When MTV News spoke to [artist id="3066140"]Kid Cudi[/artist] in March, he planned to follow up his hugely successful debut single, “Day N’ Nite,” with the ominous “Sky Might Fall.” After all, he had caught the attention of many a blogger by mashing up the song with the trailer for “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.” But fast-forward a few months and it looks like Cudi has decided to go in another direction.
“We put a little trick-a-roo on you,” Cudi told MTV News last week at the New York stop of the Great Hangover Tour . He said that the video for his second single, “Make Her Say,” had just been completed and that it was “fresh.”
“We wanted to go for a real abstract and iconic-looking video, something real artsy. It’s really dope,” he said. “It’s like split screen, and how he shot it is with multiple, different shots. It’s almost like there’s still shots and there’s movement going on in them. It’s really trippy.”
The video is directed by Nez Khammal, whose previous work includes M.I.A.’s “Jimmy” and Lily Allen’s “The Fear.” He said he thinks he was chosen because he presented a way to make it look like four very busy artists — [artist id="3066140"]Cudi[/artist], [artist id="1230523"]Kanye West[/artist], [artist id="1184"]Common[/artist] and [artist id="3061469"]Lady Gaga[/artist] — got together to shoot the video, despite being on opposite coasts.
“To be honest, they loved the idea more than anything else,” Khammal said. “At the time, they didn’t know if [Lady Gaga] was going to be in the video or not. … Having four major artists all featuring on one track, you’ll probably shoot them around different places around America, [but my treatment] was a way to have them all featured onscreen together.”
Gaga wasn’t able to do the video, but Khammal kept plenty busy with the other three. He said he had to find locations in both Los Angeles and New York City that would fit the video’s minimal aesthetic. It took ages for him to find the perfect shot for West’s poolside scene in L.A., and avoiding New York City’s uniquely familiar skyline was one of the shoot’s many challenges.
“We shot Kanye in L.A. and we shot Common and Kid Cudi in New York. I tried to find a place in New York that just felt — not that it had to be specifically L.A., but something that just jelled everything.
“We did a half a day with Kanye, two-thirds of a day with Kid Cudi, and then a third of a day with Common,” he continued. “It was quite compact, like a get-up-and-go sort of thing.”
He said the rappers’ creativity and experience helped make things run smoother. “It’s always good when someone knows what he is talking about and he sort of adds to it,” he said. “Because at the end of the day, it’s like a team effort, and you all want to get together to create the best thing possible.
“Working with three artists — not that I’m brownnosing — but working with three artists that are so experienced, it was so easy getting the shots,” he added. “It was like one or three takes, performance-wise, and you didn’t even have to work that hard as a director to get the performance out of them.”