If the title, hook and verses on “Started From The Bottom” didn’t paint a clear picture of the story Drake wanted to tell on the first single from his third album Nothing Was The Same, then Director X certainly helped him do that with the accompanying video.
The Toronto natives collaborated on the visuals for “HYFR” last year, and when the YMCMB rapper decided that he wanted to do it big — very big — this time around, he prepped the treatment and got the right man on the phone. X tells MTV News that Psy’s larger-than-life “Gangnam Style” video inspired Drake to go all out, creating a video that felt simply, well, epic.
“It’s been a long time since people had seen a big video,” X explained. “His conversation with me, even when we did ’HYFR,’ was that music videos didn’t have the impact that they used to have. Drake came up watching the videos that I made, and all of us made back in those days [when] Busta Rhymes was being chased by elephants, Diddy was jumping out of helicopters, driving Hummers in the desert and dancing with Jennifer Lopez.
“Videos were massive events back then and that didn’t exist anymore,” he continued. ” ’Gangnam Style’ kinda brought a bit of that back, so I guess that hyped him up… doing something large and exciting and something that people would wanna see and talk about.” The clip, which begins with Drake and his friends working in a local drugstore and transitions to them living a fabulously lavish life, partying in the Dominican Republic, was all about an authentic celebration about their journey from the bottom to life on top.
“We just wanted everyone to feel the fun of it all,” X said. “For me it was always a celebration. Just what he said, ’started from the bottom’ and now we’re here — so I was in the world of we’re here. Especially after we get past that moment in Shoppers [Drug Mart], we start hitting you with that life that they’re living right now.”
And if you thought any of the fun was staged, think again. “There were no hired extras in that big party scene, everybody knew everybody,” he revealed. “That’s a regular Drake thing. He does bowling parties, that shisha club, that’s his club Paradise, that’s his thing. He does that. That vacation? That was their real vacation. That wasn’t a for-TV vacation, we just showed up with the cameras and shot. So to me the whole thing was a celebration, just [capturing] the bigness of all that.”
Okay, so maybe that shot of Drake flying the private jet wasn’t real (“There’s no way you’re gonna get a camera that close to a jet in flight, ever, so that’s movie magic”) but much of the authenticity came from the fact that his crew got in on all of the love. Notably, his boy Obie, who has a hilarious speaking cameo early in the clip. “Drake didn’t wanna get in the background,” X said of filming the comical drugstore scene. “That really says something about him as an artist as well, because not many people are stepping out of the spotlight for a moment. For him to give that moment to his boys, that’s a big deal.”
What’s your favorite part from the “Started from the Bottom” video? Tell us in the comments!