Given how quickly a music video can spread online, the quality of your first is more important than ever.
Kid Cudi has had the "it" song, "Day 'N' Nite," for a while, but most people can't pronounce his name, let alone identify his face. MTV News named him an MC to Watch in 2009, despite the fact that he didn't have a video. He was banking on establishing himself with that first clip.
However, when someone leaked a video for Italian DJ duo the Crookers' remix of the song late last year, Cudi was not happy. He wrote on his blog that the video — which casts the rapper as a bored cashier working the late shift in a grocery store — was not approved by his managers, the Crookers,
"We just expressed to the people who shot the video and told them we didn't like it and wanted to try [something different]," he wrote. "Next thing u know, within hours it's alllllll over the f---ing Internet."
Cudi told MTV News last week that he had mixed feelings about shooting the video. "It allowed me to joke around and show a different side of me that a brand-new artist doesn't really portray," he said.
While many new hip-hop artists feel they have to establish themselves as rough and rugged, he said he wanted to just be himself in that first video. "That's what my whole M.O. is — just being me to the fullest," he explained. "That's why the kids connect with the record — because they know I'm just naturally being me." ("Me," for Kid, also includes an alter ego.)
He said he was grateful for the opportunity to make the video and that he liked the overall concept for it, but he was upset that a lot of his ideas were ignored and left on the cutting-room floor. After seeing the video for the first time, Cudi said he and his team provided feedback, but they were ignored. The clip, which was released three hours later, was too silly for the MC's taste. "I felt that the video made me look like a doofus," he said.
Still, he said he learned to look on the bright side: The song could be interpreted in a variety of ways and that video was just one of them. Thankfully, he was given a chance to produce another interpretation.
For the official "Day 'N' Nite" video, he hooked up with French artist and director So Me, who previously worked on Kanye West's "Good Life" video and Justice's "D.A.N.C.E." clip. So Me didn't give him a treatment for the clip; he merely provided a paragraph explaining what was going to happen.
"We're going to trust you, because you're a genius," Cudi recalled telling the director. "He sent us a rough edit, asked us what we thought and if we wanted to make changes — like the process is supposed to go — and we didn't have any changes. Man, this is so dope!"