Director X, (formerly known as Little X) famous for creating videos like Aaliyah and DMX's "Come Back In One Piece" and Nicki Minaj's "Your Love," is back on the scene with a fresh visual for hip-hop's man of the hour Drake.
While fans recently geared up for the release of Drake's Rihanna-assisted video for the single "Take Care", X joined forces with Drizzy to cook up the video for another track off of Take Care titled "HYFR". Set during a re-enaction of Drake's bar mitzvah, the video features YMCMB captain Lil Wayne and a cameo from Trey Songz. Oh, and if you need another example of how dope X is, they shot the video in one day!
VIBE talked to the Renaissance Man of directing about details of the video, fun times behind the scenes, and making bank overseas doing commercials.—Keenan Higgins
VIBE: Alright, so we can just jump into it. What have you been up to before the Drake video, because I know this is your most recent video, right?
Yeah I’ve been in Europe shooting some stuff. Like, the video for The Wanted
, I shot like the summer of last year, like beginning of June or end of May and now that's floating around. It made its way across the ocean, so you see that around. Yeah, I did that, I did some stuff for Mohambe
, who is another European act. I did another video for The Wanted
, and then some commercials. Some like, Wal-Mart and McDonald’s
stuff. Stuff that people normally don’t see.
Ok, you’re keeping busy...
Yeah, Mr. International. I think I started last year with a commercial in India. So a commercial in India, a commercial in Canada, one commercial in the States, a bunch of music videos for the London market for like the UK in Europe, that kind of thing. The international thing.
Let’s talk about the Drake video. How did you guys get connected?
Oh, you know, I’ve known Drake since the Toronto days. We’ve been talking about doing a video forever, but just couldn’t quite align with the right project. Which is kind of right right now, serendipity, because this is by far his most ambitious and interesting concept, you know. This isn’t just like, “Here’s a pretty video,” you know what I’m saying. This is like, “What?!” [Laughs]. Yeah, definitely the conversation goes to, “What?!"
Before the video dropped we saw pictures of Drake on set in a suit and at a temple, people had all types of thoughts about the theme. Tell us about the plot of the video...
It’s Drake’s re-Bar Mitzvah. That’s why you see pictures of him floating around where he has like the yamaka and the prayer scarf. I saw something on the Net, “Drake makes religion cool.” No one quite understood what was going on. And then I saw a few other stories where other people figured it out, that it’s his re-Bar Mitzvah, but yeah, it’s Drake’s re-Bar Mitzvah. I’m looking at pictures right now of him standing in front of the synagogue performing.
No, it was a lot of fun. You know, you’re doing a re-Bar Mitzvah, the guy’s in his what, mid-20s now? So you’re already entering knowing it’s a bit ridiculous. And it’s fun, especially the crowd of people that he moves with, you know what I’m saying? It's all a little crazy, like having Birdman and DJ Khaled sitting beside an old Jewish lady, as they watch Drake read from the Torah [Laughs]. Listen to the sentence I just said: “Birdman was at a Bar Mitzvah.”
[Laughs] Yeah that’s a tongue twister right there. Is it more or less a satirical video or serious?
We were very respectful of the religion and all that happens there. So everyone took care with thinking about what’s what, but at the same time, it’s Drake, he’s 24 having a re-Bar Mitzvah. So it does have a comedy element just by the scenario itself. You don’t need to do much for Lil’ Wayne as he hangs out after his party, you know what I’m saying? It’s built in for you. The ridiculousness is built in.
How many days did it take y’all to shoot the video?
We shot it in one long day.
One long day? Oh wow. How long was it, like 12 hours non-stop?
Hours, that’s a short day. Please [Laughs], that’s a cake walk. No, we went long, shot on film, we did it big, in the perspective of what doing it big is now-a-days.
That’s crazy. I’m thinking 12 hours is a pretty long day. You’re saying that’s a cake walk. I can just imagine some of the videos that you’ve been on.
Yeah, brother. In the old days we were straight breaking laws with the times that I’d have crew working on set. Like, actually illegal [Laughs]. So 12 hours, I’ve never shot for 12 hours. Commercial sometimes do that, commercials are a different deal, it’s much more corporate. But music videos, you gotta do 3 to 4 minutes.
We see there were some guests on set.
It was the usual suspects when it comes to a Young Money video. So Khaled’s there, Birdman’s in there, Mack Maine is in there, Wayne has a verse, Trey Songz showed up, so that’s the kind of thing going on.
What was some of the funny behind-the-scenes action?
Wayne teared/fucked his performance up! [Laughs] things get crazy. Things got crazy with Wayne. Things got crazy. The Bar Mitzvah kids got real excited, so it gets a little extreme. Yeah, it gets extreme [Laughs].
So was it a closed set? Were people able to watch?
Well it was kind of hard. We were in a synagogue, so we were already pretty removed from things. We were inside, it’s not like were out on the street for people to come run up and see what’s going on. So we were already in a different zone from everybody.
Any last words about the video?
No, it’s pretty simplistic, it’s a re-Bar Mitzvah. But it’s a lot of fun. Definitely very enjoyable fun time.