Even for something as seemingly simple as a music video, an awful lot of forethought and planning is required. Music videos, as you might expect, usually heavily feature the artist involved. But as we all know, artists can be fickle, temperamental people. Brooklyn-based Pomp&Clout director Ryan Staake found this out the hard way.
With $100,000 set aside for rapper Young Thug’s video to his song Wyclef Jean, the rapper failed to show for the shoot, and Ryan was left to make a Young Thug video without the significant component: Young Thug.
In that moment, he would have been forgiven for getting on the phone to yell at Young Thug’s manager or for packing up early in an attempt to save time and money. But instead, Ryan decided to shoot the music video without the rapper, and what came next was a lesson in how to blow $100,000 on a shoot and accidentally make the number one trending video on YouTube as a result.
Turn to the next page to see the video the whole world is taking about. They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and for Ryan Staake, invention was pretty much his only option. Instead of using random footage he’d already picked up and trying to mash something together, Ryan thought he would turn the entire situation on its head. The video starts off by giving us an idea of what Young Thug would have wanted for the shoot, if he’d actually showed up. From there however, Ryan shows us what they ended up doing once Young Thug went AWOL, and it’s a work of art.
At the time of writing, Wyclef Jean is the top trending video on YouTube, and it’s already racked up an astonishing three million views. Music aficionados from around the world have shared their astonishment at how the video turned out, many praising it for its successful (if completely accidental) subversion of the music industry.
That last tweet sheds some light on the most interesting part of this video: that it was actually released in the first place. After all, it doesn’t exactly paint Young Thug in the most sympathetic light. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Ryan revealed that he’d had no idea that the video was even going to be released, but says he’s received messages from other directors complaining of similar “horror stories”:
“I honestly had no idea that this thing was coming out until it came out. I had a sense that, ‘OK, I’ve delivered it, they’ve paid the final invoice, things seem good,’ but based on the way things had gone, I wasn’t really ready to get my hopes up… There have been directors who are responding with similar horror stories and the general audience seems to be into it as well, which is exciting. I was hoping it wouldn’t just be a filmmaker in-joke.”
As for Young Thug and his representatives, Ryan has a theory as to why they greenlit this video – they were just too far in to write the whole project off.
“I guess the reason why the label accepted it was, honestly, because they were so far down this path at this point, to bail on it would have been even more wasteful than even the initial debacle. I think they also realized that it was a good idea, and probably a better idea than what we would have initially done.”
You can watch Young Thug’s Wyclef Jean music video below. Prepare to be impressed.
While this video might go a long way toward propelling Ryan Staake towards recognition, of all the artists he’s destined to work with in the future, I doubt Young Thug will be one of them. Unless, of course, he was in on the whole thing.
Sometimes, creative work is part of a detailed, meticulous planning process. Sometimes though, it’s the result of decadence, disorganisation and no small amount of luck. Just look at this effort from Richard Dunn in Las Vegas, in this music video he made after getting stranded in an airport.