Hype Williams Reflects on Wu-Tang Clan Hating His "Can It All Be So Simple" Music Video

Speaking with Complex, the legendary music video director admitted the Wu-Tang visual was "the first time I didn't suck."

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Hype Williams considers the music video for the Wu-Tang Clan's "Can It All Be So Simple" to be the first time he "got it right" as a video director. Everyone in Wu-Tang did not see it the same way.

Williams sat down with Aria Hughes for a lengthy Complex interview where he discussed his decades-long career as the premier director in the music business. The 53-year-old said he started out as an aspiring filmmaker who saw directing music videos as great experience.

"I was just trying to get a hold of a camera to make movies," Williams explained. "Videos gave me the opportunity that I thought film school didn't."

Hype directed quite a few videos before "Can It All Be So Simple," but everything just seemed to click with that one.

"'Can It Be' was like ’93. That was the first one I can remember where I got it right. Meaning like, here's what I wanted to accomplish and it looked like what I wanted it to look like," he recalled. "The prior stuff was always like, 'Oh, this shit sucks. You suck. You're no good.' 'Can It Be' was the first time I didn't suck."

"Somehow the photography was flawless," Williams continued. "Like every moment that we caught was perfect. Perfect light."

While Hype was pleased with what he made, Wu-Tang felt the opposite. "The biggest problem we had was those guys," he said of the group. "They were young superstars. They were uncontrollable, and they all hated the video. When I finished it I thought it was a masterpiece. So once they said they hated it, we had these horror edit sessions."

When asked why exactly they hated the video, Hype saw the whole situation as water under the bridge. However, at the time, Williams remembers how the negative reception among the group led to quite a hostile environment.

"We were kids. Who knows? It's irrelevant," he said. "It was just whatever they thought it was supposed to be, what I did wasn't it. So we had huge fights and arguments and violent outbursts, RZA especially, because they thought I had cheated them and didn't do a good video. But with 'Can It Be' it was the first time I knew for a fact they were wrong."

Hype's confidence in the video was rewarded with a co-sign from Diddy and Bad Boy. They were among the first to realize that the "Can It All Be So Simple" video was going to change everything for him. It didn't take long for everyone else to see it.

"All of us knew and loved 36 Chambers, but the 'Can It Be' video was proof. Then everything after that became clear. I could just do things cinematically and it didn't matter what anyone else thought," Hype said. "Like, it didn't matter if people liked it or didn't like it because I knew what I was doing. So fuck everybody. Even fuck the artist. Because you motherfuckers are gonna thank me later. And guess what? They all thanked me later."

Read Aria Hughes' full Hype Williams conversation here, and catch some of his biggest collaborators—including Jay-Z—reflecting on his body of work here.

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