How One Man Saves a Music Video: “Wyclef Jean”

Yesterday Young Thug’s music video for “Wyclef Jean,” the first song on his album Jeffrey, was released and it has become an overnight success. In the past 24 hours the video has racked up over 1.8 million (well justified) views and counting.

I would imagine a director’s biggest fear is that nothing will go right on the day of a shoot. An even bigger fear could be that the star of the shoot doesn’t show up. Co-Director of “Wyclef Jean,” Ryan Staake took what could have been a disaster of epic proportions and produced an ingenious music video with an inspiring amount of ingenuity and creative choices. Ryan Staake is the founder of the Brooklyn-based production company Pomp&Clout, and has made music videos for Schoolboy Q, Vince Staples, J. Cole, and many other noteworthy artist, but nothing ever like this.

The video starts out with silence accompanied by a black screen and title cards, where Staake creates a line of communication between himself and his audience. He politely introduces himself, and the premise of the video. Unlike a normal music video where visuals of the artist go along with their song, Staake has to lay the groundwork for the avant-garde video he has created.

The creative drive of the video comes from Young Thugs vision for the project as he dictates what he imagines happening, through an audio recording that was sent to Staake. As you listen Young Thug illustrating his ideas, Staake literally has to illustrate where he would be in the shot, because at this point you find out he never shows up to the shoot. As the video progresses Staake’s commentary is a comical reflection on how his video essentially, “fell apart.”

Staake uses incredibly honest and transparent dialogue throughout the video to keep you attached the entire time. I couldn’t wait to see what else would unfold as the story went on. Even towards the end Young Thug finally arrives at the set, and I know he’s not going to be in the video, because Staake warned us in the beginning. But still there’s that little glimpse of hope, that I can only imagine Staake felt, that he would get out of the car and be in the video. Spoiler alert, he drives off.

$100,000, one police car, and a bag of cheetos later, Staake somehow pulled together the most genius music video of all time. If you haven’t seen it yet you can watch it above, and check out Staake’s other videos here.

 

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