In the 1990s and early 2000s, urban music videos were different. Million dollar budgets, video vixens ruled social currency, and hundreds of extras were commonplace. Video directors like Hype Williams and Benny Boom had free range and seemingly unlimited money to bring even their wildest ideas to life.
Nowadays, directors are hired with the tasks of delivering high-quality music videos at the fraction of the cost. Fortunately, advances in technology have made the job of quality camera work attainable without breaking the bank, and a new class of directors has emerged as the go-to professionals behind the lens.
Here’s a list of video directors to check the credits for in 2019 and beyond:
If we’re talking video directors in 2019, Dave Meyers is the cream of the crop. Dave would be the guy who lit Kendrick Lamar’s head on fire for the “HUMBLE.” video. The visionary behind Travis Scott and Drake’s trippy “Sicko Mode” video, and alongside Ariana Grande, he convinced us all that “God Is a Woman.” One of the more seasoned directors on this list, Meyers was a go-to director in Missy Elliot’s heyday, and he’s still around churning out some of the best video work in music.
Name an artist and Collin Tilley has probably worked with them. Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda,” that was him. Future’s “Mask Off,” Tilley again. DJ Snake’s “Taki Taki,” I’m sure you’re starting to get the picture. This award-winning Director is as sought-after as they come in music video production.
She’s the only woman on this list and she doesn’t boast as many credits. After directing Drake’s last handful of phenomenal visuals “God’s Plan,” “In My Feelings,” “Nice For What” and “I’m Upset,” Karena Evans is as noteworthy as any director in 2019.
He’s credited with breaking some of the newest class of hip-hop superstars. Juice WLRD, YNW Melly, and Lil Skies all enlist the 22-year-old director and his Lyrical Lemonade brand. With a YouTube channel of over 8 million subscribers, Cole Bennett’s music video reign isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
The Little Homies:
This may be a little known hip-hop fact, but Kendrick Lamar, with the help of Top Dawg Ent. President Dave Free, directs a number of his own videos. The duo, collectively known as The Little Homies, have called the TDE directorial shots since creating videos for “Poetic Justice” and “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe.” Most recently, The Little Homies were the visionaries for the Black Panther-inspired “All The Stars” featuring SZA, and Jay Rock’s “King’s Dead.”
Big Sean is known for having some of the best visuals in hip-hop, and he owes that title, in part, to Mike Carson’s creative direction. The director behind Big Sean classic videos like “Guap,” “Paradise,” and “Dance (A$$) Remix,” has also lent his services to rap stars like Pusha T, Casey Veggies and the late Mac Miller.
He directed arguably the best work of 2019 for the City Girls featuring Cardi B’s NSFW “Twerk” video. If that’s not enough, Daps is also the director behind visuals for the Migos “Bad and Boujee” and “Plug Walk” by Rich The Kid.