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Palm Spins Out Hype Williams DVD

1 Sep, 2006 By: Jessica Wolf

MTV last night honored urban music video director Hype Williams with its coveted Video Vanguard award at the network's annual Video Music Awards show.

Palm Pictures celebrates his career with the DVD Hype Williams: The Videos Vol. One, which Palm quickly spruced up for a Sept. 12 re-release timed to the director's MTV award.

Hype Williams: The Videos Vol. One includes videos for “Big Pimpin’ by Jay-Z, “No Scrubs” by TLC, “Holla Holla” by Ja Rule, “Can It Be All So Simple” by Wu-Tang Clan, “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See” by Busta Rhymes, and others, as well as commentary and interviews with Williams.

Palm originally released the DVD in 2003, well before the independent label launched its “Directors Series” line, the extras-packed releases that showcase the work of other noted music video/feature film directors such as Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry and Chris Cunningham.

“Hype was the first director we worked with,” said Lisa Nishimura-Seese, GM of Palm. “He's so amazing and so passionate about music. He's worked with all the heavy hitters in the urban world, and he's got this kind of rags-to-riches story.”

The director worked his way up in the business, doing various production jobs, before becoming a director.

“I was like the universal gofer guy at the beginning,” Williams said.

Now, he's directed more than 200 music videos for some of the most popular rap and hip-hop hitmakers in the industry, such as Kanye West, Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliot, TLC, Wu Tang Clan and many others. Williams also directed the 1998 crime drama Belly.

MTV doesn't bestow its Vanguard Award every year. It goes to an artist who has had a major impact on MTV culture. The last one went to Duran Duran in 2003. The first rap artist ever honored was LL Cool J in 1998.

“I think I am the first director to get it in my genre,” Williams said. “I'm really proud of that, that MTV would choose their 25th anniversary to celebrate hip-hop.”

Palm and Williams are making the most out of the award, pumping fans up with a new Web site, www.hypewilliams.com, and a new MySpace.com page for the director. Williams and his DVD also will be heavily featured on the MTV and Palm Pictures Web sites.

Williams recorded a Q&A session Palm will release through its Web portals in support of the DVD re-release, along with autographed-copy give-aways of the DVD. Palm also is reaching out to urban radio stations in top markets to promote the title.

There should be great momentum of visibility for Williams, Nishimura-Seese said. MTV typically replays its award show throughout September, and a lengthy segment of this year's show is devoted to Williams, his work and the stars with whom he's worked.

Williams himself said he has plenty of future plans in mind, including another feature film and a TV project with MTV that he hopes will “reinvent the music video.”

“It's time for a change,” he said.

In the early days, making a music video was all about creativity and artistic vision and connecting that visual expression to the song, Williams said. Many artists and directors, including himself and the musicians he works with, still approach a video that way.

But the music video has taken on the role of a “commercial,” Williams said.

“It stands out and stands alone as an advertisement,” he said. “That may not be the intention in creating it, but that's the way the marketing people seem to use it.”

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