Jay-Z was almost charged $1.8million by Hype Williams for a music video: “Come on, bro”

‘Are you trying to play me? You think I’m dumb?’

Hype Williams and Jay-Z. Credits: Greg Doherty/Getty Images and Kevin Winter/Getty Images.

Hype Williams and Jay-Z. Credits: Greg Doherty/Getty Images and Kevin Winter/Getty Images.

Jay-Z has revealed Hype Williams once quoted him $1.8million (£1.4million) to direct a music video for the rapper.

In a Complex feature celebrating the work of the legendary music video director, Jay-Z spoke about their collaboration for the 1997 song ‘(Always Be My) Sunshine’. The musician said back in the 90s, Williams often asked for between “$750,000 to $1 million dollars”. Jay-Z, on the other hand, was aiming more “around $20,000 (£16,400)”.


According to Jay-Z, Williams’ vision for the music video was admittedly “grand”: “It was this whole circus. I think he had elephants. I think he may have given the idea to Busta. I don’t remember exactly what it was, but I remember being blown away by it.”

However, Jay-Z was not expecting Williams to ask for $1.8million for the video. “I was like, ‘Hype, come on, bro.’ Like I got mad at him,” said the rapper. “Like are you trying to play me? You think I’m dumb?”

The final video, which featured fellow Brooklynite collaborator Foxy Brown, was a “stripped” version of Williams’ idea (and a more suitable budget).

“I learned a valuable lesson from that,” wrote Jay-Z. “Either I’m going to trust Hype’s vision or I’m going to go with another idea. Don’t condense ideas. Either shoot the brilliant idea or move to another idea. Don’t take a brilliant idea and make it less and then expect brilliant results. That’s not how life works.”

“We broke down the idea and it looks like a cheap version of what we were trying to shoot,” he continued. “So we did it to ourselves. But then you realize in hindsight that the money, it’s just money. But the visuals are priceless. The Missy video is priceless. The Busta video is priceless.”

In more recent news, Jay-Z recently returned to the stage after four years to share an ‘Empire State of Mind’ remix featuring Gil Scott-Heron. The remix interpolates Scott-Heron’s song ‘New York Is Killing Me’ from his 2011 final album, ‘I’m New Here‘.

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