Hype Williams Reveals Never-Before-Seen Photos Of Hip-Hop Style Icons: Missy Elliott, Kanye West, And More

Missy Elliott photographed by Hype Williams.
Photo: Courtesy of “V” magazine

For more than two decades now, Hype Williams and his keen creative eye have been defining an entire culture. The New York native put his undeniable stamp on hip-hop from its infancy with his dynamic music video direction. From the regional chill sceneries of Tupac’s “California Love” and Notorious B.I.G.’s “Big Poppa” to the fish-eye lensed absurdity of Busta Rhymes’s “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See” and Missy Elliott’s “The Rain [Supa Dupa Fly],” Hype Williams has etched his iconic moving images and style vision into the brains of a generation. So you can imagine our squeals of delight when we learned V Magazine’s Music Issue (fronted by the one and only Justin Bieber) would feature never-before-seen Hype Williams snaps of Missy, Kelis, Bow Wow (nĂ© “Lil”), Kanye West, Jay-Z, and the late Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes and Aaliyah. Prepare yourself for an old-school fashion flashback of EPIC proportions.

This shot of Missy Elliott encapsulates late ’90s fashion realness with the bright vaguely camouflage meets animal print mesh, the iced hoops, and the precisely matched top and lining. But what we’re really doing flips over is the out-of-the-world BEAUTY. The clean French tip mani, immaculately sculpted brows, sky-high false lashes, dark lip liner (HALLMARK for the era), and the shellacked wavy Casear ’do all transport us to a time where Missy E was relatively unknown, prancing around in technicolor ripstop breakaway pants.

Kelis photographed by Hype Williams.
Photo: Courtesy of “V” magazine

Kelis is completely transformed for this shot with zebra-inspired full-body paint with aqua lids and a scarlet pout. Her hair is equally wild, with streaks and patches of blue, yellow, and green. Hype even reveals that Kelis “dyed all the hair on her body green just to stay in character!” #dedication

Lil Bow Wow photographed by Hype Williams.
Photo: Courtesy of “V” magazine

Dawwww! Remember when Bow Wow was LIL?? The pint-sized prodigy is pictured here, with his then signature cornrows and laced with a hefty poundage of jewelry, at LEAST five different chains and one massive gilded and rhinstoned championship belt.

Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes photographed by Hype Williams.
Photo: Courtesy of “V” magazine

I don’t know about y’all, but this snap of TLC’s late great Left Eye evokes a flood of memories, mostly of flipping through the Delia’s (or dELiA*s, rather) catalog and circling EV.RY.THING. A departure from Hype’s über-futuristic, heavily imagined music video for “No Scrubs,” Left Eye is barefaced and almost vulnerable in this bubblegum pink Paul Frank flannel PJ set and pigtails that sit way up high.

Aaliyah photographed by Hype Williams.
Photo: Courtesy of “V” magazine

This black-and-white perfectly captures the essence of Aaliyah’s glamorous tomboy steez. Her hair is glossy and thick. Her makeup? Pristine. Her complexion? Immaculate and enviably matte. And we love everything about the juxtaposition of that SUPER-skinny strapped jersey bralette with low-slung jeans (probably wide leg and baggy) and some well-placed jewelry.

Kanye West photographed by Hype Williams.
Photo: Courtesy of “V” magazine

Not only has Hype directed many of Kanye West’s music videos, but he also wrote the script for Yeezy’s 20-minute “Runaway” masterpiece. This still of Ye in his peacoat popped collar and a delicate pair of aviators illustrates the pensive, thoughtful Kanye we know and love.

Jay-Z photographed by Hype Williams.
Photo: Courtesy of “V” magazine

Before Jay-Z was singing the glory of his brand-new baby girl, he was “Big Pimpin'” with Hype Williams. This never-before-seen snap of the new dad shows Jay in a pair of shades, repping his own Rocawear brand from the comfort of an executive airplane seat.

Visit Vmagazine.com to view the full feature!

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