as their work on the video of the same title broke ground for animation in a hip-hop video.

Williams is notable for creating a number of groundbreaking and successful music videos for hip hop and R&B artists such as The Notorious B.I.G. ("Warning") & ("One More Chance"), Craig Mack ("Flava In Ya Ear"), LL Cool J ("Doin' It"), Nas ("If I Ruled The World ", "Street Dreams", "Hate Me Now"), Missy Elliott ("The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)", "She's a Bitch"), Busta Rhymes ("Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See"), TLC ("No Scrubs"), Kelis ("Caught Out There"), and Jay-Z ("Big Pimpin'"), Aaliyah ("Rock The Boat").

In 1998, he directed his first feature film, Belly.

Awards Williams has received for his video work include the Billboard Music Video Award for Best Director of the Year (1996), the Jackson Limo Award for Best Rap Video of the Year (1996) for Busta Rhymes' "Woo Hah," the NAACP Image Award (1997), the 8th annual MVPA Award for Black Music Achievement (1997), MTV Video Music Award in the Best Rap Video (1998) category for Will Smith's "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It," MTV Video Music Award for Best Group Video (1999) for TLC's "No Scrubs", and the BET Award for Best Director (2006) for Kanye West's “Gold Digger”.

In 2006, Williams was honored by MTV with its Video Vanguard Award, presented in honor of his achievements, as Kanye West would put it, as a "film maker." He received a standing ovation.


A signature style used by Williams throughout the vast majority of his videos in the 1990s and early 2000s was the Fisheye lens which distorted the camera view around the central focus. This was used by Williams to great effect with the magnification of recording artists, actors, and props such as cars, body parts and highly-glossy sunglasses which reflected the production backlight (as demonstrated in "Gimme Some More" by Busta Rhymes and "The Rain " by Missy Elliott); however, this was dropped by 2003, when he had experienced his lowest level of production activity since the beginning of his career as a music video director.

Another "signature style", although not exhibited in all videos, involves placing shots in regular widescreen ratio, while a second shot is split and placed in the upper and lower bars. Videos that use this style include "Diamonds on my Neck" by Smitty, "I Ain't Heard of That" by Slim Thug, "So Sick" by Ne-Yo, "In My Hood" by Young Jeezy, "Check On It" by Beyoncé, "Snap Yo Fingers" by Lil Jon and many others.

Finally, since 2003, Williams has adopted a signature style which combines 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, so as to give a sense of illumination of the background by the foreground subject. This has been displayed in "Gold Digger" by Kanye West and "Digital Girl" (Remix) by Jamie Foxx et al.



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