Young Thug’s “Wyclef Jean” is a meta masterpiece


I can’t say that I’m a fan of Young Thug’s music. And I can definitively say that I’m not a fan of his incident at the airport (though he did apologize). I am, however, a fan of his meta, fourth-wall-busing music video “Wyclef Jean.” I’m not alone; the video is the number one trending video on YouTube.

It’s a pretty simple concept. Young Thug had an idea for a video. He told his production team. They passed it along to the director, Ryan Staake. On the day of the shoot Young Thug didn’t show up. To compensate for the video’s star going AWOL, Staake decided to make a video about making a video with Young Thug. It’s like hip-hop’s version of “Adaptation.”

The most amazing part about the video is that it would have been a pretty fun video had it been done conventionally. Young Thug had a bunch of silly ideas (starting with the opening shot of attractive women in power wheels cars) that would have made the video a better-than-average hip-hop video. Staake’s choice to turn the video on its head was a necessary stroke of genius that took a potentially good video up to great status.

Some have speculated that Young Thug planned the entire video to be shot this way.  If he did than he is a genius, but even if he didn’t he deserves credit. The video was released on his official YouTube channel which means Thugger watched the video and approved of the director’s vision. Whether or not he planned it Thugger was self-aware enough to get the video’s humor.

“Wyclef Jean” appears on Young Thug’s mixtape “Jeffrey.” It was released in August 2016.


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