Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” has sparked a dialogue on its way to accumulating over 75 million YouTube views in one week. Hype Williams weighed in on why the video has become so popular while comparing it to one of his own controversial classics: the original edit of Nas' "Hate Me Now" video.
“What you see here is the watered-down version of what went down,” Williams said at Red Bull Music Festival New York's Director's Series discussion panel, according to Billboard. “This is very important and I want everybody to know that this video was probably, for its time period, the equivalent to what Childish Gambino just did.”
Williams was pointing to a scene where Sean “Puffy” Combs re-enacts the biblical crucifixion of Jesus Christ. That scene was ultimately cut from the final version of “Hate Me Now,” but not before MTV aired an unedited version of the video.
“The first edit of this video at this time had to be the greatest thing anyone has ever seen,” Williams added. “Because of who Puff was and where he was going, he needed a release so he had no restraints filming this video. The things that he did and the things we filmed him doing were so radical when edited to this music, I couldn’t even describe it, but at this time, the greatest thing we’ve ever seen was Puff as a special effect, something that I feel is happening with Childish.”
Donald Glover, who records under the alias Childish Gambino, declined to explain the themes of his “This Is America” video during a recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. “I’ll just let it be,” Glover said.
You can watch the full lecture below.